Re: Last Call: Modern Global Standards Paradigm

Eric Burger <> Sat, 11 August 2012 01:19 UTC

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Subject: Re: Last Call: Modern Global Standards Paradigm
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From: Eric Burger <>
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Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2012 15:52:59 -0700
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To: Phillip Hallam-Baker <>
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PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE read what the proposal is. The proposal being put forth is not that the ITU-T wants to write Internet standards. The proposal being put forth is that ONLY ITU-T standards will be the *legal* standards accepted by signatory nations.

At best, this would be a repeat of GOSIP in the U.S., where the law was the U.S. government could only buy OSI products. The issue there was the private sector was still free to buy what it wanted and DoD did not really follow the rules and bought TCP/IP instead. TCP/IP in the market killed OSI.

The difference here is some countries may take their ITR obligations literally and ban products that use non-ITU protocols. Could one go to jail for using TCP/IP or HTTP? That has an admittedly small, but not insignificant possibility of happening. Worse yet, having treaties that obligates countries to ban non-ITU protocols does virtually guarantee a balkanization of the Internet into open and free networking and controlled and censored networking.

Just as it is not fair to say that if the ITU-T gets its way the world will end, it is also not fair to say there is no risk to allowing the ITU-T to get a privileged, NON-VOLUNTARY, position in the communications world.

On Aug 10, 2012, at 9:49 AM, Phillip Hallam-Baker wrote:

> I think the point needs to be made that standards organizations can
> only advise and not dictate.
> There is really no risk that ITU-T is going to end up in control of
> the technical standards that are implemented by the likes of
> Microsoft, Cisco or Google, let alone Apache, Mozilla and the folk on
> SourceForge and Github.
> The key defect in the ITU-T view of the world is that it is populated
> by people who think that they are making decisions that matter. In
> practice deciding telephone system standards right now is about as
> important as the next revision of the FORTRAN standard, it is not
> completely irrelevant but matters a lot more to the people in the
> meetings than anyone else.
> The strength of the IETF negotiating position comes from the fact that
> we cannot dictate terms to anyone. The consensus that matters is not
> just consensus among the people developing the specification document
> but consensus among the people who are expected to act on it.
> ITU-T can certainly set themselves up a Friendship Games if they like
> [1]. But they can't force people to show up, let alone implement their
> 'requirements'.
> From a censorship busting point of view, the best thing that can
> happen for us is for the states attempting to gain control of the net
> in their country to attempt to standardize their approach. Much easier
> to circumvent fixed blocks than the current moving target.
> [1]
> On Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 11:19 AM, IETF Chair <> wrote:
>> The IETF Chair and the IAB Chair intend to sign the Affirmation
>> of the Modern Global Standards Paradigm, which can be found
>> here:
>> An earlier version was discussed in plenary, and the IAB Chair called
>> for comments on the IETF mail list.  This version includes changes
>> that address those comments.
>> Th IETF 84 Administrative plenary minutes have been posted, so that
>> discussion can be reviewed if desired.  The minutes are here:
>> On 8 August 2012, the IEEE Standards Association Board of Governors
>> approved this version of the document.  The approval process is
>> underway at the W3C as well.
>> The IETF Chair and the IAB Chair intend to sign the Affirmation in the
>> next few weeks. Please send strong objections to the
>> and the mailing lists by 2012-08-24.
>> Thank you,
>>  Russ Housley
>>  IETF Chair
> -- 
> Website: