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Internet Governance 4 November 2014

Rough Guide to IETF 91: The IANA Transition Process

By Konstantinos KomaitisFormer Senior Director, Policy Strategy and Development

Paving the way toward an IANA transition process – the IETF “Draft Response to the Internet Coordination Group Request for Proposals on IANA” is in the WG Last Call.

In March 2014, the U.S. National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intent to transition oversight of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions. In that announcement, NTIA asked the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to convene and facilitate a process to deliver a proposal for transition. As part of that process, the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) was formed.

The ICG’s mission is to coordinate the development of a proposal among the “operational” communities affected by the IANA functions. The IANA functions are divided into three main categories: domain names, number resources, and other protocol parameters. The “operational” community for the protocol parameters function is the IETF community.

To develop an IETF consensus response to be submitted to the ICG and that describes the expected interaction between the IETF and the operator of IETF protocol parameters registries, IETF chartered an IANAPLAN working group. The development of the draft follows the IETF standard process that is (a) open – anyone can participate, (b) transparent – all the proposals and discussions are publicly available (see, and (c) the final outcome should have IETF consensus.

Good progress has been made since the creation of the working group. The current, third version of the draft, “Draft Response to the Internet Coordination Group Request for Proposals on IANA” is in the WG last call that will end on 11 November.

So, what are the main points of the draft and the main discussion themes?

Let’s start with the draft itself. I want to stress here that the items below are current draft items, which may change through the course of the working group and the IETF review.

The draft documents the existing scope and structure of the IANA protocol parameters function and outlines the IETF policy role for the overall management of the registries as stated in RFC6220 “Defining the Role and Function of IETF Protocol Parameter Registry Operators” and RFC5226 “Guidelines for Writing an IANA Considerations Section in RFCs,” and the role of the IAB as an oversight body. The work to be carried out by the IANA staff for the IETF and the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) is defined and documented in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between ICANN and the IETF community and has been in place since 2000.

The draft concludes that no structural and no major changes “are required, however, the IETF community has expressed a desire for several points to be addressed by supplemental agreements to the IETF-ICANN MoU, prior to a transition to post-NTIA regime.”

What are these points? Again, these are still open for review and comments.

  • First, it is the intellectual property rights related to the data of the registries. The draft asks the IAOC to engage the appropriate parties, both inside and outside the IETF, to make clear that data in the protocol parameters registries is in the public domain.
  • Secondly, it is an issue related to the dispute resolution mechanisms. Here, “the IAOC is asked to conclude a supplemental agreement regarding jurisdiction and any necessary dispute resolution mechanisms that are mutually acceptable to the parties.”
  • Thirdly, the existing NTIA contract provides for contingencies when a transition to another operator is required in the future. The IAOC is asked to supplement the MoU with similar provisions and the requirement of the transfer of any associated marks and identifiers to subsequent operators. Regarding the latter requirement, there was a substantial discussion on the list on how to ensure that, in the event of future transition, there is no confusion regarding the location and content of the IETF protocol parameters registries.

Regarding these concerns it is important to stress, as the draft does, that the “IETF community is quite satisfied with the current arrangement with ICANN.” In this sense the draft supports the current status quo, but, also, inserts a form of an “insurance” request for unforeseen future events.

One of the interesting points of the discussion concerned what the protocol parameter registries encompass. A casual reader will most probably associate this with, but these are not all of them.

In fact the IETF is responsible for policy relating to all number space with the exception of the space delegated to the Internet Number Registry System, which includes the architectural definition of the entire IP address AS number space. There are several sub-registries for special IPv4 and IPv6 assignments as well as a number of special use registries with regard to domain names that the IETF maintains.

The working group will meet 13:00-15:00 (Hawaii Standard Time) on Monday, 10 November 2014 to review and discuss the outstanding issues in draft-ietf-ianaplan-icg-response as well as next steps.

The deadline to submit proposals to the ICG is 15 January 2015.

IANAPLAN (Planning for the IANA/NTIA Transition) WG
Monday, 10 Nov 2014, 1300-1500 HST, Coral 3

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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