[NA-Discuss] On one aspect of the ALAC restatement of a NARALO contribution to public comments on the StratPlan for 2011-2014
ebw at abenaki.wabanaki.net
Wed Jan 19 15:54:46 UTC 2011
I write this note provide one view on an issue discussed in Monday's
NARALO monthly call.
As a policy making body, ICANN shares a general characteristic of all
policy making bodies engaged, for whatever reason, and where ever
located, in making policy that pertains to the behavior of the vast
collection of networks we call "The Internet".
Its policy making is pre-scientific.
Lots of policy is considered, some policy is made, but it is made
without data, at least data sufficient in general to discern if the
policy goal is implemented.
The ability to correlate effect and cause is quite limited.
Significant rhetorical resources are expended to maintain various
claims of causation or necessity, but in the peer reviewed scientific
literature on measurement and operations of networks, these claims are
I recommend reading kc claffy's two highly accessible works in this area:
ICANN's proposed registry agreement does not require new registry
operators to provide access to operational data. ICANN's current
registry agreements, all 17 of them, also lack provisions to require
the operator to provide access to operational data.
That's about 3/4ths of the DNS, higher if the root constellation
operated by CNNIC and its data is excluded, for which the only data
ICANN desires is contained in the registry operator monthly reports.
Additionally, ICANN has never requested recursive resolver operators
such as (US): SBC (AT&T), Comcast, RoadRunner, Verizon, AOL,
EarthLink, Charter, ... and (CA) Bell, Shaw, Rogers, Telus, Videotron,
... to provide data to researchers.
Further, ICANN has never requested browswer (stub resolver) vendors to
provide data to researchers.
A vast amount of data gathering is being conducted, but for user
profiling purposes, to sell shoes, but not to ensure that we know the
shape of things to come, and can distinguish policy successes from
Why is data necessary?
In October 1986 the NSFnet phase-I backbone dropped three orders of
magnitude from its capacity of 32 kbit/s to 40 bit/s. The cause was
not predicted. More is possible. We have no means to associate
probabilities to continued operation, or failure.
The proposal I made was simple and clear (I thought). Most of the data
is in North America, and subject to the particularly legal culture of
the United States and Canada.
To improve research access to data, and therefore the ability to
conduct network policy informed by data, rather than pre-existing
beliefs, which may as well be religious articles of faith, ICANN's
StratPlan for 2011-2014 could be changed to make reducing the legal
barriers to data a goal.
The ALAC comment on the StratPlan started with the text I suggested,
to the effect that most of the crucial data is "in North America", but
concluded that the plan should have increased regional diversity as a
Rephrased as an either/or, either a goal of a global decrease of legal
restraint on critical data, or a goal of regional replication of legal
restraints on critical data, are the choices. I proposed the former,
and as was mentioned in Monday's NARALO call, ALAC chose to substitute
I hope this makes clear one view of the issue discussed on Mondays'
call. I appreciate that there are other views.
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