Re: [Mtgvenue] [admin-discuss] Consultation on IETF Meeting venue assessment

Andrew Sullivan <> Thu, 04 February 2021 19:26 UTC

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From: Andrew Sullivan <>
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Subject: Re: [Mtgvenue] [admin-discuss] Consultation on IETF Meeting venue assessment
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(ObDisclaimer: I work for the Internet Society but this is just my opinion.)

On Fri, Feb 05, 2021 at 07:48:17AM +1300, Jay Daley wrote:
>Do we take it that this means that if all the hotels support VPN access and the venue itself supports unfiltered access (i.e. no need to use a VPN for access) then that is acceptable, even if VPNs are blocked or are illegal outside of the hotels and venue?

That was my impression of the WG view at the time: such cases were not
automatically off the table, as long as the _venue_ could support
getting work done. My impression is that everyone recognized it was
entirely possible that there'd turn out to be unacceptable
restrictions anyway, but the only way to sort that out would be to try
to see whether the unfettered access was possible.  There seemed to be
a general preference for cases where the Internet was mostly broadly
open, too, but I seem to recall someone pointing out in at least one
venue that that city and country would fail the criteria if absolutely
unfiltered access on mobile networks with prepaid cards were a
precondition of holding a meeting there. (It was apparently a
largely successful meeting).

>- in countries where many VPNs are blocked but VPNs per se are not illegal then does that count as filtered or unfiltered?

I believe the general point about VPNs was being able to get work
done.  So if, for instance, VPNs are legal but only if they're
controlled by $domestic_carrier, that won't work, because many IETF
participants need to be able to use their corporate VPN in order to
get work done.  I think the "can we get work done?" filter is the
ruling one.

>- if the local situation is that VPNs are blocked or illegal then can we work with that (i.e. it fails the assessment) or do we somehow need to contact every possible satellite hotel to see if they will support VPN access as an exception to local law?

The point of writing the conditions was not to be onerous,
particularly in the first pass, so if a country has a law or factual
state of affairs that makes VPNs simply impossible to use it doesn't
seem reasonable to try to work around that when doing the first pass.
It is also plainly not ok for the IETF to ask anyone to flout local
laws in order to attend or support IETF meetings, so in the case of
actual laws on the books I think your answer just has to be that the
target location can't meet the requirements, and stop there.

Best regards,


Andrew Sullivan