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RIPE 84 RIPE Community Plenary Minutes

Thursday, 19 May, 16:00-17:30 (UTC+2)
Chairs: Mirjam Kühne, Niall O’Reilly
Scribe: Fergal Cunningham
Status: Final

RIPE Chair Mirjam Kühne started the session by introducing the RIPE Vice-Chair, Niall O'Reilly, and thanking the RIPE NCC support staff. She encouraged people to participate in the Programme Committee elections that were taking place and said that people should really consider joining the committee, which does great work to put together the RIPE Meeting Plenary programme. 

1. RIPE Chair Team Update

Mirjam Kühne, Niall O'Reilly

A lot of outreach to other communities is happening, especially with NRENs and students, and the fact events are taking place means the RIPE Chair Team can better connect with these communities and groups.

There has also been progress made on the definition and guidelines for RIPE Task Forces. And there is a deadline of May 27 to contribute feedback on the revised Policy Development Process (PDP).

The RIPE Database Requirements Task Force is now closed after publishing a list of recommendations. These won’t necessarily all be implemented, but discussion can now take place in the relevant working groups.

2. RIPE NCC Community Update

Hisham Ibrahim, RIPE NCC 

Hisham explained what has been happening since he became Chief Community Officer at the RIPE NCC ten months ago. He talked about his priorities for Community and Engagement in the service region and how the RIPE NCC will try to better understand the needs of members. Hisham also talked about how these priorities are connected very closely to the strategic objectives and goals published last year in the RIPE NCC Strategy 2022-2026. He further drilled down into the RIPE NCC Activity Plan to give an understanding of how the Community and Engagement activities are structured and budgeted for.

Hisham talked about how the RIPE NCC is fostering environments for dialogues and he noted the work of the Events team in creating this RIPE 84 Meeting in incredibly difficult circumstances.

One important topic he covered was the future of the ENOG community. He noted that the community itself would decide its own future and he outlined how the RIPE NCC is continuing to use the budget for ENOG to carry out a range of initiatives in the region.

RIPE Labs is a great source of engaging content and research for the community and its going from strength to strength. Hisham noted how it recently started doing podcasts and these have been very well received. More content is being recorded at RIPE 84 and he said that plenty more was planned here in the coming months.

Hisham also explained what was going on with Learning and Development, and some key things here are the return to face-to-face training and the developments around RIPE NCC Certified Professionals. He explained how this is really taking off with governments, who are really driving their staff to become educated on topics like IPv6. And, finally, he explained the more specific work the RIPE NCC is doing with governments in a wide range of forums.

Alexander Isavnin, community member, asked if the requests from Ukraine for the RIPE NCC to revoke IP addresses was a failure of engagement.

 Hisham said it wasn’t, and there were clearly political reasons for doing this. He also outlined a range of activities the RIPE NCC has taken to support the Internet community in Ukraine.

Alexander Isavnin, ENOG PC member, said the ENOG request to cancel the planned Moscow meeting came from someone in a personal capacity.

Hisham replied that even if no request was made, in an official or personal capacity, then the RIPE NCC would have arrived at the same conclusion, which was to postpone the meeting scheduled to take place in Moscow in June.

3. Update from the NRO

Hans Petter Holen

Hans Petter explained what the Number Resource Organization was before talking about the outcomes of the recent meeting of the NRO EC, which met for the first time in person since the covid pandemic started. He outlined the three key strategic goals that the NRO EC arrived at:

  1. Provide a robust, coordinated secure RPKI service
  2. Ensure the cybersecurity of the RIRs
  3. Proactively engage governments as critical stakeholders in the success of the Internet Number Registry System

Hans Petter noted that programme managers would be engaged to lead in each of the three areas and a steering committee of the NRO EC would be set up to review the work here.

Hans Petter gave an overview of the NRO’s finances, including the contribution made by each RIR to the funding of the NRO. He also noted the contribution of $250,000 that was approved by the NRO as a contribution to AFRINIC for legal representation expenses in 2021.

Finally, Hans Petter informed attendees that Christian Kaufmann, who is currently the Chairman of the RIPE NCC Executive Board, had been appointed to Seat 10 of the ICANN Board of Directors and he will begin a three-year term in September 2022.

4. Community Dialogue with Göran Marby, CEO of ICANN

Göran Marby, CEO of ICANN, started his dialogue by saying he wanted to talk about the common challenges faced by ICANN and the RIPE community, and how they could work together to solve them.

He presented the community with a statement that governments and businesses he talked to often disagreed with – that the Internet is in quite good shape. He made clear he was talking about protocols, identifiers, standards, etc. rather than the applications and platforms sitting on top of that. He said that ICANN and the RIPE community seemed to be working rather well, and he pointed to some recent achievements of the technical community in dealing with enormous amounts of traffic, and he said the Internet has been working well for 45 years now, so he doesn’t agree with the negative sentiments about the Internet.

He opened the dialogue with the community by saying that ICANN and RIPE had very different roles to play in the Internet ecosystem but the respect for RIPE from ICANN and others is huge, so he wanted to stress that before asking for comment on his statement that the Internet is actually in good shape.

Jim Reid, community member and DNS guy, agreed that the Internet was doing well in terms of the plumbing, but another dimension is that a small number of actors are dominating sectors, and this might not be a good thing.

Göran said he set the definition of what the Internet is so that people didn’t confuse the Internet with the platforms that run on it. He said a lot of platforms have appeared and disappeared over the years, so while a few platforms provide services to a lot of users, there is nothing to stop that from changing. He said lots of platforms have disappeared because good ideas thrive and bad ideas don’t. He noted that there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding in this area and he held up DNS4EU as an example of where there is confusion. He said this is common with legislators and also business, and it was worth trying to find a good way to explain to them how this Internet works, and that would take involvement from RIPE, ICANN/IANA and the IETF.

Alexander Isavnin, Free Moscow University, asked which of the RIPE NCC’s or ICANN’s methods for interaction with their communities did he consider to be better.

Göran said he doesn’t have a good answer to this, although ICANN and the RIPE NCC have very different models and both seem to work. 

Julf Helsingius, Cooperation Working Group Co-chair, agreed that a lot of governments don’t seem to think that the Internet is doing well, and he said that they and other organisations seem to come up with bad ideas faster than the Internet community can kill them. He asked how ICANN and RIPE can deal with this.

Göran said it is normal that governments will seek to legislate on something as important for societies as the Internet, and it was up to passionate people with knowledge of how the Internet works to explain this to them.

Carsten Schiefner, Internet citizen, said he also had the feeling that it’s getting worse with governments, who he thought were not just trying to fix real problems but also get engaged in issues that were not yet problems. He asked how the various communities can have the right level of influence in Brussels with the EU Commission and the EU countries. 

Göran bemoaned the fact the EU don’t make their proposals through the multistakeholder model, such as through the GAC at ICANN. But he noted that the communities got the EU Commission to change legislation, so they do listen to us, and that is a unique situation. He said this led him to feel a bit more positive about the situation.

Robert Carolina, Internet Systems Consortium, asked Göran what he saw as the biggest threat to the good functioning of the Internet and how that threat might be mitigated.

Göran mentioned that ICANN had conducted some studies in to areas such as attacks on the DNS and on the wider ecosystem. He said the main issue was that although there were good relations between for instance ICANN and RIPE, there needs to be better interconnection to address issues like this.

5. Rob Blokzijl Award

Falk von Bornstaedt and Sander Steffann of the Rob Blokzijl Award Committee had the honour of presenting the award to this year’s recipient. They thanked Carsten Schiefner

and Eileen Gallagher for the work they carried out this year on behalf of the award committee. 

Falk explained that the award goes to a person who the committee feels has carried the spirit of Rob Blokzijl through in their work and who, importantly, has supported others in the community to carry out good work.

Sander announced to rapturous applause that the winner of the award was Gert Döring, who has been a part of the RIPE community since 1996 and who has gone to enormous efforts through his work to develop the RIPE community and to push the deployment of IPv6 among many other achievements.

Gert accepted the award and announced that part of his prize would be used to contribute to funding a slicer that would support network operators in Ukraine. He said that he has spent almost half his life as part of the RIPE community, which is his tribe and his family.

Mirjam congratulated Gert and closed the session by thanking all for participating and for contributing to some excellent discussions for the RIPE community.