[arin-ppml] clarification of Board actions Feb 2 and Mar 18, 2009

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Tue Mar 31 09:41:13 EDT 2009

The fear argument goes something like this:

When IPv4 runs out some large cash-rich org will request a
block and be denied.  That org will then spend it's money
lobbying it's nation's government that the RIR's know that
there's lots of available IPv4 tied up in old assignments that
aren't being used, and that because ARIN has the bulk of it,
and ARIN hasn't done enough to scavenge out this stale addressing,

So far, so plausible. Your scenario goes comically awry at this point, however:

that ARIN is no longer functioning, and that the U.N. needs
to assign a committee - like WIPO was done with the DNS
system - to interfere and take control of the assignment
mechanism away from ARIN.

As someone who does a bit more than "follow" the global politics of Internet governance, I can assure you that large, cash-rich organizations (ISPs) in North America are the last parties on earth who will want to call in the United Nations. It is true that the ITU would like to get address allocation/assignment back into an intergovernmental system. It is also true that the entire Internet industry and the USG are implacably opposed to that. Outside of China and a few middle eastern countries like Syria, you would have a hard time telling me who does support that.

ARIN will cease to exist and chaos will ensue.

Really? Just like that? I shake with fear.

It is NOT necessary to create a buying-and-selling market of
IP numbers to obtain close to 100% use of routable IPv4.  It
is merely necessary to prove that all assignable, routable IPv4
is in use on the Internet.  Cleaning and grooming WHOIS is a
major first step.

What you seem to miss is that a transfer system, executed properly, is the best way to clean and groom the Whois system because it harnesses the private incentive to benefit from trades. ARIN can either swim upstream or swim downstream.
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