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IAB correspondence with Geoff Huston on TAs, IANA, RIRs et al.., 4 December 2008

Document Type IAB Statement
Title IAB correspondence with Geoff Huston on TAs, IANA, RIRs et al.., 4 December 2008
Published 2008-12-04
Metadata last updated 2023-08-09
State Active
Send notices to (None)


Subject: Re: [IAB] TAs, IANA, RIRs et al..

Date: December 4, 2008 9:19:03 AM PST




Thank you for your note. Since this correspondence will be posted on the IAB correspondence pages I have attached it below to provide full context for the readers of the archive.

It is normal for IAB members, or any IETF participant for that matter, to do some research and collect feedback in the context of preparing a topic that is appearing on the IAB’s radar. I realize that Danny’s question came as a surprise to you, so allow me to explain how it came about.

First, during the IAB retreat the IAB members identified areas in which they would try to cultivate architectural work. One of the topics was Secure Routing, with Danny as ‘project lead’. The IAB has discussed the possible role of the IAB within this work a couple of times but has not yet come to a concrete action. An example of such discussion is minuted in

Second, during an IESG/IAB breakfast meeting at the IETF 73 meeting two weeks ago it became clear that there are a number of issues related to the SIDR work that go beyond the working group and the IETF, those mentioned above. During that meeting the routing ADs asked whether the IAB could give architectural guidance.

After that question, during the Monday breakfast meeting, I assigned Danny the action item to prepare the agenda for further discussion. It is a fairly normal modus operandi for an IAB member to go off, informally, and talk to those people who he or she thinks have expertise in the field. You are one of the persons with that expertise and you should interpret Danny’s note in that context.

Right now, the IAB has no particular agenda or actions, except to sort out whether there is any specific work the IAB can and should do. As an aside, if Danny’s work turns into an IAB project, and you would like your input or the role in which you made a contribution to go on record we would try to facilitate that.

— Olaf Kolkman

IAB Chair

On Nov 21, 2008, at 9:28 PM, Geoff Huston wrote:

[private communication between Geoff Huston and Danny McPherson redacted]

To the IAB:

I assume that this request is a piece of IAB correspondence that is part of the public record of the IAB conducting its business and that my response will also be part of the same record. In that vein I anticipate that the IAB’s request that has been sent to me, or at least that part of the note from Danny McPherson that refers to the IAB’s activities, as reproduced below, and this response, will be published in whole on the IAB’s web pages as part of the public record of the IAB’s business activities.

Accordingly, I would appreciate further information from the IAB in the first instance. Some years of experience of being a member of the IAB and serving as its Executive Director in the past have lead me to the impression that the IAB operates entirely in the open in all aspects of its business except those matters that relate to matters of undertaking the study leading to the response of an appeal and in assessing individuals as part of its role in various nominations processes. I understand that neither is the case here and therefore my default expectation is that this activity is part of IAB’s open processes. Accordingly I would’ve expected to see, or at least to find on the IAB’s web pages of the IAB’s record of correspondence, the complete collection of correspondence that has lead the IAB to make this request, and the identities of the “some (anonymous) folks” the the IAB’s note is referring to, and a description of the terms of reference of this inquiry being undertaken by the IAB. I do not believe that the IAB has taken up the process of operating secretive inquisitions in response to anonymous messages of the night of recent times, has it?

I am also unclear as to exactly why I have received this IAB request. Have I received this IAB request for information and documents in my role as an employee of APNIC? Is it because of my formal IETF responsibility as the Co-Chair of the SIDR Working Group? Is this because I am a former member of the IAB? Or a former Executive Secretary of the same body? Or am I the recipient of the IAB’s request simply by virtue of my being an individual participant of the IETF? Have others been the subject of similar requests for information from the IAB? Are these requests on the public record as well?

In almost any of these capacities I have some questions of the process being used here that I think raises some potentially disturbing questions about the way in which the IAB is conducting its business in this instance.

If this is a request addressed to me in my role as the Chief Scientist of APNIC then I would prefer that the note be addressed formally to the Director General of APNIC, so that APNIC can clearly understand the nature of the request and formulate a response what is consistent with APNIC’s corporate practices and due and proper disclosure of corporate information, as well as being consistent with the roles and responsibilities of APNIC in terms of any formal interaction with the IAB.

If this is addressed to me as the co-chair of the SIDR WG then I would have expected this to have the knowledge and concurrence of the IESG and in particular the knowledge of the Routing Area Directors, and preferably the IESG as a whole, and these parties to be cc’ed on the IAB’s request to me as a demonstration that these parties re aware of this IAB request. I would naturally publish the IAB’s request to the WG on the SIDR mailer and invite WG responses. Is this the nature of your request? I must note that if this is the case that I also find it entirely surprising that the IAB has chosen to interfere with the operation of a WG in this manner, particularly given that the SIDR WG has not completed its review of any WG documents at all at this stage and passed no documents to the IESG with requests for publication. The conventional response to such expressions of interest from individual members of the IAB in the past in WG activities has been “please participate _AS INDIVIDUALS_ in the activity of the WG. What concerns me greatly here is that by choosing this path the IAB has managed to head down a path that compromises its ability in the future to undertake any meaningful role in the IETF appeals process relating to the assessment of the conduct of this working group should it be formally required to do so. I view this as a matter of grave concern, and I would’ve anticipated a similar level of concern from the IESG and the Routing Area Directors given the seriousness in which we need to respect the integrity of the IETF appeals process and the independence and integrity of those bodies who have formal roles in any such appeal.

In any case I must confess to some personal confusion as why this request would be made of a WG co-chair given that all the WG mail, presentations at WG meetings, minutes of those meetings, jabber logs of those meetings and audio recordings of those meetings are already published. If the question from the IAB is one that could be rephrased as saying “has the SIDR WG conducted any part of its formal business in private and reached conclusions and made decisions in a manner that is inconsistent in any way with the IETF Standards Process then as far as I am aware the answer is a clear and emphatic “no”, but at the same time I am still confused as to why such a question is being made by the IAB in the absence of any notification of an appeal relating to the actions of the IESG in relation to actions of the co-chairs of the SIDR WG and the calls of WG consensus made in relation to SIDR WG activities.

I conclude that I have really no clear picture of the context of this IAB request.

So, in accordance with the principles of the open and transparent operation of the IAB, could the IAB please make public the request that was made of the IAB, the deliberations of the IAB that have lead to its decision to initiate this inquiry, the reasoning that has lead the IAB to conclude that this inquiry does not represent undue interference in the operation of a working group, and the reasons why the IAB is of the view that this inquiry does not compromise the IAB’s formal role in the IETF appeals process?

My request of the IAB is not made lightly, nor is it made anonymously. I make it based on a clear understanding that the IAB does operate openly and that this request is part of the public record of the IAB’s undertaking of its activities.

In all of my professional capacities I have great respect for, and pay heed to, IAB statements and recommendations, as do many many others in this community and in the broader context of this industry to my knowledge. But I note that this respect for the IAB has been earned rather than simply bestowed, and it has been based in no small part upon the high expectations of the integrity and openness of the processes used by the IAB, the care and attention the IAB pays to the IETF process as a whole, the care and attention paid by the IAB to its own charter and its formal role in acting as the point of coordination for the IETF’s external liaisons. I for one have no desire to see this respect for the IAB and its considered advice diluted by inattention to due process and dilution of a clear and unambiguous delineation between the necessarily formal and open manner in which the IAB conduct’s its business and the personal and informal interactions that occur between us all as individual participants in the IETF’s activities.

Naturally I would appreciate acknowledgement from the IAB of the receipt of this note and the outcome of the IAB’s consideration of my request to the IAB contained in this response.

As I am entirely unclear as to the capacity in which I have received this IAB request, I an entirely unclear as to the capacity in which I have provided this response to the IAB other than as:

Geoff Huston

Longstanding IETF Participant

On 22/11/2008, at 3:52 AM, Danny McPherson wrote:



The IAB has been asked by some folks to make a statement or recommendation regarding TAs, RPKI, IANA, the RIRs, etc… I’m in the process of pulling some data together to help with making an informed decision and wanted to see if you’d mind sharing your thoughts on the topic, either email, pointers, slides, whatever you think would be useful.

Thanks in advance!