[arin-ppml] RIPE/ITU

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Wed Mar 3 20:51:46 EST 2010

-----Original Message-----

>ITU seems to have talked themselves down from wanting to control ICANN
>to wanting to control IANA to wanting to be a competitive IR under

This is an astute observation. It should tell you something about the politics and about who has power and who doesn't in this game, which is one reason why I refuse to be intimidated by the ITU bogeyman and insist on looking at the larger issues, including a critical assessment of the ICANN/RIR regime.

I don't see how - from a purely technical standpoint - ITU as IR under IANA is any more threatening than Comcast or Verizon as competitive IRs under IANA or an Indian nation IR under IANA. There is room for diversity in the policies applied to conservation and aggregation and there are also potential drawbacks.

But from a political standpoint, there is a threat. The threat comes from the fact that nation-states have certain forms of regulatory power that, imho, we don't want conjoined with address allocation because it could lead to exclusivity rather than competition/diversity in address allocation policies, and more centralized and controlling internet policies. In other words, the problem is NOT that the ITU wants to be a competitive registry under IANA. It IS that we can't trust nation-states to be open and competitive in their approach to this, especially the ones driving these initiatives at the ITU. 

This is the underlying political issue that I've been trying to get ya'll to focus on, but it seems that most of you prefer to indulge in group solidarity and bonding routines. OK, have fun. Paint your faces blue, dance in a circle around a bonfire, chant "RIRs good, ITU bad" together. Gnash your teeth and make threatening gestures to "the other," if it makes you feel better. 

Just be aware that the people in the ITU community are doing the same thing. They consider you to be "the other." 

And to the rest of us, this is just a turf battle between two tribes that we don't feel part of. 

I would have expected slightly more sophisticated responses from the people in this community. I would like to see a recognition of the fact that the issue is national governments, not the ITU per se, which is merely responding to pressures from member states; a clearer articulation of why the ip addressing system should be independent of national governments; an embrace of principles of neutral, non political, open and transparent administration of critical resources, an embrace of Internet freedom, etc., etc. I don't see it. I feel no loyalty to your Tribe.  

What is see is just a turf battle, and the same kind of lousy rationalizations for monopoly power that the telephone companies used in the bad old days. And hey, what is it that makes the ITU and all it stands for so bad, I wonder? If it is not monopolistic power, what is it, other than that they are not you?  

>I could be mistaken, but it seems to me there's essentially no chance
>of the ARIN community supporting a global proposal to make ITU a
>competitive IR for public Internet addresses. I would also be
>surprised if the other regions welcome ITU treading on their turf.

et tu, Herrin, nothing more than a turf battle? 


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