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Re: Articles (was: IAB Last Call on new IANA Statement)
On Wed, 2 Sep 1998, Steven M. Bellovin wrote:
> >Correcting this problem is not that difficult. It can be corrected
> >by creating a broad and diverse membership, and then making key
> >provisions of the articles and bylaws changeable only by the action
> >of a large majority of that broad and diverse membership, and by
> >having the board selected by that membership. This is, incidentally
> >the corporate model described by the consensus documents of the
> >European Commission's Brussels conference of 7 July.
> I have qualms about the lack of membership myself. But -- and it's
> an important demurrer -- I have no idea how to define the membership
> in a way that is "broad and diverse" and unlikely to be packed by
> overly-interested parties. Frankly, I welcome all reasonable suggestions.
I sketched out an approach in
If I have time over the next week or so, I will flesh this out.
> >The IANA drafts ignore these possibility: they describe a corporation
> >without a membership, where in large part the board selects itself
> >or is selected by external bodies having similar problems with
> In fact, the IANA draft describes a hybrid model, where half of the
> directors are indeed part of a self-perpetuating group, but the other
> half do represent members -- the SOs. To be sure, that raises the question
> of how their memberships are defined, especially for the Names Council; see
There are serious problems with the SO model, in that representation
is mixed with administration. It is a basic principle in
organizational design that the two should not be mixed. The two
are clearly separated in the design of the US government (legislature
vs executive branch) and in fact in all democracies that I can think
of. Yes, I know that we are not designing a global government.
However, the principle is the same.
As I said in various of the IFWP meetings, ISPs join their regional
IP registries (RIPE, ARIN, APNIC) because they need address space to
remain in business. For the registries to then claim that they
represent the ISPs is perverse. At least potentially the RIRs have
the power to put ISPs who disagree with them out of business.
I am not familiar with the other RIRs, but the RIPE NCC does an
excellent job as a service organization. But the ISPs that I have
talked to about this (I am a director of both the UK Internet trade
association, ISPA UK, and EuroISPA, the pan-European trade
association) are not comfortable with RIPE becoming a political
What would work is a more conventional structure in which members,
probably grouped into classes of members, elected Board members,
who then formulated policy which was passed down through the
councils to the RIRs for execution (with feedback on technical
questions being passed back up through the councils to the board).
This corresponds very closely to what we now have:
US government <--> members
NSF <--> board
IANA <--> councils
RIRs, etc <--> RIRs, etc
LIRs, etc <--> LIRs, etc
That is, what we are doing is replacing the policy making layer,
splitting IANA up along functional lines, and leaving everything
below that unchanged. In practice IANA in its current form would
presumably be preserved while the councils took form.
So what we would be doing is replacing what doesn't work -- the
policy making bit -- while leaving what does work intact. This
strikes me as the right way to go.
One reason that the SO model doesn't work is that it splits the
user community along exactly the same lines as the services
provided. Generally speaking, this does not make any sense.
While ISPs, for example, form an important class of users (in fact
they are arguably IANA's largest user group), they use all of its
services: ISPs use address space, but most ISPs are also domain
name registrars, and of course they use Internet protocols. So
ISPs as a group would like to have some say on all of these
issues -- without having their voices mediated through the service
organizations that they use.
To see this from a different perspective, consider my company's
customers. Several dozen of these are ISPs. Most of them get
address space from us. In the IANA model, we are represented by
RIPE -- which we are uncomfortable with -- but our customers are
represented only by us. And I can assure you that we are as
uncomfortable with that as our customers are.
We need a model in which users of IANA's services -- for example,
ISPs -- have a direct say in the formulation of policy, rather
than a model in which service organizations (the regional IP address
registries and domain name registries) claim to represent their
Jim Dixon VBCnet GB Ltd http://www.vbc.net
tel +44 117 929 1316 fax +44 117 927 2015