[arin-ppml] RIPE/ITU

David Farmer farmer at umn.edu
Fri Mar 5 19:42:53 EST 2010

Milton L Mueller wrote:
> David:
>> This made me realize that what we in the Internet community consider as
>> an open participatory process, may not actually be open to everyone.  As
>> technical people our organizations generally allow us a great deal of
>> latitude to express our individual opinions.  This is generally not the
>> case for government bureaucrats, especially in the realm of
>> international diplomacy.  I'm not sure what to do about this, but we
>> probably shouldn't just ignore it.
> good observation. the light begins to dawn! I'm not sure what to do about it either, but I will say that ICANN's solution to this problem - the creation of a Govermental Advisory Committee with "special" powers over "public policy" - is NOT a good idea. this segregates governments into a silo and makes them advocates for governmental powers per se. In these discussions within ICANN, we have repeatedly pointed out that governmental representatives participate effectively in IETF, so a true bottom up model is feasible. But they are dealing with more technical issues than policy issues. for the bottom up model to work it takes a major cultural and institutional change in governments.

I've been thinking about this for a couple days, I'm not necessarily 
sure big changes are required in government or in the way we do things 
either.  It may really only take some subtle changes, more in the way we 
each think about things, we need to help each other understand there is 
a roles for both parties to play here.  Then maybe some tweaks in our 
process could help too.

I'll point out that our PDP is not unlike a notice-and-comment 
rulemaking process that is common in many governments.  But, our PDP has 
been turbo charged with Internet technologies like email and remote 
meeting participation over chat and video streaming, etc...  Rather than 
only using 19th century technologies like face-to-face meetings and 

So maybe we need to work with governments to get them a little more 
comfortable using Internet technologies in the policy making processes. 
  Something somewhat related, many governments are being pushed by there 
citizenry into e-government projects, so maybe this could help them. 
And, then maybe we need to make a few more provisions for the use of 
19th century technology in our processes.

The tweaks in our process could be as simple as providing an opportunity 
for formal written comments to be submitted relating to Draft Policies 
that are up for adoption consideration at public policy meetings.  Such 
formal comments could maybe be included in the meeting materials, and 
maybe a summary provided as part of the presentation prior to the floor 
discussion of each Draft Policy.

Then maybe a final opportunity for formal written comments again in the 
Last Call step of the process.

And, who knows it might not just be governments that would make formal 
comments, maybe some companies or even individuals would like to provide 
this type of input into the process.  Fundamentally, I believe a change 
of this kind is in harmony with an open, transparent, multi-stakeholder 
bottom-up policy process.

I've heard that similar kinds of formal statements have been made in the 
past, maybe we just need to explicitly include this in the PDP.  Then, 
make sure that governments know they can make formal comment in these 
ways if that works better for them.  Further, make it clear that is any 
government, not only those in ARIN's geographic region, just like anyone 
else in region or not is welcome to participate.

I completely agree with you that some group of government 
representatives with special powers is not a good idea.  ARIN, and I 
believe some of other RIRs too, have government and law enforcement 
forums intended help create a dialog and to education them on our 
processes and policies, but these forums have no specific powers. 
Further, I believe John Curran said ARIN would be willing do much the 
same for most any constituency, if there are enough interested participants.

David Farmer               Email:farmer at umn.edu
Networking & Telecommunication Services
Office of Information Technology
University of Minnesota	
2218 University Ave SE	    Phone: 612-626-0815
Minneapolis, MN 55414-3029   Cell: 612-812-9952

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