[discuss] Why oversight? (was Re: Opportunity for input on the development process forIANAoversight transition plan)

Andrew Sullivan ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
Wed Apr 2 18:33:36 UTC 2014


On Wed, Apr 02, 2014 at 06:17:51PM +0530, parminder wrote:
> normally accepted that technical functions of public importance,
> although often undertaken by expert technical bodies, must be
> subject to larger public oversight through appropriate institutional
> forms.

Sure.  "Laws."  That is, to the extent that technical bodies are
subject to public oversight, it's normally under the aegis of national
law.  And of course, everyone participating in an IETF discussion is
subject to the relevant (mostly local) laws at the time and place of

But what you seem to be imagining is some sort of oversight beyond
that.  I'm not at all sure that it is "normally accepted" that such
technical functions are indeed subject to the "larger public
oversight" you're talking about, at least in the abstract.

It may be that for specific things, like deployment on a road or use
as an elevating device or so on, public policy concerns may come in.
For instance, the Society of Automotive Engineers publishes certain
recommendations about motor oil for lubrication; these standards are
not controlled by any government, but are determined via the SAE
process.  They are in turn used by automobile manufacturers, who
specify their use, and also incorporated along with other standards in
pollution control regulations imposed by different jurisdictions,
often when adopted or otherwise incorporated by a national standards
body; this latter is what makes ISO necessary.  And these local
incorporations tend to differ area by area according to local rules
and customs and expectations.  We see that on the Internet today.

What you seem to be talking about is an overall political control over
technical bodies generally.  I'd like an example of something that is
like this where it is "normally accepted" that they are subject to
"larger public oversight through appropriate institutional forms".

> It is in this sense that the political/ public administration
> concept of 'delegated authority' was used by me,

I think there's something more to what you are arguing, which is that
there is this overarching "public administration" layer under which
everything is subsumed.  I am not sure I agree with this picture of
the organization of society, and I suspect that attempts to work out a
way forward would founder on a basic difference over how societies
ought to be organized.  So this is indeed a fundamental point.

Best regards,


Andrew Sullivan
ajs at anvilwalrusden.com

More information about the discuss mailing list