[arin-ppml] On whether morality can be the lone argument against a transfer market (was Re: 2008-6: Emergency Transfer Policy for IPv4 Addresses)

Eliot Lear lear at cisco.com
Tue Sep 30 04:39:50 EDT 2008


You argued in essence that just because something is happening it should 
not be condoned.  That is a very fair argument.  However, it has to be 
balanced with ARIN's other priorities.  In this case, as has been 
repeatedly stated, if the regulatory authority and capability of ARIN is 
such that the transfers cannot be stopped, then the result will be that 
they will occur anyway, and that such transfers have a deleterious 
impact elsewhere.  Robert Bonomi's comments should not understated as a 
necessary function of ARIN when he wrote the following:
> The_only_  "unresolved" question today, is whether or not the RIRs are going
> to be 'in the loop' for those transactions,*when*  they occur.
Here are three cases where accuracy matters:

    * Various law enforcement agencies and other parties seeking to
      either protect the public or to protect private rights need to be
      able to determine who is the responsible party for a given
      address, when it can be shown that it was involved in either a
      criminal or tortuous act.  The whois database plays a key role in
      providing those people information.  It is by no means perfect,
      and it is not the only means to provide the information, but it is
      never-the-less useful.  By encouraging people NOT to update the
      records through a black market, the database accuracy can and will
      degrade over time.
    * The ability to resolve legitimate disputes over address space is
      degraded when it can be shown that ARIN's records do not reflect
      reality.  If two customers attempt to use the same address space,
      service providers may or may not turn to ARIN to understand who
      owns the block.  And if they do, customers may be able to
      challenge ARIN to say that their record keeping is inaccurate.
    * Over the longer term, it should be possible to more tightly bind
      the routing system to the records found in the ARIN database. 
      This is, perhaps, what John Schnizlein referred to as
      "cryptographic saran-wrap", but could eliminate a form of attack
      that currently can be found on the Internet - the hijacking of
      prefixes for nefarious purposes.  Once again, in order for ARIN to
      perform this function, its database must be sufficiently accurate
      that the service providers believe they can trust the system. 
      Absent that trust it will be very difficult to secure the routing
      system as it is currently instantiated.

Does this mean that I believe IP transfer markets are appropriate?  Not 
necessarily.  I believe the impact of such markets is unclear.  What I 
am saying is that we need to balance the moral argument you are 
asserting against other legitimate social needs.  This is a very long 
form of demonstrating the law of unintended consequences.  Doing nothing 
will invoke this law.  So will doing something.  The choice is really 
which goal ARIN should aspire to achieve.


Eliot Lear

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