[discuss] Problem statement P1

John Curran jcurran at istaff.org
Sun Jan 19 19:39:48 UTC 2014

On Jan 19, 2014, at 8:59 AM, George Sadowsky <george.sadowsky at gmail.com> wrote:
> ...
> Here's my initial draft of the problem statement, which I'll refer to as problem P1:
> US Government involvement in IANA functions.
> 1. The Internet Assigned Names and Numbers Authority (IANA) has as one of its functions the vetting of changes in the Internet root zone file.  IANA is a part of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
> 2. ICANN has a zero-cost contract with the US government to execute this IANA function. In addition, the US government formally approves IANA's recommendations for changes in the root zone file before they are distributed to root zone operators and anycast servers.
> 3. Objections have been raised to US government involvement in this process on several grounds, including exclusivity and concerns of trust.  Objections have equally been raised to movement of the function to several international organizations.  
> 4. A solution is needed that meets several criteria: (1) protection of the root zone file from political or improper interference; (2) integrity, stability, continuity, security and robustness of operation; (3) widespread trust by Internet users in the organization executing this function and in its administrative mechanisms; and (4) agreement regarding accountability that is broadly perceived to be in the global public interest.   
> 5. At present, no such solution appears to exist. 
> Next steps
> I have deliberately not tried to be really precise in this formulation, in part because if it's a community problem, then the community should formulate it and agree upon the formulation.  I am sure that there are people on this list who can improve this statement in a number of ways.  There may be errors or misinterpretations in the above draft.  The language can be made more precise.  Some of the language might mislead readers to a misunderstanding of the situation.

George - 
   Thank you for starting this discussion.  I think the problem statement is quite good and 
   would only suggest changing the title to more fully reflect the bounded nature of your
   problem statement - 

   In particular, if the problem statement is about resolving objections to USG involvement  
   in "this IANA function" (i.e. vetting of changes in the Internet root zone file), then the title
   of P1 might be better stated as "US Government involvement in IANA root zone functions."

   If the the problem statement is meant to be about resolving objections to USG involvement
   in the full range of IANA functions (including the other aspects of the IANA function contract
   such as parameter and IP administration), the the title is fine (but the problem statement 
   needs generalization)

>  I admit to having bounded the problem.  Not included are the requirement that ICANN maintain its headquarters n the United States, and that ICANN, as a not-for-profit California corporation, is bound by the laws of both the state of California and the US government.  In my view,  problem P1 is a core issue that is separable from these issues.  Some may disagree.  That illustrates the importance of defining exactly what problem we are trying to solve.  I just note that problems that are capable of being decomposed into smaller relatively independent problems may be easier to solve by attacking the various pieces of the problem separately
> I propose that we now improve this problem statement as much as possible, while still keeping it relatively short and clear.  I would define success for this part of the exercise as being able to create a problem statement that is generally understood and accepted, and forms a solid basis for an exploration of the solution space.  Then perhaps we can move to a delineation of some pieces of possible solutions.

   I concur with determining the "problem statement" first approach, and have tried to advance
   that goal via comments above.

Thanks again!

Disclaimer:  My views alone.

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