Re: Concerns about Singapore

Harald Alvestrand <> Tue, 12 April 2016 04:28 UTC

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Subject: Re: Concerns about Singapore
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From: Harald Alvestrand <>
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Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2016 06:28:16 +0200
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The IETF is not a value-neutral organization.

Since we're citing the Mission Statement RFC here, it also contains:

>    The Internet isn't value-neutral, and neither is the IETF.  We want
>    the Internet to be useful for communities that share our commitment
>    to openness and fairness.  We embrace technical concepts such as
>    decentralized control, edge-user empowerment and sharing of
>    resources, because those concepts resonate with the core values of
>    the IETF community.  These concepts have little to do with the
>    technology that's possible, and much to do with the technology that
>    we choose to create.

That said - after doing my amateur research on the whole Singapore
thing, I'm willing to live with whatever resolution of the issue the
IAOC comes up with. It's not an open-and-shut "stay away" thing; I
regard the first IETF to be held inside the Great Firewall as a more
clearly problematic decision - but, in retrospect, agree with it.

My unhappiness with the IAOC's handling (pre-plenary) is mainly that
they were surprised that this concern needs considering.

Den 11. april 2016 10:05, skrev Andrew Allen:
> This is what I mean by slippery slope - once we go down this path it never ends - in a global community of well over 1000 active people at least one person is likely to have a problem with some aspect of most of the countries governments, policies, cultures or actions, etc.
> We could be left with the only possible venue being a cruise ship sailing in international waters - but then someone will probably object because the ship is registered in Panama or Liberia!
> The focus should be on choosing a location for the meeting that is open for all to attend and where it is reasonably safe to attend and meets the needs of a meeting for a large number of people and represents the regional balance of the membership. 
> The mission of the IETF is to make the Internet work better by producing high quality, relevant technical documents that influence the way people design, use, and manage the Internet.
> The IETF is not an organization that's mission is to be an advocate for global social, environmental or political change. The selection of a meeting location should be for the purposes of advancing the IETF's mission. I think some of the concerns raised about Singapore need to be addressed in terms of the practical impact and risk to the attendance of some in the IETF community but we shouldn’t start down the road of choosing or not choosing meeting locations based on an evaluation of a countries laws, culture and policies and whether those are acceptable to all or most of the community.
> Debates over whether a location is politically or morally acceptable will only distract from the mission of the IETF and likely divide the community rather than help in making progress towards forming consensus on the future development of the internet.
> Andrew
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ietf [] On Behalf Of Vinayak Hegde
> Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2016 10:24 PM
> To:
> Cc: IETF discussion list <>
> Subject: Re: Concerns about Singapore
> On Mon, Apr 11, 2016 at 6:46 AM,  <> wrote:
>> It's certainly relevant to me, b/c I don't personally think that IETF 
>> meetings should be held in oppressive and censoring countries. I don't 
>> know how to articulate this well -- others are better at it -- but I 
>> certainly would like to skip any meetings that I feel violate IETFs 
>> value of openness so that I can at least vote with my feet and my 
>> dollars.
> Well how does this work with Internet's (and IETF's) mission of inclusiveness. Applying the same scale of "oppressiveness", I am sure large parts of the world think the same about the US/UK which has waged wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Syria, Argentina (our latest venue) and elsewhere.
> The IETF doesn't seem to have a problem having meetings in these countries. I hope the majority of participants on this list realise that they are viewing the world through a western prism.
> The notion of punishing the general populace for the mistakes of their elected and unelected govt. seems wrong to me. Many times, the general populace of the country is fighting their govt. through the Internet. eg. Turkey.
> -- Vinayak