[arin-ppml] ARIN's Authority - One view (was: Re: LRSA concerns)

John Curran jcurran at istaff.org
Sat Aug 23 11:59:34 EDT 2008

On Aug 23, 2008, at 10:40 AM, William Herrin wrote:

> What's more, the presentations made to gain the community consensus
> that led to NCR-9218742's amendment 6 repeatedly promised that what
> came to be known as the legacy registrations would remain untouched by
> ARIN except to provide whois and rdns services.
> http://rip.psg.com/~randy/970414.fncac.pdf is was such a presentation,
> made to the FNC in support of ARIN's formation. See page 9,
> specifically: "Current and old allocations and their DNS will be
> maintained with no policy changes"

You're right!  That presentation was made after adoption of RFC 2050,
which specifically calls for invalidation of existing assignments which
are no longer needed.

No change to address management policy was implied by creation of ARIN;
the same address blocks that were obtained via US government auspices
so that one could to participate in the Internet and Internet Protocol
development were already covered by this policy in place at the time.

> Inclusion of that statement was no mistake. "The Community" insisted  
> on it.


> We're left with: no explicit grant of authority over the legacy

> registrations, and the historical documents that do talk about it
> suggest that the intention was to -not- grant such authority.

I'm sorry, why did you expect such? Your allocations were always made
under the authority of the IANA and based on your need for address  
The fact that we corrected the address subnet boundaries to allow for
a better fit (CIDR) was the only major change, and if you happen to have
been sitting on a "class A" or class B address block, it sure would have
been nice if you returned the excess space which was provided to you
due to this technical flaw in the original block allocation sizes.  The
reasons that some organizations did not are varied, and mostly related  
pain of renumbering, sparse allocation, and similar technical issues
[ref: <http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc2071.html>]

>> Frankly, I'd rather not think about this, and hope that this
>> particular chain of succession remain nothing more than an
>> interesting historical tidbit best ignored.
> You'll get no argument from me on this point.
> However, when v4 depletion is reached you'll find yourself under
> pressure to reclaim the fallow address space, however little it may
> be. To do so successfully you'll need to first normalize relations
> with the registrants whose legacy space is still in service. The only
> two ways you do that without creating a godawful mess for yourself are
> to either seek an explicit grant of authority from the USG that
> supersedes the old community agreements

The first direction above (reliance upon "authority") doesn't follow the
principles of industry self-governance, and should be avoided at all  
There's an fairly large "mess" whether one relies upon existing  
of authority or whether one attempts to refresh it in some manner.

> -OR- convince the vast majority of legacy registrants to voluntarily
> sign contracts with ARIN so that when you declare the rest of the  
> space
> dead and expired there's no one left to raise a stink.

The second direction above is the correct one (IMHO), although I expect
there'll always be someone left to "raise a stick" and ARIN must  
accordingly if we're directed by the community to do anything with  
to legacy address reclamation.

> ..
> ARIN's authority and autonomy derive from the *strong* consensus of
> the community it serves. That autonomy will end when ARIN places
> itself at the center of a dispute that results in a fall to weak
> consensus and the defection of any significant minority of that
> community.

We aim to please.  If the consensus of the Internet community in the  
region is to undertake some action here, then we will very likely do so.
It should be made very clear that ARIN serves the entire Internet  
in the ARIN region, and not simply those who have taken the time and  
to participate as members.  It is that reality which 1) causes ARIN to
undertake more outreach than might otherwise be expected, and 2) makes  
measurement of consensus for the "ARIN region Internet community" quite

(my opinions only; 100% of the electrons used in this email are from
  recycled matter)

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