[NRO-IANAXFER] Internet Number Community IANA Stewardship Proposal: Final Call for Comments

gerard.ross at mac.com gerard.ross at mac.com
Sun Jan 11 22:36:18 CET 2015

Hi everyone

First of all, I’d like to congratulate the CRISP team for their efficient work in developing this proposal and especially to Izumi for her outstanding efforts (over a holiday period) in providing such a clear, respectful, and structured stewardship of the process.

I understand and appreciate Richard Hill’s concerns that the CRISP proposal does not include a comprehensive contract, but I believe that those concerns represent a misunderstanding of the Internet model of decision making and perhaps bear the hallmarks of other, more institutional governance paradigms. 

As I’ve always understood the bottom up process, the community of interest discusses and develops consensus on a set of principles for the topic at hand. The specific implementation of those principles into operational details is delegated to a working group, committee, or organisation. That “delegate” reports openly and regularly, so that the community can review and refine.

As Hans Petter, Filiz, and others have noted, this current process indeed shows the bottom up processes of the technical community at work. All of the participants are drawn from and answerable to their respective communities, all operating in the knowledge that eyes are upon them. While it may be hard to hear the hum of approval on a mailing list, we can be sure that any missteps in this process would be met by howls of disapproval, loud and clear.

While many people from other backgrounds see the Internet model as idealistic, it is in fact deeply pragmatic and action oriented (which is why it has been able to build the Internet).

Within this pragmatism, it is necessary to distinguish between what is necessary for operational certainty and what is negotiable for pragmatic implementation.

In the current context – especially in the available timeline – the focus must remain on the essential principles of numbering resource stewardship. To over-specify the implementation would risk derailing the essentials.

For the CRISP group to put forward “the” contract by which the transition must proceed would put this process at risk (not to mention that it would be an act of unilateralism, vis-a-vis the IANA operator, that is antithetical to the Internet model).

Richard Hill noted his understanding that the ICANN lawyers would accept a contract proposed by the community. I’m not sure we can take that for granted. But even if – operating in the greatest good faith – their lawyers identified reasonable and compelling reasons to challenge terms of the proposal (such as the jurisdiction or arbitration clauses) then where would that leave us?

For if a specific contract were put forward as the will of the community, would revising its terms be an act against the consensus? Would every line-by-line revision require a fresh consultation period? If so, we could be stuck in limbo for years. And, in my experience, I have seen jurisdiction and ADR clauses debated for extended periods.

I do appreciate Richard’s note that it would be sufficient for the proposal to suggest “ICC arbitration in a neutral venue”. As a principle that is reasonable and pragmatic. To be any more specific than that, however, would be counterproductive.

Thanks again for all your work.

- Gerard

Gerard Ross
gerard.ross at mac.com

More information about the ianaxfer mailing list