[arin-ppml] Fwd: ARIN-prop-165 Eliminate Needs-Based Justification

Matthew Petach mpetach at netflight.com
Tue Feb 28 05:23:26 EST 2012

On Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 1:46 PM, Tom Vest <tvest at eyeconomics.com> wrote:
> Thanks for the responses Matt -- follow-ups inline...
> On Feb 27, 2012, at 12:40 PM, Matthew Petach wrote:
>> On Sun, Feb 26, 2012 at 7:02 PM, Tom Vest <tvest at eyeconomics.com> wrote:
>>> Hi Matt,
>>> You seem to be arguing the following:
>>> 1. "IPv4 Speculation" is bad (or maybe good for the lucky speculators, but bad/unfair for everyone else).
>> I was trying not to assign it a category of "good' or "bad"--simply stating
>> it does exist today; and thus, one of the arguments *against* a free and
>> unfettered market is not relevant.  The cry of "but if we allow anyone to
>> buy and sell IP blocks, we'll be overrun with speculators" rings hollow
>> when the market is already supporting dozens of speculators who operate
>> outside the needs-based criteria.
> But, notwithstanding rhetorical force of habit, is anyone actually crying about "allowing anyone to buy and sell IP blocks" i.e., as opposed to "allowing non-operators (or those who can't demonstrate the equivalent of an operator's "need") to buy IP blocks?" You're still trying to conflate the prerogatives of an(y) aspiring IPv4 seller with those of a(ny) potential IPv4 buyer -- but you really can't claim that the two are the same, or that the differences don't matter without explaining why. Membership in the class of "anyone that can sell IPv4" is bounded by the material fact that in order to sell IPv4 one must actually have some to sell -- and throughout all time to the present moment, 100% of the members of that class have already satisfied, at minimum, whatever definition of "operator" was officially recognized  at the time when they received their address resources (and in most cases, additional/more demanding eligibility requirements that came thereafter). By contrast, the class of "anyone that can buy IPv4" has no equivalent limiting factor.

I suppose what I'm stumbling over is that today, we
have large blocks of v4 address space that today
are held be registrants who are not routing them
as part of the global IPv4 routing table.  You seem
to feel that they somehow qualified as "operators"
in a way that has significance, in spite of them not
routing their address space in a reachable fashion,
whereas "speculators" would somehow be categorized
as "non-operators".

Can I ask, what characteristic would you use to
distinguish an "operator" from a "non-operator"
that we can externally observe?  I see large
chunks of address space assigned by IANA
that are not operationally visible on the v4 internet;
the CAIDA heat-map survey found similar results:


I would argue that your attempt to differentiate between
"operator" and "non-operator" is specious and meaningless,
as entities you claim to have qualified as "operators" are in
fact externally indistinguishable from the category of "non-
operators" in that none of the IPv4 address space assigned
to them is routed or visible on the global IPv4 network.
And if there is no distinguishable difference between
"operators" and "non-operators", then the class of
"operators", who managed to obtain IP space thus
far, in spite of not actually routing it on the global
internet, is functionally equivalent to the class of
"anyone that can buy IPv4"--ie, non-operators.

So...again...please help me understand the nature
of the category of "operator" that allows one to
obtain globally routable IP space with no plans
to route it on the global internet, from the category
of "speculator"?

I ask, because the one line I keep hearing over and
over again in defense of a needs-based assignment
system is that without it, IP space will be hoarded
up by speculators.  And if we can't actually tell the
difference between a "speculator" and an "operator"
from an external viewpoint, that defense becomes

> Needless to say, you have every right to argue (i.e., give *reasons* why) we should henceforth ignore these real-world material and historical distinctions -- but simply claiming that, suddenly, the differences don't exist is not only unpersuasive, it's not even an argument.

Ah.  Agreed, the historical differences may have
existed at one time, or so people claim; not having
a time machine, we cannot go back to verify such

What I *am* asserting is that at the present moment
in time, there is no observable characteristic that
distinguishes them; and thus, at the moment, the
difference exists only based on a historical record,
not on any observable difference that can empirically
be observed.

> Granted, at the moment the very notion of claiming that something will make the IPv4 transfer market itself "fair" or even "less unfair" in any nontrivial way seems absurd to me, if not completely incoherent -- sort of like claiming that launching the post-feudal age with a series of land auctions that were open to both nobles (who own 100% of the land/wealth at the time) and serfs (who possess 0% land/wealth) would have ushered in  an eternity of economic "fairness" for nobles, serfs, and all of their respective descendants forevermore.
> Even so I'll try to keep an open mind  ;-)

Reasonable point; my use of the word 'fair' without
definition did nothing to clarify the discussion.

>>> 2. Possession of IPv4 today == "IPv4 Speculation."
>> Not quite; I meant "posession of IPv4 today *above and beyond what the
>> ARIN needs-based justification would approve* == IPv4 speculation."
> Here you seem to be implying either one or both of the following;
> (a) anything that anyone accomplished/acquired in the past, under conditions that are "easier" than they are now, is by definition unfair; either the "old boys" should be stripped of all accumulated "unfair" benefits, or I should be compensated to make up for the difference. In general any/all past or present legal contracts that provide(d) someone else with forward-looking terms to something that I want that are more more favorable than terms that are currently available to me are automatically rendered null and void simply by that fact.
> (b) the fairness of anything that anyone previously accomplished/acquired and which is also subject to some kind of ongoing administrative oversight is automatically negated if the current administrative mechanisms are not universally recognized as being 100% infallible at all moments in time. If at any point in time there is any nonzero possibility that the administrative process has failed to identify and punish anyone that is noncompliant with the policy, then it may be reasonably assumed that everyone is noncompliant; either everyone else should be stripped of their accumulated "unfair" gains, or else I should be compensated to make up for the difference.
> Either way, this is a one-time deal that is available only to me and my contemporaries; anyone that comes along later, and who might have similar objections, can suck it.
> I think that many of us may succumb to thinking along the lines of (a) from time to time, even though at other times we recognize those feelings for what they are, i.e., "sour grapes." At all times/places, someone somewhere has inherited some "unfair" present-day advantage that they didn't "earn" in the way that I'd have to earn it myself. Except in cases where the consequences of that inheritance are so profound/intolerable that they justify bloody revolution (if such a thing is possible), we tend to shrug and move on...
> (b) is just a variant of a straw man argument that applies equally (i.e., with equal non-validity) to all organizations/processes in human history. "Someone somewhere is breaking the law -- I believe, anyway... no, I don't have any actual evidence -- but my suspicions about the fallibility and non-impartiality of law enforcement are sufficient in themselves to declare that the law is unfair and illegitimate."
> If I'm missing or misunderstanding something, and you actually have some other method for deriving and calculating the "unfair" portion of an institution's IPv4 holdings, I'd be interested in hearing it.

You read far too much into what I said.

I'm simply trying to come up with a definition
of what an IP Speculator might be, as people
are very concerned that an unfettered market
would Lead To Rampant IPv4 Speculation--with
the attendant implication that such a situation
would be a Bad Thing(tm).

I'm postulating that one such definition might
be that an IPv4 Speculator is an entity that
obtains more globally routable IPv4 address
space than they actually need for running their

I then point out that based on such a definition,
it is clear that there are entities that already
meet that definition.  For those who are unsure
of who those entities might be, I again refer
them to:
from which they can easily see large swaths
of IPv4 space which has been allocated for
decades, but is not being used on the global
IPv4 internet.

And, given the existence (as shown) of IPv4 non-operating
speculators that have existed throughout the entire history
of this mailing list, it is clearly foolishness to now suddenly
object to allowing free and unfettered transfer of resources
on the grounds that it might lead to IPv4 speculation.

> Alternately, one could embrace and reconcile both sorts of grievances by proposing a policy that would unilaterally strip all IPv4 possession rights from all past and present IPv4 holders holders without exception, and compel everyone who still wants IPv4 for future use to rebid for that privilege in a neutral open auction.
> That, at least, would be a coherent/consistent response --  though I doubt many people would call it "fair."

If you go back through the history of the ARIN debates about
evaluating number resource usage, that was very close to
the heart of the policy language that was included in early
years allowing for annual audits of number resource usage;
in essence, if you obtained a resource, and it was later found
you no longer had justifiable need for it, the resource could be
reclaimed and returned to the pool for others to request.
At the Eugene meeting, the microphones were occupied
frequently by advocates on both sides; those who felt that
once a resource had been granted, it was forever yours, and
those who felt resources should be re-justified on an ongoing
basis, or be forfeit back to the pool for others to use.

The policy language to support that model was proposed and
discussed, and eventually a variant that allows for reclamation
was finally agreed on, and is at the heart of every contract
ARIN members sign:

"If ARIN determines that the number resources or any other
Services are not being used in compliance with this Agreement,
the Policies, or the purposes for which they are intended, ARIN may:
(i) revoke the number resources; (ii) cease providing the
Services to Applicant; and/or (iii) terminate this Agreement."

(from https://www.arin.net/resources/agreements/rsa.pdf )

ARIN has never proposed doing a massive, all-at-once audit
and reclamation back from everyone it deems to not be in
compliance--but that ability is there in the contract, so it's
not too far-fetched to consider that as a possible scenario.

>>> 3. Therefore, anyone/everyone (today) should have an equal right to be an IPv4 speculator.
>> Given that there are many players already who hold IPv4 resources that wildly
>> flaunt any needs-based justification whatsoever, I propose that anyone and
>> everyone should likewise be able to participate in the market to that same
>> degree.  If we're going to turn a blind eye towards holders of large blocks
>> and not require any needs-based justification for them, then be fair and
>> do away with the needs-based justification for everyone.
> This is the same straw man argument coupled with the same, completely orthogonal proposed remedy.
> You really need to come up with a better way to frame this argument than "Someone else can wildly flaunt their indifference, but I can't, and that's not fair"

So, let me make sure I understand your position on this;
from your perspective, it is entirely proper to have different
rules that apply to different entities within the ARIN region.
There is no requirement to have the rules equally apply to

>> Otherwise,
>> apply it equally across the board.
>>> Questions:
>>> Is there something uniquely unfair that is inherent specifically in an IPv4 holder's right to sell not just to sell IPv4, but to sell it without restriction based on current needs-based policies.
>> There's nothing unfair in the right; what is unfair is that the
>> rights are not being applied equally to everyone within the
>> ARIN purview.
> Sure they are, you're just failing to acknowledge (or to accept) that there is an historical dimension to certain kinds of rules and enforcement mechanisms in every system. Much as we may find some or all of them distasteful, the recognition of various "legacies" and "inheritances" is extremely common if not universal feature of human rule-based institutions.

OK.  I'll grant that there are inherited legacies that are
governed by different rules than those applied to the
rest of a population.  I may not personally like it, but
yes, I concede your point that such inheritances do
exist throughout society.

>> I'm advocating that we either apply the rules
>> equally to *everyone*, or apply them to no-one.  The current
>> "have" and "have-not" scenario is a ludicrous parody of
>> medieval fiefdoms.
>>> In other words, is there something that makes that narrow privilege more important than any/every other right/privilege that an IPv4 holder might enjoy, e.g., in  world of IP addressing scarcity (e.g., max. freedom to expand, to add new customers, to add peers at will, reachability to/from all of the the rest of the Internet)?  Even if one thinks that that narrow selling-related privilege *is* more important and more unfair than all of the other advantages of having IPv4,  doesn't the privilege also confer to any/all subsequent IPv4 buyers? If it does confer, then (following the logic that people use to justify a transfer market in general), what makes the idea of having to buy that particular privilege *more* intolerable than the idea of having to buy any of the other privileges that every current IPv4 holder in the world currently enjoys simply by virtue of their possession of allocated/assigned IPv4?

Exactly!  The two should be fairly and equitably applied
across the board to both populations.  I'm glad you were
able to clarify the inequality in terms that made more sense
to you.

>>> If you believe that RIR-era needs justification rules retroactively render legacy IPv4 assignments so unfair and illegitimate that an ex post facto equalization (to your benefit) is now justified, and the community actually ratifies that notion, I wonder how future community members will interpret that precedent a few years from now, when they start comparing what they're obliged to do/give up to get usable IP addresses to what was expected of *anyone* that was lucky enough to acquire IPv4 at any time in before IPv4 exhaustion...

Much like with the shared wireless spectrum, I anticipate
ongoing adjustments being made to allocations, with the
entire community having to make concessions and
adjustments, not just new entrants to the field.  As spectrum
became more and more in demand, and the push for trying
to pack more uses into the limited spectrum range increased,
the adjustments were applied across the board.  It didn't matter
if you had been using analog TV broadcast frequencies for 50
years; when the push for reallocation of spectrum came along,
you had to give up your swath of analog spectrum and move to
new frequency ranges.  Nobody got to say "but I qualified for this
spectrum under the rules from 10 years ago, so you can't touch
it."  Likewise, I think in the IPv4 space a similar situation could
exist; as the limited resource comes under increasing demand,
reapportioning across the board could become necessary.  We
have a nice precedent for it in the analog TV spectrum, so I don't
think it's an outrageous model to propose at all.

>> It's refreshing to see people admitting that yes, the legacy
>> block holders do enjoy privilege and status far above everyone
>> else who operates under the RIR needs-based rules.
> They simply have a different status, which imposes a different (and granted, lighter) set of compliance obligations. No doubt we would also have liked to have been around a century ago to have staked a free ("verbal commitment to improve") claim to a couple hundred acres of good farmland -- or rather, it'd be nice to cleanly inherit that land today without actually having live through, worked/maintained that land for the intervening years. But even if someone granted you narrow but absolute power to "rectify that injustice" today,  by changing *only* the rules that governed who could buy and sell land, what change could you possibly make that that would cause the non-inheritance of that land by you to be "fair" or "more fair" -- and not just for you, but more fair for *everyone* now and in the future who did not and will never enjoy such an inheritance?

I think the analogy I'm looking at is more along the lines
of someone who has inherited land being allowed to sell
that land to overseas investors, completely tax-free, whereas
everyone who did not inherit their property must sell the
property with government involvement, including restrictions
on the zoning of the land being sold, and taxes on the transfer
of the land.

>> However,
>> I'm not advocating that we take up pitchforks and torches and
>> storm the castles of the wealthly landed gentry; instead, I'm
>> advocating removal of the unfair and unreasonable rules that
>> deny anyone else the ability to gain access to similar levels
>> of resources.
> Sorry, but I can't see how your proposal adds any additional "fairness" to any element of the system that is not already on the winning side of broader fairness/unfairness divide(s) that are already inherent in this situation, while I can see all sorts of ways that it would be likely further exacerbate those otherwise unrelated problems...

I'm not actually proposing anything, I'm simply advocating
for the removal of needs-based allocations.  I've just been
pulling out more analogies than other supporters have,
which might make it seem like I'm advocating for more
than they have.

>> The old boy's club has their wealth and power and prestige
>> in the form of large, unjustified swaths of IPv4 space; let's
>> bring equality and fairness to the market, and allow
>> everyone the *opportunity* to participate in that mode.
> Please stop using the using the term "participate" to erroneously (or misleadingly) conflate the separate and distinct prerogatives and material capabilities of all hypothetical IPv4 buyers and IPv4 sellers. Make a positive argument for why the differences should not matter, and/or why ignoring all of the current differences that you'd like to ignore going forward -- including "operators" vs. "non-operators" -- would make the future better or "more fair" than a future in which those distinctions continue to be honored. Proof by assertion is not strengthened by continued repetition (!).

I've already indicated up above that the distinction
between operators and non-operators doesn't exist,
and cited links to concrete evidence.  I didn't realize
you needed me to connect the dots for you; I apologize
for the omission the first time around, and hope that
now it's clearer that this is not simply proof by assertion.

>> Or are you arguing in favour of the status quo, that it's
>> fine for some players to hold onto large, unjustified blocks
>> of IPv4 space, simply due to their age, but everyone else
>> has to sit in the back of the bus?
> Actually, I have advocated a coordinated, incremental decommissioning of all of the buses, so that no one *who can actually drive* is ever forced to ride when they'd prefer to drive themselves. I really don't see how transportation services are going to be improved or made "more fair" by allowing you to sell off idled buses to someone who cannot drive, or who refuses to positively assert that they're actually going to put the buses they purchase back on the road!
> But hey, if you want to argue that it would be even fairer to eliminate all bus drivers licensing requirements, and/or that the transportation market would be greatly improved by encouraging  new entrants to acquire buses and put them to their most profitable use, which might well mean parking nine to maximize fare on the tenth, go for it.

Cool.  Thanks for giving me your blessing to

>> Have we really come to the days of "separate but equal",
>> and segregation on the internet??  Is it time for the next
>> Rosa Parks to take a stand, and not meekly move to the
>> back of the bus, based solely on an arbitrary discriminant
>> like skin colour?  Why should the age of your IPv4 block
>> confer special rights to a select few that are denied to
>> everyone else?
>> Very simply, my stance is "equal rights for all."  If we're not
>> enforcing needs-based justification for everyone, then don't
>> enforce it on just a select minority.  That's not equality, that's
>> discrimination.
>> Help me end discrimination on the internet; vote to remove
>> discriminatory needs-based rules that are applied only to
>> the non-privileged minorities.  Vote YES on prop 165!
>>> Am I missing something?
>> I hope this has helped clarify the points you might have
>> missed in my earlier missive; and with that increased
>> clarity will come support for true equality in the ARIN
>> region, and an end to unfair, discriminatory practices.
> Thanks again for the detailed response, but no it didn't provide any new information.
> Heavy and elaborate reinforcement of the same still-unrelated propositions, yes, but the gaping holes where a positive argument connecting reality > problem > solution > reality should be are still there, waiting to be filled...

Is this helping fill your holes at all?

Honestly, I find your writing to be very
hard to follow, so I'm not entirely certain
which pieces you're missing, and need
more clarification on; but as you point out
the gaps, I'll do my best to fill them.



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