[governance] Interesting comments re changing face of "technical community"

Ian Peter ian.peter at ianpeter.com
Mon Jul 28 23:48:53 EDT 2008

Dana Blankenhorn's comments, reproduced in part below, are interesting in
the context of the ongoing role of the "technical community" in internet

While technical community has taken on different meanings here to include
internet administrative functions, the comments on how things have changed
as regards independence of engineers is worth examining. Is IETF becoming
threatened, dominated or unduly influenced by vendor considerations? 

Ian Peter
Ian Peter and Associates Pty Ltd
PO Box 10670 Adelaide St  Brisbane 4000
Tel (+614) 1966 7772 or (+612) 6687 0773
From: Dana Blankenhorn [dana at a-clue.com]
Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 4:39 PM
To: David Farber
Subject: Re: [IP] FCC Commissioner: "Engineers solve engineering problems"

When engineers are fully under the control of vendors they will do the
vendors' bidding.

The difference between the Internet of today and the Internet of 10
years ago is that most Internet engineers today are forced to work for
telcos or cable operators whose agenda is not the Internet, but the
maintenance of other revenue streams.

Mr. McDonnell might like to wish this away, but that's like pretending
that hiring at the Department of Justice was not politicized, or that
torture didn't take place at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. It's just pretend.

We need to all grow up and look the reality in the face. A monopolized
market is not going to maintain the independence of engineers from the
monopoly's quest for profit.

What the Internet needs most is a free marketplace in which the Internet
is the primary focus of most players, and the ultimate health of the
Internet is the primary goal.

We do not have that today. Pretending that we do, that Verizon or AT&T
or Comcast engineers are independent agents, is, I'm sorry to say, a lie.

So if engineers are to be in charge of the Internet, they need to be
engineers who are not under the thrall of the monopolists, and the
monopolists must promise to abide by the decisions of those engineers in
their network designs.

Otherwise the monopolists will have won.

Dana Blankenhorn 

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