Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Tue Apr 12 16:57:02 EDT 2011

> Perhaps you can help me understand your position.
> In all your previous writings (from the various lists to which we are
> both subscribed), and blog posts, I take it that you are a champion of
> End Users (NCUC Chair for many years) and decry the "capture" of ICANN
> processes by monied interests in ICANN (Registries and Registrars).

I guess I don't fit whatever stereotype is driving your perception. Suppliers and consumers both have basic rights to property and freedom. In ICANN I've been more concerned about the loss of civil liberties, including the erection of needless entry barriers into markets. My special villains are not commercial registries and registrars per se, but monopolistic behavior by trademark interests and registries, and a lack of respect for due process and user rights by LEAs. 

> But in the numbering world, you seem to be championing the very same
> kind of market that has led to this capture and influence.  I would

Advocacy of a more open market does not mean one favors capture of the rulemaking function by commercial interests. 
Sure, if there is no commerce, then a political process will never be captured by commercial interests. But the total absence of commerce is a cure worse than the disease, and commerce-less systems (North Korea, anyone?) can always get captured too, by military or political interests or cartels or officially sanctioned monopolies. 

> have thought you would want the most open, transparent, bottom up PDPs
> in Internet Governance (the RIR PDPs) to stay that way.

I do. There have been two serious mis-steps here which have worked against that goal. 

First, ARIN received a request for bulk Whois data that was conformant to your policy afaict but which was denied because ARIN feared that the requestor would use it to support a service ARIN thought was competitive. This was a protectionist and pre-emptive move that was short-sighted. (We've already had this debate John so no need to prolong it here)

Second, someone made a good faith effort to create a policy dialogue around opening up the system and it was shot down so fast that it conveyed two messages, which I am sure you will regret in the long term: first, the "ARIN community" either didn't understand the pressing need to have that conversation or just didn't want to have it; second, that anyone pursuing that agenda will have to go outside the community to get anything done. NB: I do not think any process cheats or errors were made here, you followed your process afaict.  But collectively, you made a substantive blunder in the path chosen. You will pay for that blunder. 

>  Instead, you
> seem to want to invite multiple competing registries to operate
> alongside the RIRs, with no guarantee that their policies could be
> influenced by endusers (as is possible on this list for example).

If a public authority makes private competitors possible, the public authority needs to remain open and transparent while the private competitors need do so only as required by law and regulation. Just like the ISPs who make up the bulk of your membership. RIR's are allocation authorities or as Huston likes to say, title agencies. Competition among private service providers for post-allocation services does not necessarily change their character. Indeed it can strengthen it. 

Telephone service used to be controlled by state-owned monopolies in most countries in the world, and the regulation function was conflated with the operation and business function. But, through the pioneering and costly actions of a few entrepreneurs, and some tough govt policy/regulatory action, we liberalized, privatized and deregulated many of those markets, and separated governmental functions from business functions. 

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