17 December 2014
The IAB provided comments to the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) on their report “The mapping of international Internet public policy issues.”
The IAB comments are available below.
The IAB thanks the secretariat for the invitation to comment on the mapping exercise recently performed. There are a small number of text changes which we believe may better capture the role of the IAB and the nature of IETF standards, and we put them forward below for your consideration.
First, in the first two paragraphs of the section “Status of governance mechanisms for technical standards”, we suggest the following:
The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) oversees the technical and engineering development of the Internet. Mostany Internet technical standards are set by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in the form of Request for Comments (RFC). These are voluntary standards developed in working groups open to all interested parties. Additional work is done in the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF), which is overseen by the Internet Architecture Board (IAB). In addition to this oversight, the IAB handles external liaison relationships for the IETF and IRTF, and has certain additional oversight responsibilities.
Both tThe IAB, the IRTF, and the IETF have their institutional home within the Internet Society (ISOC).
The IETF defines an Internet standard as ‘a specification that is stable and well understood, is technically competent, has multiple, independent, and interoperable implementations with substantial operational experience, enjoys significant public support, and is recognisably useful in some or all parts of the Internet.’ The IETF makes decisions through an open and consensus based process which is often described as ‘rough consensus and running code’; its standards describe how to interoperate, rather than describing regulatory requirements.
In the section “Possible gaps in dealing with technical standards”, we also suggest:
A possible policy gap relates to insufficient coverage of non technical aspects (e.g. human rights, competition policy, and security) in the process of developing technical standards.
There appears to be a gap as far as participation in the development of standards is concerned. Even though participation is open to all stakeholders, some submissions to the WGEC/correspondence group have noted the need for more involvement from the part of governments and for example from consumer representatives in the development of technical standards. Policy gaps related to insufficient coverage of non technical implications of these standards (e.g. human rights, competition, policy, and security) may thereby arise.
As a point outside the document text, we note that IETF, the IAB, and the Internet Society encourage broad participation in the development of technical standards and that the consideration of the implications of those standards can and does include consideration of privacy, security, and those human rights issues of which the relevant working groups are aware.
We thank the secretariat once again for the opportunity to comment,
on behalf of the IAB,