[arin-ppml] Change of Use and ARIN (was: Re: AFRINIC And The Stability Of The Internet Number Registry System)

Owen DeLong owen at delong.com
Wed Sep 8 16:30:35 EDT 2021

> On Sep 7, 2021, at 13:04 , John Curran <jcurran at arin.net> wrote:
> On 7 Sep 2021, at 3:39 PM, arin-ppml <arin-ppml at arin.net <mailto:arin-ppml at arin.net>> wrote:
>> Unless I recall it incorrectly, they are elected by the *membership* not the *community*. There is a huge difference.
> Jordi -
> You are correct - ARIN is membership organization with a member-elected Board of Trustees. 
>> In other regions, the chairs of the PDP are elected by the community.
> In the ARIN region, our ARIN Advisory Council (which administers the policy process) is elected by the membership as well. 
>> The board is still elected by the membership, but the board has nothing to say in regards to PDP/policy making process.

While I think this is true for RIPE, and I don’t know for sure about LACNIC, this is not true for AFRINIC, ARIN. or APNIC.

In AFRINIC, the board must ratify every policy if it is to be enacted. Contrary to popular opinion, the board is quite free
to (and has) reject policies it feels are not conducive to its fiduciary responsibilities to the organization or are out of scope
of the policy process.

In APNIC, the EC must approve policies after consensus is declared by the co-chairs. I am not sure of the details of the
scope of their ability to reject them, but I doubt this process would be required if it were merely a rubber stamp and they
had no options.

In ARIN, policies must be ratified by the board and though generally left to its own devices, the wording of all of ARIN’s
documents puts the AC in a strictly advisory role and the board is pretty much free to do as they please, including rewrite
the bylaws if they so choose (IIRC). While some steps have been taken since 2009-15 which created significant community
outrage regarding the boards choices in applying the emergency PDP to replace the AC’s recommendations for a transfer
policy, the board still retains virtually unchecked (except through the election process) power with respect to ARIN.

> In the overwhelming majority of the time, the ARIN Board of Trustees role is limited to review and ratification of recommended policies, but they do retain the ability to propose policy in an emergency (see below). 

They also retain the ability to eliminate or suspend policy, alter policy, or enact policy. Further, the definition of an “emergency” is pretty much set to “whatever the board thinks is an emergency”.

Fortunately, in the ARIN region, we have had board members that have generally not abused this process.

>> Further to that, only one RIR (LACNIC) has explicitly indicated in the PDP that the board could reject a policy that reached consensus and return it to the policy list for further discussion. I don’t think it happened ever – I agree that this is a good think in order to protect the membership/organization if the community gets crazy, but it must be clearly proven and explained with no doubts or signs of attempt of community decisions manipulation.
> In the ARIN region, the relevant section of the PDP <https://www.arin.net/participate/policy/pdp/#10-special-policy-actions <https://www.arin.net/participate/policy/pdp/#10-special-policy-actions>> states that the Board may initiate policy _"if urgently necessary pursuant to ARIN’s mission”_ 
> The Board doesn’t simply enact policy - the process involves posting the proposed policy to this list (arin-ppml) and having an express review of it by the ARIN AC – 

Sure, but once the AC concludes its express review, the board is technically free to do whatever it wishes with the results. It can modify, rewrite, enact, discard, or take just about any other action it chooses in response.

>>> 10. Special Policy Actions
>>> 10.1 Emergency PDP
>>> If urgently necessary pursuant to ARIN’s mission, the Board of Trustees may initiate policy by declaring an emergency and posting a Recommended Draft Policy on the PPML for discussion for a minimum of 14 days. The Advisory Council will review the Recommended Draft Policy within 7 days of the end of the discussion period and make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. If the Board of Trustees adopts the policy, it will be presented at the next Public Policy Meeting for reconsideration.
> I am unaware of the ARIN Board ever proposing policy aside from the circumstances in 2009 regarding the need for a usable transfer policy.

Then you are forgetting two additional incidents…

	+	The sudden retirement of the IPv4 aggregation policy
	+	The suspension (and subsequent rewrite) of the Waiting List policy

Admittedly in both of these cases, the board was suspending/terminating existing policy, but a deletion of a policy or a rewrite still amounts to the board changing policy. In the latter case, the board suspended the policy and left the hard work of rewriting it to the AC, which resulted in a significant dissent from the community after the modification was adopted leading to a proposal which was abandoned by the AC being appealed to the board and then adopted by the board.


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