Report from the IAB

IAB Chair <> Sun, 17 July 2016 09:42 UTC

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Subject: Report from the IAB
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Dear colleagues,

This is the usual IAB report to the community about our activities
since the previous meeting (in this case, since IETF 95 in Buenos
Aires).  As ever, we hope that this form allows you to prepare topics
you might want to discuss during the open mic. But of course, if you
have views you want to make known by email, we're easy to reach: send
mail to to reach our public discussion
list, and to reach just the IAB.

The IAB has a few chartered roles. We confirm the appointments to the
IESG and perform standards process oversight and handle appeals. We
also perform architectural oversight, we manage the RFC series and the
IETF's relationship with IANA, and we handle liaisons both to ISOC and
to other organizations. We try to ensure that anything we do is part
of one of these areas of responsibility, and we try to make sure these
are all covered.

Here's what we've been doing since IETF 95.  You can find mention of
each of these on the IAB pages at (where there's
more background, too).

    • We started searching for the new IRTF chair.  As we mentioned
      last time, Lars Eggert decided not to stand for re-appointment
      this year, so we started the long process of selecting a new
      chair.  IAB members are beginning to interview candidates.
      (Architectural oversight)

    • Our previously-made but -unannounced appointment to the Internet
      Society Board of Trustees was announced.  From an extremely
      strong pool of candidates, we selected Richard Barnes.  (Liaisons)

    • As part of the IANA transition activities, the IAB sent comments
      to ICANN on its proposed bylaw changes.  We don't know whether
      it was because of our comments, but ICANN's eventually adopted
      bylaws did change in line with those comments.  (IANA oversight)

    • We sent a comment to ISOC on a proposed bylaw change, in order
      to tidy up some details about how the IETF selects appointees to
      the ISOC Board of Trustees.  The change here required that we
      clean up our procedures a bit; see below in the document status
      section.  (Liaisons)

    • We held a retreat in Cambridge, MA.  More on this below.

    • Also as part of the IANA transition, the IAB started looking for
      volunteers to appoint to the new ICANN Root Zone Evolution
      Review Committee (RZERC).  Look for an announcement very soon.
      (IANA oversight, Liaisons)

    • We published RFC 7841, "RFC Streams, Headers, and
      Boilerplates".  In part, this was in preparation for the RFC
      Series format changes that are in development.  This resulted in
      moving boilerplate to a website; it now lives at (RFC Series)

    • We sent a reply to a US NTIA request for comments, "The
      Benefits, Challenges, and Potential Roles for the Government in
      Fostering the Advancement of the Internet of Things."
      (Architectural oversight, Liaisons)

    • We co-sponsored (with Science Foundation Ireland-funded CONNECT
      Centre) the Internet of Things Software Update Workshop, which
      ran 13 and 14 June in Dublin, IE. (Architectural oversight)


You can always find the documents the IAB has adopted and is working
on at

A big chunk of the documents are currently out to the community for
comment.  A significant number of those are actually about the RFC
format changes, and are very close to publication:

    HyperText Markup Language Request For Comments Format
    CSS Requirements for RFCs
    RFC Format Framework
    The Use of Non-ASCII Characters in RFCs
    Requirements for Plain-Text RFCs
    PDF for an RFC Series Output Document Format
    RFC v3 Prep Tool Description
    SVG Drawings for RFCs: SVG 1.2 RFC
    The "xml2rfc" version 3 Vocabulary

The other two documents out for comment are a workshop report
(draft-iab-carisreport-00, Coordinating Attack Response at Internet
Scale (CARIS) Workshop Report), and administrative draft mentioned
under our activities, above.  (draft-iab-rfc3677bis-00, IETF ISOC
Board of Trustee Appointment Procedures).
The IAB has adopted and is working on the following other documents:
    Report from the Internet of Things (IoT) Semantic Interoperability
    (IOTSI) Workshop 2016
    Problems with the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) for the World
    Wide Web
    Confidentiality in the Face of Pervasive Surveillance
    Out With the Old and In With the New: Planning for Protocol

The first is (obviously) a workshop report; we produce one for every
IAB workshop.  The middle two are products of the Privacy and Security
Program; more on programs below.  The last of these is a draft that
does not fit in any of the programs, because it goes to the heart of
the IAB's responsibility for architectural oversight.


Every year, the IAB holds a retreat, usually not too long after the
new IAB is seated.  The goal is to try to ensure each IAB member has a
clear understanding of what others' priorities are for the year, and
to ensure that we have a common direction so that we work effectively
together.  This year, we met in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, on 17
and 18 May.

Inevitably, quite a bit of the retreat is IAB members talking to each
other: the goal, after all, is partly to ensure we're aligned.  But
the IAB tries to ensure that the discussions in our retreat are also
responsive to factors impinging on the Internet.  This year, our
topics about those external factors included the ongoing influence of
the so-called Internet of Things on the Internet's architecture; this
discussion led directly to the IAB's comments to the US NTIA in
response to their request (see above).  We considered whether an IAB
program on IoT is something we ought to start.  We have not started
one yet, but the IAB appeared to be in agreement that one may be
needed, if only to identify gaps.  More on this below in the
discussion of programs.

We spent some time talking about cross-organization workshops: what
has worked, what could use improvement, and what more of this we need
to do.  We had some discussion of trying to find a way to hold a
fully-virtual and yet useful workshop.  We didn't come up with an
answer, but maybe you have an idea: if so, we'd like to hear about it,
because it's something we'd like to try out.

At the retreat, we also discussed developments in Internet
architecture that tend to promote the power or control of the network
operator.  And we had the good fortune of welcoming Danny Weitzner,
Taylor Reynolds, and Dave Clark from MIT's Internet Policy Research
Initiative.  Together, they discussed with us the ways that the IAB
can and cannot interact effectively with policy makers.  One important
part of that discussion was the importance of giving policy-makers the
kinds of technical analysis that they need without prejudging the
policy outcomes.


The IAB organizes its work, for the most part, into programs.  There
are basically two classes: management programs and architectural
programs.  The former are how we handle the oversight of various
things, and the latter are where we do architectural work.  The former
are expected to last as long as the IAB continues to have that
oversight function; the latter last until the IAB has come to a
conclusion on the relevant group of topics, and we expect them to wind
down afterwards.  Every program on "architectural issues" has a
corresponding open list where you can engage with the program.  These
are all listed on <>.

As we mentioned last time, we have been trying to review all the IAB
programs in rotation, in an effort to ensure that they are more
successful at keeping work progressing.  The success of this has been
somewhat mixed.  It appears we have been successful in identifying
programs that need to be wound down, and we have done that.  We have
also managed to identify areas where program membership needs some
adjustment.  We have been, so far, less successful at ensuring that
programs that are not producing results begin to be more successful,
and somewhat less successful in ensuring that the programs are
reviewed in the rotation we originally planned.

Since Buenos Aires, we had a discussion about automatically including
Area Directors in programs that impinge on their areas.  We decided
not to do this automatically for several reasons:

    1. IAB programs, if they're really working on topics that are
    directly connected to some active work in some IETF area, should
    send that work off into the IETF.  IAB activities are not some
    sort of second path to standards work.

    2.  There is some concern that, if we make too many formal or
    strong links between IAB efforts and IETF standards activities,
    the IAB efforts will become too focussed on the narrow
    implementation details.  Since the IAB's efforts ought not to be
    primarily concerned with those kinds of details, it seems better
    to use more-informal ways of connecting program work to the
    standardization work in the IETF.

    3.  Whenever it makes sense, we can just add the ADs in question
    to the relevant program anyway, so there is no reason for
    additional process rules.

    4.  ADs already have enough to do, and it's not clear that more
    centralization around ADs is better than attracting the interest
    and attention (and ability to contribute) of people who are
    working in an area but who are not ADs.

Management programs:
    IANA Evolution    
    IETF Protocol Registries Oversight Committee (IPROC, with IAOC)

            These programs have been attending to the anticipated
            change to the IANA's relationship to the US Government.
            The former of these is responsible to keep track of the
            IETF's use of IANA, and the latter ensures that the IANA
            Memorandum of Understanding with ICANN is administered
            effectively.  Participants in this area have been,
            perhaps unfortunately, extremely busy as a result of the
            IANA changes. IPROC was reviewed on 2016-05-25 and IANA
            oversight was reviewed on 2016-07-06.  Once the new
            Supplemental Agreement with ICANN comes into effect, the
            IAB's IPROC program will wind down.
    Liaison Oversight

            Reviewed on 2016-03-23 (i.e. not since IETF 95)

    RFC Editor (includes RSOC)

            This program has of course been at the centre of the RFC
            series format changes; it was reviewed 2016-06-22.

Architectural issues:


            There is still reason to be concerned that this topic is
            in serious trouble around the IETF, but some recent
            developments suggest some reason for hope.  The program
            was reviewed 2016-04-27.  There were some changes to the
            program membership, and the description changed.

    IP Stack Evolution

            Reviewed 2016-03-02 (i.e. not since IETF 95).  This
            program seems mostly to be generating ideas that then get
            taken either into the IETF or into the IRTF, rather than
            producing work itself.

    Names and Identifiers

            The Names and Identifiers program was reviewed on
            2016-04-03 (so, strictly speaking at IETF 95, but that
            happened after the last of these reports).  The arcing BoF
            at IETF 95 was perhaps a little less productive than we
            might have hoped, though it was nevertheless useful.  The
            program continues to discuss concepts in various drafts,
            but has not fully adopted any as part of its program of work.

    Privacy and Security
            Reviewed 2016-01-13 (i.e. not since IETF 95).

As noted above, the IAB considered setting up a program for the
Internet of Things.  One of our doubts about such an effort is that it
appears to be a kind of compartmentalization that may not reflect what
is needed.  Connecting all manner of sensors and actuators to the
Internet will have big effects on the world, but it will also have
(and is already starting to have) big effects on the way the Internet
itself works, in much the way that the introduction of cars to cities
meant that the very idea of a city was reshaped.  We continue to
discuss how we might address this basic issue.


Some of the IAB's responsibilities, such as personnel appointments,
have to be done in closed session.  Nevertheless, much of the IAB's
internal wiki contains thing that we think should be open.
The IAB's wiki apparently originally started as a place to share
things that needed to be shared just among the IAB.  As a result, it
is designed to work in a closed environment.  Yet most of the
materials there are things that should be public.

We're working on fixing this.  The work started last year with
contributions from Mary Barnes and Robert Sparks, and Robert is
continuing it.  This sort of work is unfortunately somewhat laborious,
but it seems likely we'll have something to report soon.

We've also had a couple of requests to consider holding the IAB
business meetings in the way that the IESG formal telechats work --
accessible to anyone in the community.  This would probably result in
rearranging how the IAB does some of its work, and it might increase
the number of executive sessions -- which would therefore never get
minuted, so there might actually be a net decrease in transparency.
We're willing to consider that, but before we do it would be helpful
to know whether anyone cares.  If you think you'd be likely to join
IAB business meetings as an observer for those portions that were
open, it would be helpful to know it.  Please send the IAB your


In Buenos Aires, we did not have a technical topic at the plenary.
This was the consequence of going to a single plenary in every
meeting.  The first meeting of the year has more administrative items
that have to be completed, so when we decided to go to a single
plenary we concluded that we'd lose one technical topic per year; but
we intended to have a technical topic at the IETF 96 plenary (indeed,
the note in the IETF Journal says to expect one).

We unfortunately had a scheduling and availability snafu this time,
and it came late enough that we were unable to recover.  We have a
"hopper" of excellent plenary topics (which we think need to be
informative or entertaining -- preferably both -- to the general IETF
audience), but practical arrangements were hard to make this time.
We're going to address this by starting earlier from now on.  We've
already begun organizing things for IETF 97, so we won't be
disappointed again.  We apologize for missing our goal for IETF 96.

Respectfully submitted,
Andrew Sullivan
for the IAB

IAB Chair (Andrew Sullivan)