[arin-ppml] History Lesson (was: DRAFT POLICY ARIN-2011-1: GLOBALLY COORDINATED TRANSFER POLICY (Legacy space))

Jeffrey I. Schiller jis at mit.edu
Wed Apr 13 08:54:37 EDT 2011

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I hope you are all enjoying yourselves in San Juan. I was watching the
webcast briefly yesterday....

On Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 06:50:05AM -0400, John Curran wrote:
> What principles do you believe are most appropriate for a global
> framework for Internet number resource management today, and where
> should that be discussed if not the IETF?

I didn't say the IETF could not discuss anything. Just that the
resulting output, published or not, should have no more standing than
the results of any other group of folks who discuss a topic. The IETF
is a voluntary standards organization whose output is used on a
voluntary basis by the Internet community. The IETF does not have an
enforcement arm.

When it comes to technical discussions about Internet protocols, the
IETF may well have an edge because in theory the folks there represent
the technical experts in the field (I know that this is a debatable
statement :-) ). However when it comes to business and legal issues,
it is most certainly the case that the IETF does *not* have a quorum
of folks who are experts in the field!

> Also, given that RFC 2008 is also a BCP but clearly discusses more
> technical matters of Internet address architecture and implications,
> where should a discussion of such Internet-wide constraints occur?
> It seems that these would be rather essential questions to determine
> if we're going to further evolve the addressing architecture of the
> Internet.

The IETF can discuss this, or ARIN, whichever venue the community
chooses. The catch is that as long as the discussion involves the
actions of a consensual cooperating community there isn't a
problem. It is when the resulting policies are imposed on others who
are not in agreement, that problems begin. The IETF certainly has no
right to impose a policy on a non-cooperating entity (and the IETF

ARIN is in a somewhat different situation because it has contractual
arrangements in place with its members. Whether or not it can impose
its policies on its members is a legal question.

But there are actors out there who have no contractual relationship
with ARIN. Whether or not ARIN wishes to impose policy on those actors
is a question for ARIN's management to decide. Whether or not it will
be successful is a legal question. And depending on the countries whom
govern those actors, it may be a complicated and expensive question to

As for the question at hand, address block transfer, the only real
enforcement is in the hands of the world's ISPs. If they refuse to
route a block transferred outside of ARIN's (or any other RIR's)
policies, then ARIN's policies will have some teeth. And even so,
lawsuits may well ensue.

What the future holds is anyone's guess. The Internet was a wonderful
thing in its early years in part because it was governed and operated
by a dedicated cadre of people who really believed in "doing the right
thing" in an altruistic way. But today, the real world, with all of
its inequities, grit and selfish actors, is upon us. I hope that
sanity prevails...


- --
Jeffrey I. Schiller
Information Services and Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue  Room N42-283
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
617.253.0161 - Voice
jis at mit.edu
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