Principles for Operation of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) Registries
RFC 8720

Document Type RFC - Informational (February 2020; No errata)
Obsoletes RFC 7500
Authors Russ Housley  , Olaf Kolkman 
Last updated 2020-02-27
Replaces draft-ietf-iasa2-rfc7500-bis
Stream IAB
Formats plain text html xml pdf htmlized bibtex
Stream IAB state Published RFC
Consensus Boilerplate Yes
RFC Editor Note (None)

Internet Architecture Board (IAB)                        R. Housley, Ed.
Request for Comments: 8720                               O. Kolkman, Ed.
Obsoletes: 7500                                            February 2020
Category: Informational                                                 
ISSN: 2070-1721

 Principles for Operation of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)


   This document provides principles for the operation of Internet
   Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) registries.

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
   published for informational purposes.

   This document is a product of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB)
   and represents information that the IAB has deemed valuable to
   provide for permanent record.  It represents the consensus of the
   Internet Architecture Board (IAB).  Documents approved for
   publication by the IAB are not candidates for any level of Internet
   Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 7841.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2020 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction
   2.  Principles for the Operation of IANA Registries
   3.  Discussion
     3.1.  Ensuring Uniqueness, Stability, and Predictability
     3.2.  Public
     3.3.  Open and Transparent
     3.4.  Accountable
   4.  Security Considerations
   5.  Changes since RFC 7500
   6.  Informative References
   IAB Members at the Time of Approval
   Authors' Addresses

1.  Introduction

   The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and its predecessors have
   traditionally separated the publication of protocol specifications in
   immutable Request for Comments (RFCs) and the registries containing
   protocol parameters.  Traditionally, the registries are maintained by
   a set of functions known collectively as the Internet Assigned
   Numbers Authority (IANA).  Dating back to the earliest days of the
   Internet, specification publication and the registry operations were
   tightly coupled: Jon Postel of the Information Sciences Institute
   (ISI) of the University of Southern California (USC) was responsible
   for both RFC publication and IANA registry operation.  This tight
   coupling had advantages, but it was never a requirement.  Indeed,
   today, the RFC Editor and IANA registry operation are provided by
   different entities.

   Internet registries are critical to the operation of the Internet
   because they provide a definitive record of the value and meaning of
   identifiers that protocols use when communicating with each other.
   Almost every Internet protocol makes use of registries in some form.
   At the time of writing, the IANA maintains more than two thousand
   protocol parameter registries.

   Internet registries hold protocol identifiers consisting of constants
   and other well-known values used by Internet protocols.  These values
   can be numbers, strings, addresses, and so on.  They are uniquely
   assigned for one particular purpose or use.  Identifiers can be
   maintained in a central list (such as a list of cryptographic
   algorithms), or they can be hierarchically allocated and assigned by
   separate entities at different points in the hierarchy (such as IP
   addresses and domain names).  To maximize trust and usefulness of the
   IANA registries, the principles in this document should be taken into
   consideration for centralized registries as well as hierarchically
   delegated registries.  In hierarchically delegated registries,
   entries nearest to top level have broad scope, but lower-level
   entries have narrow scope.  The Internet Architecture Board (IAB)
   will encourage support for these principles in all delegations of
   Internet identifiers.

   The registry system is built on trust and mutual cooperation.  The
   use of the registries is voluntary and is not enforced by mandates or
   certification policies.  While the use of registries is voluntary, it
   is noted that the success of the Internet creates enormous pressure
   to use Internet protocols and the identifier registries associated
   with them.

   This document provides principles for the operation of IANA
   registries, ensuring that protocol identifiers have consistent
   meanings and interpretations across all implementations and
   deployments, thus providing the necessary trust in the IANA
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