[governance] Cyber Dialogue 2012 / Conference details now online ...

John Curran jcurran at arin.net
Sun Mar 11 15:19:43 EDT 2012

> http://www.cyberdialogue.ca/
> The aim of the annual Cyber Dialogue (presented by the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto) is to convene an influential mix of global leaders from government, civil society, academia and private enterprise to participate in a series of facilitated public plenary conversations and working groups around cyberspace security and governance.
> The second annual Cyber Dialogue forum takes place March 18-19 2012 in Toronto, Canada. Building upon last year's successful dialogue - Securing the Cyber Commons? - this year's Cyber Dialogue will address the question: "What is Stewardship in Cyberspace"
> Conference Agenda - http://www.cyberdialogue.ca/agenda/

Robert - 

  This appears to be an excellent topic and agenda for discussion, 
  and while I cannot attend, I do wish the participants a productive 
  dialogue on the issues surrounding Stewardship in Cyberspace.

> Conference Readings - http://www.cyberdialogue.ca/readings/
> ...
> Milton Mueller – Stewardship and the Management of Internet Protocol Addresses
> http://www.cyberdialogue.citizenlab.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/2012papers/CyberDialogue2012_Mueller.pdf

  It is unfortunate that this is the only paper regarding Stewardship and 
  the management of Internet Protocol addresses, as this is indeed a 
  very important discussion and deserves a thorough examination.

  Alas, Mr. Mueller's paper contains several significant omissions and 
  interesting assertions that only detract from serious consideration of
  this topic.  As I will not be in attendance, I will only briefly summarize
  them here for those interested in such matters:

  1) Mr. Mueller notes that the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) have
      served as the long-standard stewards of Internet number resources
      but identifies them only as "private-sector nonprofits".  In fact, this 
      omits one of the most important aspects of the RIRs with respect 
      to stewardship:  the fact that each RIR is a *membership-based*
      organizations which has as members those users of address space 
      (ISPs, hosting companies, universities, large and small businesses,
      non-profits and more) which are actually affected by the policies which
      govern Internet address space.  In each region, these members participate 
      in the governance election and in the policy development process (although
      the policy development process in each region is also open to any and all 
      interested parties, even those who are not members)

      Mr. Mueller's depiction of RIR's as consisting as nothing but leaders and 
      staff completely overlooks the importance of the registries as membership 
      organizations and thus also being inclusive by thousands of organizations 
      collectively electing RIR leadership.  Those who actually use and rely on 
      Internet address space have the opportunity elect leadership which focus 
      on the issues that matter most to their success, including changes to the
      system itself if such proves necessary.

      It would be great to have discussion of these practices and why they help
      protect stewardship in cyberspace, but the only significant work I am aware
      of in this area is David Souter's 2009 Council of Europe study into participation 
      practices for Internet governance entities - <http://www.coe.int/t/dgap/democracy/Activities/GGIS/Public_participation_internet_governance/Internet_Governance_Report_Souter_May09.pdf>
      Understanding the nature of these practices is essential to understanding how
      stewardship is instantiated into the present Internet governance institutions,
      including by the use of membership organizations in the RIR system.

  2) In the process of supporting his thesis, Mr. Mueller makes assertions which 
      are both unsupported and indeed intentionally overlooking facts in evidence.
      In particular, Mr. Mueller makes the following assertions:

      o  "The point is that the RIR/NRO regime is structurally incapable of making them. The entities in charge of the current regime of address governance — the RIRs themselves — have no interest in undermining their authority, revenues, and status by implementing such reforms."

      o  "The ASO of ICANN is nothing more than the NRO, and the NRO is nothing more than a combination of the staff and CEOs of the RIRs. And why would the RIRs initiate or institute reforms that would put themselves out of business?"

      While Milton notes that the actual need and merit behind any hypothetical
      'reforms' lies beyond the scope of his paper, his claims that proposals for
      changes to the RIR system cannot be considered within the system are 
      false.  In fact, there has already been significant changes to the Internet
      number registry system over time, including the formation and recognition
      LACNIC and AfriNIC (when community in those regions expressed the 
      desire and ability to support these operations with more closely aligned 
      operational and governance structures), as well as very act of inclusion 
      of the Internet number registry system into ICANN (as the ASO) during
      ICANN's formation.  These were significant structural changes to the nature 
      of the registry system, and yet were adopted, despite their repercussions in 
      terms of authority or status, precisely because they improved the governance 
      of Internet number resources.  Mr. Mueller is well aware of this history, but 
      fails to include any of it in his consideration of the ability of the RIR system
      to consider and adopt structural change.

      While the Regional Internet Registry system has already proven its ability
      to be good stewards and make significant changes to improve governance,
      it is recognized that some might want to engage in dialogue outside the current
      RIR system regarding structural change.  While I am convinced of the ability
      within the current system (as supported by the very large community of RIR 
      members who are indeed those affected by such changes) to provide fair 
      consideration of the merits of proposed "reforms", ARIN is already on record 
      as willing and able to participate in discussions of structural change in nearly
      any forum (including the ICANN or Internet Governance Forum)  where the 
      merits can be seriously considered - 

      "ARIN would welcome an opportunity to participate in any and all discussions
       regarding how to best evolve the Internet number registry system, and would 
       consider ICANN instrumental in leading such discussions in forums globally 
       as appropriate."

      Unfortunately, this fact also has been pointed out to Mr. Milton on several
      occasions (e.g. on ARIN's public policy mailing list <http://lists.arin.net/pipermail/arin-ppml/2011-April/021256.html>,
      on Milton's own blog <http://blog.internetgovernance.org/blog/_archives/2011/8/15/4877516.html>,
      during his moderated GIGANET panel <http://www.amiando.com/GigaNET-DC-2011.html?page=518905>)
      but apparently has been omitted as unreconcilable with his proposed conclusion:
      "But our capacity to enact reforms adapting to the new situation is paralyzed
       by the pre-existing situation, which puts all authority in the hands of regional 
       registries with a vested interest in maintaining the current structure."

      As noted earlier, the RIR's are organizations which are committed to serving 
      the needs of their members (those who actually use and rely on IP addresses)
      As such, ARIN remains willing and able to participate in any discussion regarding 
      the merits of any proposed "reforms" to structure of the Internet number registry
      system, and I hope that Mr. Mueller's paper doesn't preclude serious discussion 
      about the actual nature of stewardship today in the management of IP addresses.

Best wishes on your conference!

John Curran
President and CEO

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