[discuss] FW: Comcast undertakes 9 year IETF cosponsorship!?

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Tue Mar 25 01:13:57 UTC 2014


(As an aside a wise person once told me that drawing analogies online is
generally a bad idea for all sorts of reasons, so let me withdraw my attempt
in this instance... :(

And let me say that I agree with this/your point "Merely having a pecuniary
interest in a result is not a /prima facie/ justification for
disenfranchisement", however, I don't believe my comments were suggesting
this although I can understand that possible interpretation.

However, could I add that having a role in matters where significant public
interests are under review is sufficient to require the implementation of
procedures and processes to ensure that the public's interests are protected
including from the possibility of misdirection, suborning, capture, and
similar actual or potential derelictions.


-----Original Message-----
From: Barry Shein [mailto:bzs at world.std.com] 
Sent: Monday, March 24, 2014 5:02 PM
To: michael gurstein
Cc: 'Stephen Farrell'; 'McTim'; 'bestbits'; '1Net List';
governance at lists.igcaucus.org
Subject: Re: [discuss] FW: Comcast undertakes 9 year IETF cosponsorship!?

On March 22, 2014 at 16:18 gurstein at gmail.com (michael gurstein) wrote:
 > Is it really acceptable for the process towards the establishment of
global  > standards for sugar intake to be "(co)sponsored" by Coca Cola for
example;  > or for that matter for Coca Cola to have a member on the Board
of one of the  > key technical bodies making recommendations towards those

I'm not sure this analogy is apt, as much as I sympathize with the

This is more like Coke having membership on the board of a group which is
setting standards for grocery shelving. It probably exists.

Surely Coke would have a legitimate interest just like anyone else involved
(supermarkets, delivery companies, etc.) And that interest may well be
self-interested but there's no obvious reason why it should not be involved
or why this would be bad.

Now, if Coke used that position to favor their bottle sizes over that of
competitors that might be a problem. But that would be the end result of a
lopsided or corrupted process rather than a mistake letting them into the

But the purpose of the IETF et al is not to stand between the public and the

Most of the IETF's work is to standardize practices among manufacturers
(providers, etc.) in the belief that this produces a result in the public's
interest by improving interoperability.

I don't believe I am splitting a hair: I think there is a time and place for
consumer advocacy groups, and industry advocacy groups, and standards
development bodies.

Their interests often overlap in significant ways but much of their effort
is disjoint.

Put simply: Merely having a pecuniary interest in a result is not a /prima
facie/ justification for disenfranchisement.

        -Barry Shein

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