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Current Topic: Philosophy

IANA needs to be dot-FIRED.
Topic: Philosophy 3:30 pm EDT, Jun  1, 2012

I think perhaps it's time for the Internet as a whole to just go ahead and declare the IANA to be dot-fired. They are no longer deserving of the mandate they were given.

Originally, the IANA just didn't actually have a whole lot of power. Mainly they were run by some really obsessive people who put a rather boring face on what would otherwise likely be viewed as "a pack of lunatic engineers making up solutions on the spot". Over time, their attention to detail and obsessive care for the future became more trusted and most people just followed their hyper-detailed suggestions as if they were the laws of physics and all was well with the Internet. If the IANA said it, you could usually bank on that it was well thought out and would be in everyone's benefit to follow it to the letter.
They defined which netblocks people should use for what, managed a whole bunch of boring adminstrative functions, declared what domain names made sense and which ones didn't, and just generally handled things from a 10,000 foot and 1,000 year perspective. This type of planning is needed for a large network, because an inflexible step in the wrong direction not only can but will eventually turn into a serious roadblock.

During the 90's, some shrewd politicians started leaning on them, because here were these guys who "controlled" this massively global communications network and no one (that the politicians cared about) had actually given them the right to do so. There was quite a bit of posturing and hand-waving in front of the media about how these people who were controlled by no one (or were entirely controlled by the US, or the DoD depending on who was doing the wailing) were in turn in "complete control of the internet" and oh my what chaos that could cause if they weren't brought under someone else's oversight immediately. Usually these claims were made by people who very transparently did want that type of control over the entire internet.

What the people even pretending to listen to the power-grabbing politicians failed to take into account was that the IANA's primary source of authority (far above and beyond any old grants lying around) was that we trusted their decisions. When all was said and done, IANA nearly always made fairly reasonable decisions that put the health of the Internet first and foremost (and when they weren't quite there you could at least tell they were trying). They would spend a long time worrying about something, and then eventually come back with some proposals, and we (the people of the Internet) gradually came to trust that they had the best interest of the Internet in mind and would never fall prey to temptations posed by petty local political arguments. So, rather obviously attempts to
wrest "control of the internet" away from IANA fell flat when it came time to talk to engineers who were actively adding to the Internet and generally trusted IA... [ Read More (0.7k in body) ]

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