Re: If Muslims are blocked by the U.S., should the IETF respond?

Michael StJohns <> Mon, 30 January 2017 17:14 UTC

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Subject: Re: If Muslims are blocked by the U.S., should the IETF respond?
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From: Michael StJohns <>
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Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2017 12:14:22 -0500
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On 1/30/2017 11:53 AM, Melinda Shore wrote:
> On 1/30/17 7:30 AM, Randy Bush wrote:
>> but sadly, i do not think the ietf has the guts and the vision to even
>> do what an organization such as the iacr, crypto assn which has long
>> experience with real politik etc. has done, [ ... ]
> Over the years it has become clear that being a consensus-oriented
> organization with a diverse participation makes it impossible for
> the IETF to make statements like this.  It would need to come from the
> chair, the IAB chair, or the I*.  (Yes, I think this is a problem)
> Melinda

To be fair, the IACR, ACM etc are professional organizations; we the 
IETF are not.  Professional organizations (cf your state bar 
association, the American Medical Association and the like) are all 
about standardizing people, not things.  As such, they are more able to 
come up with a consistent public message.

To expect us to be able to behave like one of them without a 
restructuring to become one of them is probably wishful thinking. 
Becoming one of them would probably be detrimental to our main mission 
of improving the internet.

We are associated with two organizations that are, by charter, mostly 
outward facing: the IAB and the ISOC.  The latter organization is 
probably the right one to take point on statements of mostly political 
content related to issues that affect our mission.   I would like to 
suggest that we (the IAB and IESG and IETF Chair) request the ISOC draft 
a message along the lines of what the ACM and IACR and others have 
already written.  This would include such details as the affect on the 
IETF's meetings and the ISOC's outreach program and would ask them to 
incorporate suggestions from the IETF community on content (but leaving 
the wording to ISOC).  I'd also suggest they provide a signature page 
where IETF community members may endorse the ISOC message.

I would further suggest that a faster but not perfect note is better 
than the alternative.