[At-Large] Depository (was Re: Privacy and domain abuse vs the IP constituency)

Karl Auerbach karl at cavebear.com
Sun May 8 16:50:45 UTC 2011

On 05/08/2011 08:23 AM, Eric Brunner-Williams wrote:

> My view, having followed this on the ARIN-PPML list from its
> inception, is that the substance of this "proposal" is not in the
> public interest...

I thought that the internet was a place that encouraged innovation and 

Instead we seem to be turning the internet into a regulatory paradise 
where nothing is to permitted except that which offends no-one, or at 
least not any of the "stakeholders".

I've long held to the following as a principle to use when balancing 
"public interest" against freedom to innovate:

First Law of the Internet

+ Every person shall be free to use the Internet in any way
   that is privately beneficial without being publicly

    - The burden of demonstrating public detriment shall
      be on those who wish to prevent the private use.

        - Such a demonstration shall require clear and
          convincing evidence of public detriment.

    - The public detriment must be of such degree and extent
      as to justify the suppression of the private activity.

In the case of new RIRs history and use have created a rather muddy 

The RIRs were established as a technical mechanism to facilitate 
allocation of IP addresses in nicely aggregated blocks.

In the pursuit of better aggregation technically there ought to have 
been one RIR and one RIR only.  However, politics and the recognition 
that in the internet of that era that there were three primary lumps of 
internet connectivity - with far lesser connections between the lumps - 
caused rise of ARIN, RIPE, APNIC, each to cover one of those lumps.

In my last conversation with Jon Postel we discussed this and he 
recognized and acknowledged that as connectivity changed that there 
could very well arise a situation in which it would be useful to 
aggregate two or more RIRs - in other words the death of a RIR was quite 
in keeping with the policy of promoting IP address block aggregation.

Instead of a RIR dying, Jon died, and ICANN got into the game.  And the 
RIRs, realizing that ICANN made a nice shield against the inquiring eyes 
of governments - bought into the game (and "bought" is the accurate word 
- during my term on the ICANN bouard the RIRs prevented ICANN insolvency 
by gifting about $667,000 to ICANN.)

For no technical reason, but for every political reason, ICANN - or 
ICANN wagging the IANA function - created two more RIRs.

By abandoning the technical rationale for RIRs ICANN created a situation 
in which there is a vacuum of principled reason - except the political 
expediency and revenue generation - to determine whether to deny or 
allow a proposal for a new RIR.

If, as some have argued, that IP address aggregation is no longer an 
issue (an argument with which I do not agree) then there would be no 
reason not to have an open ended number of RIRs.

If IP address aggregation matters then it would make sense to have fewer 
rather than more RIRs - and that argument would apply as well to 
existing RIRs which ought then to have to justify the technical validity 
of their continued existence.

When I was at Cisco the conventional wisdom was that the internet 
routing system would go boom when we hit 200,000 prefixes.  We are now 
nearly double that number and packet routing and route information is 
still chugging along.  That's good, because the RIR system does seem to 
be losing its ability to coerce address block aggregation.


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