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Minutes IETF117: DINRG

Meeting Minutes Decentralization of the Internet Research Group (dinrg) RG
Title Minutes IETF117: DINRG
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Last updated 2023-08-21


DINRG — IETF117 San Francisco

13:00 25/07/2023 — Continental 6
Co-chairs: Lixia Zhang, Dirk Kutcher

Note takers: Ryo Yanagida, A.J. Stein, Eve Schooler

1. Intro

IAB approved the DIN RG new charter. Now we got many tasks to carry out.

We are currently considering most effective publication venues of DIN
RG's outcome. Differnet from WGs whose outcome largely documented in
working group Internet-Drafts and RFCs, our RG is likely producing many
informational writeups of various views and positions for discussions.
Please stay tuned for some proposals on this later.

The report for 2021 Workshop on Internet Centralization has been
published in July 2023 issue of ACM SIGCOMM CCR

2. "Let The Platforms Burn: Bringing Back the Good Fire of the Old Internet" — Cory Doctorow

[No slides]


Notes from Cory's talk

Various stages of platforms: targeting first the users, then business
customers, then a withdrawal of surpluses in the interest of
Technical, economic, and behavioral facets lock in users - hard to
E.g., Facebook as an example of this evolution. The more people are
reliant on facebook, the more it keeps users (and connections to users)
When the platform becomes almost useless and useless is a fine line. We
have transitioned from early-stage to late-stage enshittification.

Inescapable late-stage interoperability is part of this evolution, e.g.,
creation of interoperable OS, interoperable printer cartridges, etc.
Reagan era anti-trust has pivoted toward the belief that mergers are now
a good thing, e.g., Google, Cisco. I.e., buy up companies with good
When there are only a few companies it is easier to get favorable
regulatory decisions (that work against new entrants into a market).
Peter Thiel is against "wasteful competition.
Tech is now as concentrated as Media was.
This is why it is hard to pass security laws (in a place like the US),
employee protections in an industry that contains a small number of
What laws are passed are not regarding security, but increasing
protections around intellectual property ("I.P.") to further support
platform entrenchment. What was once a temporary benefit regarding IP
defense will potentially become a permanent defense for platforms'
corporate entities.
Monopolization allows forestalling good policies that prohibit
Analogy of wild fires, which to avoid would entail controlled burns.
Thus it is OK for platforms to collapse (e.g., full of dead wood), and
ease their collapse, and transition to another regime.
This prevents inter-operators.

Cory ended the talk with three Recommendations:
1) Restore the end to end principle, require platforms to connect
willing senders with willing receivers.
2) Support the Right to Exit. Builds on existing data protection laws
and allows re-establishment on other platforms. Content stakes lower and
easier (will incent the right behaviors by tech companies).
3) tificationEnshit is not pre-ordained. "Every pirate wants to be an
admiral." Platforms cannot ask for ex-post-facto regulation preventing
data collection by other parties from their platforms after they had
done the same without regulation and built their own platform.
We need to keep up with anti-trust laws. Unwind historic mergers
(overdue for 40 years).


Geoff Houston: Is the real issue that they (platforms) are making a
remarkable griphold, buying each other, but they are buying "us"? Is the
primary concern the size of these platforms with this method or the
method itself only?
Cory: Size promotes distortions, certainly.
E.g., Google search, Airline call-center highjacking.
Scale is problem for 2 reasons. Even if a hard core Libertarian,
contract enforcement function dominates. When the referee is less
powerful than the team - allows teams to cheat.
Secondly, even if we stipulate that companies are well run by people who
is smart, they all make errors, and at that scale (Facebook) the
mistakes are much more consequential.
Too big to scale, too big to fail.

Martin Duke: Transport area directorate and Google. Legal and
legislative remedies. These seem above the pay grade of a lot of people
here. Who is willing to implement the interoperability standards? If
Google or Apple not going to implement, then why do it? Re-forces the
dynamic of what you've introduced. What can we as a technical community
can do (without being fired!).
Cory: Book coming out in September "How to seize the means of
computation". Firms preferences. Companies want walled gardens, or have
APIs with advantages (vs disadvantages) to them. What they really seek
(over competitive interoperability) is to have legal remedies for those
who reverse engineer to competitively enter the market. There is an
attacker advantage (bots, scrapping). Want lawyers to make an example to
see what happens (so attackers do not even try). Mandates lead to
settlements that lead to new interoperability. E.g., Lincoln demanded
interoperability of guns and bullets during the Civil War in the US.
When have mandate and permission for inter-operators, if restore that
power, then couple with a mandate, avoids unquantifiable risk.
What individual technologists can do? Milton Friedman (U. Chicago
economist), how to convince people to give up things they love? We have
an opportunity, when there are crises, to not just keep doing the same
things we have always done.

3. "Ecosystem Evolution and Digital Infrastructure Policy Challenges: Insights & Reflections from an Economics Perspective" " — Volker Stocker (TU Berlin) & William Lehr (MIT CSAIL)

Volker Stocker

Both of us are economists.
Digital and non-digital worlds are converging and evolving.
Highlight issues needing attention.
Shift to the edge and shift to the localization of traffic.
Ownership and management has shifted in the Internet ecosystem:
sometimes hyper giant content providers with proprietary networks,
sometimes edge clouds or roving resources.
What's the consequence of this? Value chain constellations are more
complex, diverse & dynamic. Thus changing ownership and governance
structures, industry structures as well as competititve and innovational

Ecosystem Evolution Reflections:

  1. Essential digital infrastructure is about more than connectiivty,
    not just connectivities like IPX and ISPs.
  2. Majority of the requisite investmenet will be private! E.g., access
    ISPs, CAPs, CDNs, upstream ISPs, and end-users are all investing.
  3. More and new forms of resource sharing will be needed. More network
    sharing agreements: active & passive sharing arrangements and
    optimal models are evolving.

William Lehr

The point that is clear to policy folks and economists: the legacy
Internet is not the Internet of today, and the economics of yesterday
are not those of today.
How to restore meaningful competition?

Challenges and Paths Forward:

  1. multidisciplinary Engagement & Feedback
  2. Assymetric Info & Measurements: Metrics and data (and their
  3. Capacity to Detect and Act


Tobias: You are anticipating investment from private sector.
Wondering how to expect the private sector to profit from the
infrastructure needed by society?
William: Government built/subsidized most infrastructure in most
places. Small investment needed initially. Some say significant
investment should come from the utilities. Shouldn't dismiss. But likely
will need a strong argument on how you get there. Either we say there is
a lot of money coming from public sector (through things like taxes) or
figure out a way to manage private actors. Thus policy issues are
Volker: please share your paper William. [See appendix 1]

Colin: Policy has not improved. i.e. Mismatch of speed of innovation
and speed of regulation (which is really hard at the national and
internationl levels).
William: Best hope is standards and architectures that provides
options. How do you get folks to adopt and deploy good technology. Entry
should be feasible. Security reasons. A lot of room for open source.

4. "Minimal Global Broadcast (MGB)" — Christian Tschudin

Decentralized web camp, along with Tim berners-Lee, along with a lot of
young people. They appreciated the atmosphere that things are
crumbling/burning, yet they still play the same games, look-at-me
Where do you go when Twitter/Facebook is burning? How ill others know
where you went? Like Mastadon.

Classic rendezvous being the biggest problem in networking.
How to coordinate, intrinsically?

A suggestion to fill the gap and goal of MGB: solve the rendezvous
problem without platforms (and came to this epiphany by talking to the
decentralized web folks)

[shortwave antennae]

Came up with 200 bytes of novelty per month, how to use them?
Isn't global broadcastillusionary?


  • rendezvous problem creates a graidnet in favor of central platforms
  • Don't fight this with an Uber platform, or a central lighthouse
  • Instead: each citizen allowed to operate their own lighthouse,
    remain visible

MGB is an indispensable seed for a decentral Internet, then not at mercy
of others doing the wrong things


Eric Osterweil: for MGB don't you need a platform?
Christian: Super simple and filter on what you are interested in

Dirk: How can you trust these messages?
Christian: We already have some external trust root that can be

Lixia: Identity is a key issue here. Today, end users get their
identifiers from big platform providers. Your design assumes everyone
has a name and certificate: how do you bind one's name to his
certificate? What would be the namespace for your users?
Christian: Can transfer identity information from grassroots up, IF
we know each other. The story has to be different if talking about
banking. Need different levels of trust. Here, we look at end-user

Ben Goering: How would you enforce the quota?
Christian: If you think about a device, if make a cheap device to
make that possible, not likely to be hacked, thus not afraid of that
problem really.

David Oran via Zulip (read out by Dirk): what do you think about the
web of trust hasn't been successful in the past?
Christian: you do a lot of cleaning of data, an advantage of
centralized platforms, manual stuff. Has become much easier to establish
trust: a phone number, a QR code.

5. Conclusion/Buffer


1. Papers from Willian Lehr

From Zulip (14:21):

William Lehr: Since sharing papers... we have bunch we would love
feedback on... see our slides and

William Lehr: Lehr, W. (2023), “Getting to the Broadband Future
Efficiently with BEAD funding,” white paper prepared with support from
WISPA, January 2023, available at
Lehr, W. (2022), “5G and AI Convergence, and the Challenge of Regulating
Smart Contracts,” in Europe’s Future Connected: Policies and Challenges
for 5G and 6G Networks, edited by E. Bohlin and F. Cappelletti, European
Liberal Forum (ELF), pages 72-80, available at

Lehr, W. and V. Stocker (2023), "Next-generation Networks: Necessity of
Edge Sharing," forthcoming Frontiers in Computer Science: Networks and
Communications, Summer 2023
Oughton, E., W. Lehr, K. Katsaros, I. Selinis, D. Bubley, and J. Kusuma
(2021), "Revisiting Wireless Internet Connectivity: 5G vs. Wi-Fi 6,"
Telecommunications Policy, 45 (2021) 102127, available at
Stocker, V. and W. Lehr (2022), “Regulatory Policy for Broadband: A
Response to the ‘ETNO Report’s’ Proposal for Intervention in Europe’s
Internet Ecosystem,” white paper, available at
Stocker, V., Smaragdakis, G., and Lehr, W. (2020). The state of network
neutrality regulation. SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. 50, 1 (January
2020), 45–59.
Work in progress
Frias, Z., Mendo, L., Lehr, W. and Stocker, V. (2023), "Measuring
NextGen Mobile Broadband: Challenges and Research Agenda for
Policymaking", 32nd European International Telecommunications Society
Conference (EuroITS2023), June 19-20, Madrid, Spain.
Lehr, W., D. Sicker, D. Raychaudhuri, V. Singh (2023), “Edge Computing:
digital infrastructure beyond broadband connectivity,” TPRC51: Annual
Research Conference on Communications, Information and Internet Policy,
September 22-23, 2023, American University, Washington DC
Stocker, V. Bauer, J., and Pourdamghani, A. (2023). "Innovation Dynamics
in the Internet Ecosystem & Digital Economy Policy”,, 32nd European
International Telecommunications Society Conference (EuroITS2023), June
19-20, Madrid, Spain.