Re: [arch-d] Call for Comment: <draft-iab-for-the-users-02> (The Internet is for End Users)

Brian E Carpenter <brian.e.carpenter@gmail.com> Fri, 07 February 2020 01:13 UTC

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From: Brian E Carpenter <brian.e.carpenter@gmail.com>
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Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2020 14:13:49 +1300
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Subject: Re: [arch-d] Call for Comment: <draft-iab-for-the-users-02> (The Internet is for End Users)
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The Abstract makes it clear that this is an opinion piece:

> This document explains why the IAB believes ...

I think the document needs to state more clearly that it isn't prescriptive,
but is just the (current) IAB's opinion. This is subtle, but for example:

>    Beyond fulfilling the IETF's mission, prioritising end users also
>    helps to ensure the long-term health of the Internet and the IETF's
>    relevance to it.

would be better slightly rephrased as

   Beyond fulfilling the IETF's mission, prioritising end users would also
   help to ensure the long-term health of the Internet and the IETF's
   relevance to it.

and so on, wherever prescriptive language is used.

> 2.  What Are "End Users"?
> 
>    In this document, "end users," means non-technical users whose
>    activities IETF standards are designed to support, sometimes
>    indirectly.  

I don't like the unconditional "non-technical". Some users are very technical,
they're just not protocol experts. Some are highly educated, some are not.
Some may not even know they are Internet users, because they're just using
an app on their phone, or in the surveillance state they are just walking
past a camera.

>    Merely advancing the measurable success of the Internet (e.g.,
>    deployment size, bandwidth, latency, number of users) is not an
>    adequate goal; doing so ignores how technology is so often used as a
>    lever to assert power over users, rather than empower them.

I think that gets us into murky waters. Surely we aren't going to make
judgment calls in this area? Which of POP3 and IMAP allows more power
over users?

> 4.1.  Engaging the Internet Community...
>    Therefore, we have not only a responsibility to analyse and consider
>    the impacts of the IETF's work, but also a responsibility to consult
>    with that greater Internet community.  We should enter into a
>    dialogue about not only the technical concerns that are well-
>    represented in the IETF but also the political, social and economic
>    concerns that it engenders, and that are better represented
>    elsewhere.

I think the second sentence is a highly debatable assertion. Apart from
anything else, I thought it was the ISOC's job, in the accepted division
of labour according to BCP11.: https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2028#section-3.4
But equally important, I think we have good reason to believe that the
people who typically participate in the IETF are not the right sort of
people to engage usefully in dialogue about "political, social and economic
concerns". I think we will only burn our fingers.

I don't mean that the dialogue is unimportant. But I strongly believe that
we (the active participants in the IETF) are not the right people for the
job. This work should IMNSHO be left to ISOC.

A little bit later we find:

>    While some civil society organisations specialise in technology and
>    Internet policy, they typically do not have the capacity to
>    participate broadly, nor are they necessarily representative of the
>    larger Internet community.

Indeed. Except for ISOC.

I find this whole section "4.1.  Engaging the Internet Community" off track.
Instead, I believe it should recommend improved IETF engagement *with ISOC*,
with the objective of helping ISOC do this part of its job even better,
and giving the IETF substantive feedback as a result.

...
>    This leads to Web browsers' interests being better aligned with those
>    of their users, 

Really? In my experience browsers have become increasingly aligned with the
interests of advertisers. In any case, it's not much of an example since
the IETF doesn't control much of anything in browser space these days.

Regards
   Brian Carpenter

On 06-Feb-20 11:48, IAB Executive Administrative Manager wrote:
> This is an announcement of an IETF-wide Call for Comment on 
> draft-iab-for-the-users-02.
> 
> The document is being considered for publication as an Informational RFC 
> within the IAB stream, and is available for inspection at:
> <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-iab-for-the-users/>
> 
> The Call for Comment will last until 2020-03-04. Please send comments to
> architecture-discuss@ietf.org and iab@iab.org.
> 
> Abstract:
> 
>    This document explains why the IAB believes the IETF should consider
>    end users as its highest priority concern, and how that can be done.
> 
> _______________________________________________
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