[discuss] Contributions to NETmundial

Suzanne Woolf suzworldwide at gmail.com
Tue Mar 11 14:44:22 UTC 2014

+1 to Eliot and Stephen, with an additional question for anyone familiar with the background on this part of the Commission's NetMundial comments.

Sometimes, calls for consideration of public policy in technical work are driven by specific issues or activities where there's deemed to have been a failure-- a particular outcome that suffers from missing features to implement those concerns, or somehow appears to promote inappropriate outcomes. It's easy to argue, for example, that the leakage of what's now considered privacy-sensitive data in various internet protocols is a failure of the technical standards process to anticipate what's now a very prominent public policy concern. (There are things wrong with this argument; it's intended as an illustration.) If so, the question is how to "fix it," with a refined understanding of the requirements for doing better in the future.

Sometimes, the driver is from a process perspective, in which there's no clear mechanism for such concerns to be taken into account and therefore no process-based assurance they have been. In this case, there may be no specific failure to discuss. However, that may be considered entirely irrelevant; if the process isn't proper, the result *can't* be acceptable.

Do we know how/whether these two basic perspectives influenced the Commission's remarks?


On Mar 11, 2014, at 9:05 AM, Stephen Farrell <stephen.farrell at cs.tcd.ie> wrote:
> On 03/11/2014 11:06 AM, Eliot Lear wrote:
>> Hi Milton,
>> On 3/10/14, 8:23 PM, Milton L Mueller wrote:
>>> Constance
>>> As one of ISOC’s policy staff, I would like to know your reaction to
>>> the European Commission submission to NetMundial, specifically those
>>> portions of the comments that call for forms of oversight to make IETF
>>> standards conformant to public policy concerns.
>> I'm not Constance, but I know something about the situation.  There has
>> been a healthy dialog with someone from the Commission on the
>> internetgovtech list (anyone can join).    Government participants at
>> RIPE, for instance, have the roundtable, something that IETF leadership
>> participates in from time to time.  At ICANN they have the GAC.  There
>> are a number of governments that participate in various IETF working
>> groups (PAWS being a current example that is about to produce a standard
>> on a database for provisioning of available white space).  In addition,
>> ISOC has a "policy fellows" program, that I have personally found quite
>> enjoyable.  But perhaps that is not as structured as one might want.
>> The IAB talked about doing a roundtable so that governments have an
>> opportunity to hear what is going on and to have at least a little
>> guidance as to how to get engaged.  One challenge is finding the people
>> who would be interested in a given topic or group of topics.  The IETF
>> is not the same as an RIR in this regard.  With an RIR, the issues tend
>> to revolve around (shockingly) addressing and whois, and so one might at
>> least envision the participants and their briefs not changing all that
>> much.  I think this largely holds true for the GAC as well.
>> On the other hand, as standardization topics change, so too do the
>> participants.  The same people who are interested in white space are
>> generally not interested in, say, broadband access point measurement
>> (e.g., the lmap wg), and so there is both a lack of continuity. 
>> Outreach can also be challenging. 
> Well put. As someone active in various bits of IETFness I
> don't really see how one might effectively try to satisfy
> the EU commission's desires in that context, at least as
> I read their submission.
>> Since you asked the question, tho, turnabout is fair play ;-)  I'd be
>> curious of your thoughts about this.
> I'd be even more interested in what the EU commission have to
> say as well - I guess since they expressed the desire they
> presumably have some idea what it'd mean in practice. (And
> in case its not clear, I have no clue;-)
> All that said, as with any IETF activity, if anyone does
> care about a topic, then they can participate. So some of
> this should probably be pushed back onto the EU commission
> to ask them what they are doing to ensure people who can
> provide clueful technical input that considers their
> interests are involved, since that is what makes a difference
> in the IETF. I'm not saying that that's all that is needed,
> but I figure it is necessary even if not sufficient, and
> is I'd guess the best way to work out what else (if anything)
> might additionally be useful later.
> Cheers,
> S.
> PS: Full disclosure and all that: my current involvement
> in IETF stuff is partly supported by an FP7 project but
> the above is just me wondering.
>> Eliot
>> <speaking only for myself>
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