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[I-coordination] What is 1net to me?

Phillip Hallam-Baker hallam at
Fri Dec 6 03:55:00 CET 2013

On Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 5:09 AM, Roland Perry <
roland at> wrote:

> In message
> <CAMm+LwiqNZ7cNSsXhtSXL2Y0meQPSuS4paRiMbVJj1TA=ieRrw at>, at
> 16:28:42 on Wed, 4 Dec 2013, Phillip Hallam-Baker <hallam at>
> writes
> >> > The IETF and IAB Chairs of course act as leaders, but in general the
> >> >IETF doesn't elect people to speak for it.
> >>
> >> So why did they allow their names to be attached to a statement of this
> >> kind with attributions such as "Chair IAB|IETF"?
> >>
> >> At the very least it will be confusing to people who are not extremely
> >> well versed in IETF politics (which is of course "almost everyone").
> >>
> >> They will undoubtedly assume that their signature is backed by the
> >> organisations they chair, just as we assume that what the RIR and ISOC
> >> chiefs said was representing their organisations' view, and not just a
> >> personal opinion.
> >
> >The constraints Andrew raises are hardly unique to the IETF they apply
> >equally to the President of the United States.
> >
> >Even though the POTUS is elected to speak for the US in treaty
> >negotiations, any treaty must be ratified by the US Senate before it is
> >binding.
> >
> >It is generally understood that the only parties that can make such
> >commitments unilaterally are either essentially undemocratic or
> >inconsequential.
> I disagree. The leaders of organisations can, and do, make serious
> commitments which they have previously cleared with whatever/whoever
> comprises the decision-making process back at the ranch (which may of
> course be democratic, although democracy is somewhat over-rated at
> times). It's called "having a mandate".

And nobody in any of the ISOC/IETF/IAB/ICANN etc. structures has such a
mandate. In fact the selection procedures are explicitly designed to stop
that occurring. Engineers don't like accountability so they designed a
selection process to ensure there could not be any.

Which is something I have complained about in the IETF for years.

But the general principle remains, William Haig or John Kerry has a mandate
to negotiate but not decision making authority. It always irritates me when
people speak of what 'Iran' or 'China' want as if there was absolute
uniformity in political views.

The UK process is quite simple, Haig goes off to negotiate some treaty and
then get the support of the government. If the government does not agree
with what he agreed then Haig is sacked. Otherwise the government attempts
to get the support of Parliament and if it does not there is a motion of no
confidence and the government falls.

That does not seem terribly different from the Montevideo process. Russ and
Jari negotiated the communique and then there was a discussion in IETF
land. Nobody seemed particularly upset at what was done in their name.

You seem to think that there should be some sort of definitive procedure.
This is rather odd when the IETF is not really in control of anything.

Nobody really knows how to change the Internet or why it suddenly decides
to change. We invented blogs at CERN back in 1994 but they only really
started to become a medium in 2000. The idea of social media was raised at
the first Web conference, people tried various stuff repeatedly and then
ten years later someone tries almost the same thing and suddenly we have

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