Re: If categories of people are blocked by the U.S., should the IETF respond?

Stephen Farrell <> Mon, 30 January 2017 01:32 UTC

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Subject: Re: If categories of people are blocked by the U.S., should the IETF respond?
To: Jari Arkko <>, IETF <>
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From: Stephen Farrell <>
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Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2017 01:31:58 +0000
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On 30/01/17 00:43, Jari Arkko wrote:
> But, if I look again at the crystal ball of obvious predictions,
> I wouldn’t be surprised if recent trends would at some point
> also generate some Internet-related bad policy suggestions.
> This is just my 0.02μBTC but I personally would want to
> prioritise putting my time to dealing with those situations,
> be it about making statements or developing some tech
> to help the situation. As we have done in the case of
> pervasive monitoring, for instance. But again, just my
> personal opinion.

And a reasonable one. OTOH, as you noted in the case
of pervasive monitoring the IETF did choose to comment
upon aspects of that that were relevant to our work.

In this case, and as mentioned previously, there is at
least one aspect that goes beyond mtgvenue, in that those
leaving from one place to come to a meeting might be
restricted in returning home. That seems to me to be an
order of magnitude more problematic than not being allowed
entry. The "order of magnitude" aspect of that is maybe
not relevant for IETF discussion, but the "not able to
contribute since not able to return home" aspect would
surely be, as would the "not able to travel to *any*
'foreign' f2f meetings since not able to return home."

Anyway, and also speaking personally, I do think there
may be a valid public IETF reaction here, in addition to
mtgvenue considerations, which is that we, as with any
scientific or technical organisation with participants
welcome from all over the globe, depend on the rule of
law as it relates to travel being somewhat rational and
relatively stable. (*)

I think the ACM text could be quite close to something
on which we could garner IETF consensus as it mostly
says just the above.

And yes, you may well be right that there will be more
pressing matters on which we may need to consider comment
in future. Personally, I think I'd argue that even if that's
the case (which we all hope won't turn out true but fear
might) then we'll be better off having had some discussion
ahead of time as to where we do or do not have IETF consensus
for relevant comment being within our scope.

Lastly, I'd note that ISTM that mtgvenue is bound to end
up with some set of criteria that establish that a venue
is unsuitable. The existence of any such set of criteria
requires a discussion at to whether or not some specific
venue fits the "bad" profile or not. And I can't see that
all of that discussion can be on closed lists. That to me
means that there will always be a role for a public list
where discussion can be had about whether or not venue A
has bad property B, where B is relevant to mtgvenue's output.
I also cannot see a future where it is out of scope to
raise such an issue on this list, so while I fully agree
that folks interested here ought subscribe to and get
involved in discussion on mtgvenue (as I've just now
done:-), there remains a need for openness to discussion
of new events and situations on this list, or some other,
before, during and after mtgvenue succeeds.

My own conclusion is that it seems reasonable that the
IETF could reach consensus that an ACM-like statement
was reasonable. I'd be interested in opinions on that
specific question if folks wanted to offer them.


(*) Even though the USA seem to have diverged from
that principle, I think that they are by no means the
worst offender in that respect. But there is, for me
at least, a real sadness that they've joined such a