[discuss] IANA

Phillip Hallam-Baker hallam at gmail.com
Mon Jan 6 14:51:17 UTC 2014

On Mon, Jan 6, 2014 at 9:09 AM, Roland Perry <
roland at internetpolicyagency.com> wrote:

> In message <E3283480-A07C-4384-B572-8BEF9FE78B6F at piuha.net>, at 05:09:59
> on Mon, 6 Jan 2014, Jari Arkko <jari.arkko at piuha.net> writes
>  I wanted to share some thoughts on how I see IANA, its role and
>> evolution. This is mostly from an IETF perspective, but it also touches on
>> the
>> role of IANA for addresses and domain names.
>> http://www.ietf.org/blog/2014/01/iana/
> I'm not sure it's correct to give the impression that ICANN is still
> operating the IANA function under the contract awarded to them by DoC when
> ICANN was formed. There have been a number of new contracts since then,
> which ICANN had to pitch for in a semi-competitive environment.
> (I say "semi" because there were numerous constraints, including but not
> limited to the well-known one that the successful bidder MUST be based in
> the USA).

Which I take as being because the US in its customary tone-deaf fashion
insists on protecting its own national security interest in ensuring access
to IPv6 addresses but refuses to acknowledge that other governments might
have the same legitimate concern.

This is not a healthy situation for IANA or ICANN. It is not a stable
situation either.

I commented extensively on the protocol registry function of IANA on the
IETF list. That is not relevant here because it is not a control point. If
I want to deploy a protocol then I am not going to be stopped by refusal to
issue a code point by IANA. If the US was to pass a law stopping IANA
issuing me code points for cryptographic algorithms they haven't approved
then I am simply going to ignore the registration requirement.

There are two motivations that drive the desire to change governance of
ICANN/IANA and a lot of frustration is caused by the US partisans only
recognizing the one that everyone wants to defeat. One motivation for
change is to make it easier to control the use of the Internet and chill
inconvenient political speech. The second is to prevent the US using its
influence over ICANN or IANA in ways that damage the national interests of
other countries.

Each time someone raises the second we get the usual bleats about
anti-Americanism as if it is somehow wrong to suggest that a future US
government might do something that was dastardly. After all its not like
the US locks people up without trial or has courts and prosecutors that
won't act when there are clear cases of officially sanctioned torture.

One of the side effects of democracy is that no government can bind its
successor. Obama is free to repudiate any commitment made by George W. Bush
and has in fact done so on multiple occasions. Bush began his Presidency by
repudiating an international treaty. It is completely legitimate to ask if
future administrations will understand that US influence over ICANN and
IANA is akin to that of a constitutional monarch and mistake it for
absolute power.

Just as there are two concerns, there are two ways of dealing with the
potential abuse of a control point. One way is to put in place safeguards
to mitigate the possibility of abuse, the second, better way is to
eliminate the control point.

There are several ways this could be done. One would be to award a
sovereign reserve address space to each country. There is a numeric form of
the ISO country code. Prefixing this by the ISO standards number for
country code produces an address space for each country.

People don't seem to like that proposal lest it encourage movement of IP
address space governance to ITU/UN. But I really don't see that as a
problem. At 'worst' this would mean the ITU was managing some subset of the
IPv6 space. It certainly would not change the technical feasibility of
geographic routing restrictions. This is already very common, see MindMax.

Another possibility would be to allocate an IPv6 space to each RIR that is
sufficiently large that it will be at least a decade before the RIR needs
to apply for another. In effect this takes ICANN out of the IPv6 business
for practical purposes except for the establishment of new RIRs.

Incidentally, just as nobody can explain to me how ICANN's proposed
'accountability' scheme provides any accountability, I don't see why RIRs
shouldn't compete with each other or why the number needs to be limited to

Website: http://hallambaker.com/
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