RIPE 59

Wednesday, 7 October 2009, 14:00
Lisbon, Portugal
Co-Chair: Patrik Fältström
Scribe: Chris Buckridge


A. Administrative Matters

The Chair noted that the Agenda had been changed earlier in the day to include Constanze Bürger's update on IPv6 in Germany.

B. Patrik Fältström as RIPE Cooperation Working Group Co-Chair

Patrik Fältström noted that the Co-chairs, Maria Häll and Martin Boyle, had nominated him to be the WG's third Co-chair. There were some positive comments from the audience, and Patrik was accepted as Co-Chair.

C. IPv6 in Germany - Constanze Bürger, Bundesministerium des Innern

Constanze Bürger gave an update on the German government's plan to deploy IPv6 in their internal networks.

There were no questions.

D. Update on IGF - Paul Rendek, RIPE NCC

Paul Rendek gave an update on the RIPE NCC's involvement with the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

Bill Woodcock asked about the proliferation of regional IGF events. Paul gave his personal opinion that EuroDIG, held in September, seemed a good approach that was actually representative of multi-stakeholder communities and included some good dialogue. The UK IGF event was also useful, particularly in helping to educate and shape the government positions. Raúl Echeberría noted that there have been two regional events in Latin America, primarily because the main IGF events are held a long way from the region, and only a few people can attend – the local events mean a much larger number of regional representatives can discuss the issues in the IGF process. Raúl also made a distinction between the preparatory IGF meetings and "Regional IGFs" – in the case of the Latin American meetings, it was clear that they are primarily preparation for the global IGF events. A regional IGF would mean a much larger process, which may be useful, but is not currently in place.

Malcolm Hutty ask for some elaboration on Paul's comment on the challenges that still need to be overcome. Paul pointed out that the NRO believes there is room for more/better multi-stakeholder involvement, and that while governments may believe they are taking a multi-stakeholder approach, it can still seem quite closed to non-government stakeholders. The NRO also emphasises the need to increase opportunities for participation, perhaps through remote participation alternatives (webcast, jabber etc.). Malcolm asked if there were any specific recommendations for changes to the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), but there were none.

Patrik Fältström agreed that there is a difference between instigating true, regional governance processes, and more simple prep for IGF. He noted that the EuroDIG has existed separately and prior to the IGF. He also noted that there are specific issues that have local or regional relevance that may not fit into the larger IGF processes. Sweden is attempting to run a more open, inclusive process for gaining input on Sweden's position in the IGF, using mailing lists and online communication to open up the process without additional physical meetings.

Bill Woodcock agreed with the need to separate these issues, and argued that regional meetings not specifically tied to IGF may be increasingly important – participation on the part of the constituency not already involved in the global IGF is a good goal. He noted, however, that the US IGF felt like it simply added an additional layer of bureaucracy to the governance processes.

Olaf Nordling noted the importance of the end of the JPA – the Chair noted that this would be covered in the next presentation.

Paul noted that the RIRs invest considerable resources in engaging with the IGF processes, and are committed to continue this.

D. The Future of Internet Governance: A View from ICANN - Nick Thorne, ICANN

Nick Thorne gave an update on the recent changes at ICANN, including the end of the Joint Projects Agreement (JPA) and the Affirmation of Commitments that has replaced it. He noted that many of the same structures remain in place, and that there is scope for all multi-stakeholder groups to engage with the processes of Internet governance, though he argued that some stakeholder groups need to make more of an effort in doing this.

He noted the discussions taking place around the possibility of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) taking a role as an RIR, particularly for developing countries. He noted that the arguments behind this push, specifically that developing countries are disadvantaged by the existing RIR system, do not reflect reality, and noted that ICANN is working with RIRs to ensure that ITU members are informed of the facts.

He reported that Kenya has offered to host the first IGF of the second cycle, in 2011 – it has not yet been agreed that this "second cycle" will go ahead, but pushing for the second cycle will now be adopted as an African position in the UN, which will make it much more likely to succeed.

He argued that there are real threats to the future stability of the Internet, and to counter them all stakeholders will have to engage with the processes of Internet governance.

He also noted that in relation to regional and national IGF activities, it is important that they not be seen merely as preparation for the global IGF. The regional IGF in Kenya was a real East African IGF, which focused on true regional issues and positive developments – the lessons learned by specific stakeholders and refined in the regional discussion can be taken to the IGF global forum.

Rob Blokzijl raised a question about the document being sent to the ITU on behalf of ICANN and the RIRs, specifically they plan to rely on the ITU Secretariat to distribute it to their members.

Nick reported that the document will be sent to the Secretariat, but will also be distributed to ITU members through the RIRs. He also noted that the document refers to the pre-allocation of addresses (reservation), and will attempt to convey the scale of the IPv6 address space, particularly in relation to IPv4.

Paul Rendek asked what ICANN is doing to reach out to the RIPE/RIR communities. Nick noted that cooperation on the document for the ITU is significant, and there needs to be coordination of messaging for the different organisations at the IGF in Sharm El Sheik.

Bill Woodcock noted that the ITU has been saying that becoming a new outlet for IPv6 would pose no technical threat to the Internet stability. At the same time, they seem to be saying they would provide competition to the RIR system. That would seem to imply that their criteria for allocation would be different to the criteria in the RIR system. If they are providing addresses under a system different to the need-based system of the RIRs, and not taking into account issues such as aggregation, there seems to be no room left for a competitive allocation policy that does not negatively affect stability of the Internet. He asked if Nick knew whether the ITU had formed any rebuttal to that?

Nick encouraged Bill to make this point in the IPv6 session at the IGF. He noted that the ITU is basing its arguments on the belief that, as in the early days of IPv4 allocation, IPv6 is currently being allocated in a way that disadvantages developing nations. Simply arguing against this will not stop the ITU, and the RIR system may have to drop their objection to pre-allocating addresses to specific regions or countries. He noted, however, that it may be possible to do this within the RIR system, that AfriNIC is already looking at this, that this is a particularly African issue, and African issues have a lot of priority in the UN.

Patrik Fältström noted the ITU argument claims to be based on a "need"-based system as well.

Rob Blokzijl observed that if address reservation would solve the problem, the RIRs would happily create an artificial "shoe box" for African countries. But he argued that this would not stop the ITU, and that their interest is not in the Internet, but in their own survival as an organisation. It is therefore a matter of strategy to decide which of their arguments to invalidate, but we need to understand that it will not resolve the issue permanently. The only way finally is to convince their members that the ITU should keep not become a registry.

Nick disagreed that it will be possible to simply convince the African countries of the strength of our arguments. He agreed, though, that it is a good strategy to challenge specific arguments and move on, while recognising that the ITU will come up with something else.

Kurtis Lindqvist noted that this is politics, but that the politics will have technical impact, and that ICANN has not, in the past, been great at reaching out to the technical community. Nick agreed with the statement, but noted that he will be reporting back to ICANN from the RIR communities and that the upper management in ICANN is very keen to work with the RIR communities.

Jim Reid argued that some simplification has crept into the discussion of governance issues, such as various groups saying that Internet addresses are like telephone numbers. He also noted that many developing nations are not well equipped to deal with organisations like the RIRs or ICANN, as they are more used to dealing through treaties, and they may also be unwilling to engage with ICANN, which is seen as an American organisation. He noted that we need to tease out what people actually think would be better about an ITU model, as the alternatives might be worse than existing situation.

Nick noted that we need to understand the situation in the UN, work with those in the African communities who are already on our side, and better explain what the RIR system and how it operates. The ITU wants this as an alternative revenue source, so one of the first things we can do is point out to our members that they are getting addresses for free at the moment. We also need to be engaging the press far more. Patrik noted that the RIPE community has reacted to this argument to some degree by creating the Cooperation WG.

Roland Perry noted that he is working on these issues for the RIPE NCC, and that one of the big issues is trust – this is being raised in questions like "how much spam on do you get on your mobile phone?" People in government like things to be more stable and trustworthy, while the Internet is a bit more chaotic. The ITU is saying "we can make it safe for you". He noted that ICANN, the RIRs and ISOC are at the ITU event and cooperating.

Fahad AlShiwari noted that the argument about spam on mobiles is false - this is on the rise, and it has to do with cost – is the ITU claiming that it will implement a similar cost structure on the Internet? The message we need to push is that the Internet is where it is because of how it is, how it has been built, and the policies put in place by the Internet community themselves.

Jim Reid agreed that national economies depend on the Internet, which scares some people because there is no regulatory framework. Nick agreed, noting that Internet issues extend into national security, and saying that we like it as it is doesn't actually address that problem. Jim noted that the reality is that people from the RIRs and ICANN are going to have to have more input at the ITU and governments.

Steve Kent suggested that the cell phone community is actually a source of opposition to the existing system – they want the Internet to be more like the mobile community. They believe they know more about IPv6, though they ignore the fact that few people can run their own software and the costs inherent in the mobile telephony system.

Nick closed by saying that the IGF is probably the best option for putting our case forward. We need to handle it better, deal more with the media, and encourage all multi-stakeholder groups (including government) to speak up.

E. Open Mic Discussion
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Z. AOB

Paul Rendek noted that there were some NRO Continuing Cooperation brochures available for attendees.

The Chair declared the meeting closed at 3:32pm.