IANA Changes

Two weeks ago there was an announcement from the US government regarding their role in managing IANA. As we knew this might be coming, Russ and I (along with IESG and IAB) had worked with various Internet technical organisations to prepare a statement as well, essentially saying that we intend to build on the existing organizations and their roles. We noted that the Internet technical community is strong enough take on the stewardship function as it transitions from the US Government, while maintaining our current roles.

I wanted to provide some further updates, with several of us having visited ICANN’s 49th meeting, which was held last week in Singapore. The US government announcement designated ICANN as the facilitator of the process to propose the changes that might be necessary. Not the decider, but the one that starts the process and makes sure that the rest of the Internet community and organisations are engaged in this discussion. This process was started last week, and indeed, it was the biggest discussion topic of the week. We at the IETF need to participate in discussions around IANA and its possible evolution as well, particularly when it comes to the part that we are in charge of, i.e., the protocol parameters.

With this in mind, I wanted to point out a few things that are going on:

  • The IAB has lead a discussion about general principles on how we view IANA. The latest update of the principles was posted at the internetgovtech list. There are also some initial thoughts and discussions on what the changes in the role of US government might mean in practice, also at the same list. These discussions will continue – please contribute!
  • At ICANN 49, a lot has been said about this topic. For instance, the transcript from the opening session on this topic is here. And I found this blog article useful to understand the various things that US government officials have said about the topic. Among other things, they emphasise the role of the “customers” of IANA (such as IETF in the case of protocol parameters.) Also, both Russ and I spoke about our views from an IETF perspective. What I said is here.
  • There is an ongoing discussion about how the IANA changes process itself is designed. The input gathered during ICANN’s meeting will be summarised by 7th of April, but the discussion will continue. Once a process is in place, we can talk more about the actual substance.

In the IETF system, the IAB is the entity responsible for the IANA relationship. The IAB is supported by the IANA program.

Jari Arkko, IETF Chair