Berkman Center Editorial meeting
Re: an inquiry into further information about finances for the Reston and Geneva meetings. An e-mail from IBM said that they cannot contribute because they have already given the $5,000 maximum cap overall (They had been told by John Wood that there was a cap on overall contributions of $5K.) The Steering Committee explained that it set separate $5K caps for each meeting so that more money can be raised if they are willing to pay.
Jim Dixon said that four law firms in the UK had pledged money, in addition to 200 Swiss francs from Keith Guymer of ICC. APIA pledged $1,000 for the Reston meeting and will send the money when it receives an invoice.
Berkman Center Meeting
Berkman Center web pages have not posted anything new about the editorial meeting. Tamar Frankel wrote to the IFWP open lists that NSI and IANA are in discussions which will determine how we move forward from here. The cost of the conference room has gone up from $300 to $660.
The Berkman Center reports that it is still optimistic but doesn't yet have a guarantee of participation from IANA. It expects to post an announcement on the Berkman Center web site by the close of business on Friday. It has not yet contacted other potential invitees for this meeting until it has a firm invitation list. It cannot assure that the posting will include a list of potential invitees.
The Berkman Center asked whether it is more appropriate to invite individuals or ask organizations to send representatives. SC response: it depends on what you want to do there. Individuals with appropriate expertise should be invited. If you want to reduce the likelihood that someone "shoots from outside", invite those individuals. If you want to insure broad support, this comes from organizations. This meeting is not being organized by the Steering Committee, so it should not be asked. Otherwise, the meeting would be called an arms-length Steering Committee meeting, which it is not.
Several SC members noted that the editorial meeting will be more useful if both IANA and NSI attend. It makes sense to get that foundation laid. The question was raised, what happens if only one of them shows up. The Berkman Center said it will likely move ahead anyway, because by the time
it learns of this, we will be at the point of no return. Molly Shaffer Van Houweling reiterated that the Berkman Center remained optimistic about those two parties coming to the table. Several organizations have said they would oppose the ratification meeting unless IANA and NSI participate in the earlier meeting.
The committee was advised that APIA members have concern, If IANA and NSI could not join, APIA may have to oppose the meeting or strongly encourage the Berkman Center to bring them (as well as other key stakeholders) all together to the meeting and announce that as well.
Another concern is timing. Invitations to the editorial meeting should be sent as early as possible, especially for representatives from Asia and Europe who would like to be able to participate. If they do not hear until Monday, they may not have enough time to make the decision to attend.
IANA and NSI presence is needed, but it is not sufficient. The Berkman Center was asked to start contacting the supposed attendees immediately, before the announcement, as informally as it could. The purpose of this is to prevent late "surprises" as prospective attendees are contacted and reply either that it is too late to attend OR that they don't think such a meeting will be productive. 
It was also suggested that getting NSI and IANA to agree to attend is the right first step, and if they agree, everyone else will come on board.
The September 12th meeting will begin in the morning. The Berkman Center has the room starting at 8 or 9 a.m. The space is reserved all day September 12th and 13th. Building officials should be advised that the group might work late into the night. The logistical planning includes a dinner the night before. The Berkman Center can help with logistical arrangements.
ISOC, EDUCAUSE, and CIX have shown a certain reluctance to that meeting. The Steering Committee should provide a program that includes an open inclusive platform.
The Berkman Center was asked whether it had heard any discussions about the ratification meeting being desirable or not. Response: It did see some skepticism from EDUCAUSE. One SC member noted that a core group of trade associations supports it. However, another group is just waiting for IANA and others. If IANA is involved, the meeting will go forward.
The Berkman Center was asked if it could envision any way the Steering Committee could help to encourage IANA's participation, such as writing e-mails. Response was that Jon Postel is very well-informed as to what is going on and what is involved.
A lengthy discussion ensued about how to work out or verify voting. Jim Dixon offered to put together some thoughts in the next day or two. He said there is skepticism within the engineering community. Everyone understands that voting mechanism can be rigged. We won't know whether that happens until the time of voting.
Two things were suggested to make the ratification meeting more agreeable: (1) insure that voting doesn't occur (?); (2) remove some risk from the meeting. Certain meeting formats are more conducive to getting people upset. We have to be greatly concerned about phony votes, and we have to be ready for very large votes from certain organizations.
The discussion then focused on whether voting should be on behalf of organizations or individuals. It was suggested that the voting results be broken down in various ways. People can note who they are, if they have NIC handles, and these could be used for verification and broken out separately. We can expect rigged voting, but a mechanism can be added to filter out bad votes.
First, a very crude analysis of the actual votes could be shown and then broken down in different ways, e.g. the ISP vote. If we are lucky, there will be an unambiguous vote, yes or no. What we are likely going to have is a cloudy vote. One SC member said that people who oppose ratification have more incentive to participate in the voting. Another disagreed with this analysis.
It was also suggested that a "vote" isn't the appropriate term and that it should be called a poll or an opinion poll. An opinion poll is more representative. You set people out on the street and collect input, but we don't have the resources to conduct an opinion poll.
Then it was suggested to contact everyone on the discussion lists. and analyze how these people voted. People who control a significant amount of IP addresses should be counted separately. The problem with this approach is what gives us the right to say someone else is not entitled to an opinion.
It was pointed out that the we have two goals: to get feedback from the community and assure that the feedback we get is representative.
What happens if 70% of the people say no to what the real players agree on. Response: Ask Ira Magaziner. We are not deciding this. The question is whether the terminus vote is the right one. The vote should be analyzed in many ways. First, determine who is real, and count those votes separately.
One organization noted it is uncomfortable with this risk and the publicly embarrassing vote that could result. Response: then that organization doesn't care about this process.
It was suggested that the vote could include questions and check boxes:
Tamar Frankel objects to this approach. She wants a straight referendum. Perhaps a specialist from a Gallup organization could provide advice. The questions should be looked at by a specialist in terms of being neutral. Perhaps the SC would obtain informal advice first and ask for a forma opinion afterwards. The name of one such professional was put forward. A caution was sounded not to have 10 pages of CYA and one page soliciting opinion.
Re: the idea of using colors. Advantage is it increases cost of cheating. Disadvantage is added expense, and it is easy to pick any bit out of the gif to determine the color. It was suggested to mix the colors, to provide a picture in colors.
Re: processing the vote. It was suggested to send the data to three different servers simultaneously. Either the data is identical or it is not. When the voter looks at a web page and replies to a form, the reply automatically goes to three widely separated machines. Voters who don't use the "reply to" button won't receive a confirmation reply and will have to vote over. Concern was expressed about denial of service and voting by e-mail because linkages can be spoofed.
What will the Steering Committee do to get people to participate? Need to look into costs and see what is technically feasible. Someone has to put this on MBone. The Berkman Center offered to into what kind of network connectivity is available and whether it would be sufficient for webcasting. Consider discussing this with Karl Auerbach, who has networking expertise.
Tony Harris announced the formation of an association yesterday in Latin America to continue its representation as a region. It is called ALCI: Latin American and Caribbean Internet Association (in Spanish). Flagships for the organization are CABASE and ASSESPRO, a Brazilian association of software companies with 1,500 members. He said ALCI would like to participate in the editorial meeting. Harris is the current contact person for ALCI for this purpose.
Next SC Conference Call
Izumi Aizu will draft an agenda for the ratification meeting. Molly Shaffer Van Houweling will check on the room for September 19th. Dan Steinberg apologized for having technical difficulties that interrupted his participation in this conference call.
The next Steering Committee Conference call will be Saturday. September 5th at 3 p.m. CUT, 2 p.m (London). 9 a m. EDT, 6 a.m PDT, 9 p.m. Asia. The call should be 30 to 45 minutes long.
Deutsche Telekom hosted the teleconference with a pre-set limit of 45 minutes.
Jonathan Zittrain, Executive Director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, provided an update on the editorial meeting. He explained that discussions were underway between IANA and NSI. The two parties set quite low expectations to hammer out an agreement on principles, and if that could be accomplished, they were both willing to come to a meeting and go the rest of the distance. However, if the discussions failed, then IANA had no interest in attending such a meeting.
The discussions have been succeeding very well, quite beyond the stage of principles. In fact, both parties feel that the September 12-13 meeting is not needed. If there were issues to resolve, there would be reason to hold a meeting Since both of those parties have made significant progress in a private venue, the Berkman Center is prepared to cancel the meeting. Zittrain said the two parties might be interested in having a meeting later on, not with the character of the original meeting. Rather, NSI and IANA would present the result of their discussions and would be available for questions and comments.
The Berkman Center expressed its relief at not having to carry on the process of issuing invitations and dealing with a "hot potato". It is up to the Steering Committee to decide what to do about any future meetings. The ratification meeting was contingent upon the Berkman Center meeting under the assumption that if nothing emerged from it, there would be no ratifiable draft. Zittrain said that there now may be a ratifiable draft so the Steering Committee may choose to go forward with a ratification meeting, The Berkman Center reaffirmed its offer to provide logistical support. He cautioned that it would be preferable not to make decision on a razor-thin margin, as that keeps open the question about whether there will be a meeting. It may be advisable to wait to see whether IANA and NSI are reconciled. The Berkman Center is ready to help, if requested.
Zittrain was asked whether there was sufficient consensus from the Berkman Center to hold that meeting or not because some were opposed to attending without the participation of IANA and NSI. He responded that the Berkman Center's view was not to revisit that issue. It had been asked by the Steering Committee to handle the meeting and always knew that there might be a clear reason not to hold it if things got out of control. He explained, "we are disposable parties here" and said IANA was non-committal. IANA was waiting to see what would transpire with NSI, but if things worked out, would attend the meeting. It was suggested that any consideration about the meeting be postponed until negotiations between NSI and IANA had concluded.
The Berkman Center's was asked whether it held an opinion about this decision if there is no appreciable input from other interested stakeholders. The query was not addressed as it was noted this is not for the SC to discuss. The Berkman Center said it will post an announcement on the relevant lists immediately and said this was its most urgent task.
Asked whether NSI and IANA offered a time frame for a ratification meeting, Zittrain answered September 19th, although experience shows that there might be more work than anticipated, and that date could change.
Zittrain was also asked if the threat of the editorial meeting drove these two parties to a resolution. He answered that going forward with the meeting was a tactical issue to some parties and, in some ways, was applying pressure to IANA and possibly providing NSI with a bargaining chip. He personally thought that perhaps Magaziner played some role but made it clear that the Berkman Center did not; any political role by the Berkman Center was purely incidental and both parties understood that.
A recommendation was made not to cancel the meeting but to postpone it without setting a fixed date, as it would keep pressure on both parties. Zittrain responded that the proposed meeting next weekend and the format it represented among a broad, but limited, slate of stakeholders will not occur. That format is off the table; it is not just a question of postponement. The kind of the meeting IANA and NSI might request would, instead, be more of a ratification meeting.
A request was made that the press release be phrased in the most positive light. Zittrain said the Berkman Center will lay it all out as it has been explained to the Steering Committee. It won't be a one-line message.
Amadeu commented that when everything is over, he would like to see the prospective list of attendees. Zittrain answered that they were planning to invite everyone who wanted to be included. The Berkman Center was reminded to cancel the room reservations. At this point, Zittrain terminated his participation in the teleconference call, but Molly Shaffer Van Houweling remained on the line should further questions arise.
A concern was that the Steering Committee had announced the ratification meeting as conditional upon the earlier Berkman Center meeting. If IANA and NSI are deciding what they want to do, is the role of the IFWP finished? A suggestion was made to offer to IANA and NSI that if they wished to have a meeting, the Steering Committee could help arrange it.
Two SC members felt the role of the IFWP is finished unless both NSI and IANA want the SC to continue to do anything, It was stated that the Steering Committee's concern is only with meetings. Many people say a ratification meeting is not useful. The suggestion above would go far beyond the Steering Committee's duties.
Concern was also expressed about recognizing only IANA and NSI as the major stakeholders. There are many stakeholders, and it is beyond the IFWP role to recognize only two parties. It was suggested that if the parties who authored the conclusion want us to hold a meeting, it is appropriate to do so. The Steering Committee is trying to find them a way to organize it.
The Steering Committee then addressed the question of what would a good closure look like. One response: If the final draft is satisfactory to all parties, the SC says thank you and good bye. If there are remaining issues, then the SC addresses them. We don't really know how much regional representation is incorporated in the draft.
A suggestion was made to ask IANA and NSI directly what they feel about another meeting and combine that information with personal and global interest to make an informed decision. Thus, it would not be what they want to do, but what the Steering Committee wants to do. Several members agreed to this suggestion.
One SC member strongly opposed the recommendation since some people feel that IANA should be the source for the final process, but this would be saying that IANA and NSI are both leading the process. It is a policy question to be left for others to decide.
Another response was that the Steering Committee has been providing the platform. It should provide a platform to close or transition to the next platform. It can, at least, confirm that its role has been positively incorporated by the negotiation process. That is an acknowledgment of the process and then the Steering Committee can conclude. Acknowledgment is important.
There was discussion on whether the idea of asking IANA and NSI about a final meeting is a good one. One reason for contacting them is that the Steering Committee should have first-hand information. The SC has received two reports that NSI and IANA would be favorably disposed toward a meeting. It was also noted that asking does not mean the SC is doing their bidding.
Opposition was raised that this recognizes two stakeholders in a privileged position. However, there are other stakeholders. Also, if NSI and IANA want to have a meeting, it is their meeting, not that of the IFWP. It would be a different meeting than other parties concerned may have wanted. The Steering Committee would be saying NSI and IANA should decide, but that is not its role. The Steering Committee's role is to organize meetings and to find consensus, and if it has done that, its role is finished. A different explanation of the Steering Committee's role was offered, which is to provide a platform to discuss the White Paper.
It was noted again that asking IANA and NSI signals out two parties but there are three parties that have the greatest risk: NSI, IANA and the U.S. government. Part of the reason for this situation is due to an historical accident and transmission error. Ira Magaziner asked IANA and Tamar Frankel to the table, and the message got transmitted to the world.
The ratification meeting was dependent upon the Berkman Center meeting. Can the Steering Committee change its mind? Can it say the planned wrap-up is cancelled? The suggestion was made to say, instead, that the meeting and any decision on a further meeting has been postponed until the Steering Committee receives advice that people wish it to do something. As the Steering Committee sees it today, neither the Berkman Center meeting nor the ratification meeting will take place. However, the SC is prepared to organize a further meeting if there is any meaningful agenda for it. It is offering its services as a facilitator if something meaningful remains to be done.
Once again the question arose, is the meeting postponed or cancelled. In response, a recommendation was made that even if a final meeting might take place, it would be wise for those with airline reservations to cancel their tickets.
Reminded that the time limit for the teleconference was approaching, the Steering Committee discussed the next conference call but did not schedule a date and time. Perhaps on Thursday, September 10. It will be organized by e-mail.
Copyright© 1998 Ellen Rony and Peter Rony. All Rights Reserved.