29 August 2018 ·
I'm going to be honest here.
I started using the net around 1978. I have been closely involved ever since, even founded the first commercial public internet service, contributed technically and politically, been involved with various technical organizations even sitting on some boards, attended about 20 ICANN meetings, etc etc etc.
I've heard of ISOC probably back to their founding.
But I have almost zero idea what ISOC does or why it exists other than I know they hold some founding memoranda of understanding with the IETF and others which have legal and organizational significance. And they seem to have some local chapters which advertise talks though none here in Boston.
I even know about half of their board personally, some I would even count as close friends. I've lunched with Andrew during the ICANN Beijing meeting though that was a few years ago, before his current involvement with ISOC.
I am not trying to be rude, I just really have long wondered what ISOC is or why they exist.
I read this statement. It's a nice statement, I agree with all of it.
But it makes me think sometimes one is too close to the issue and doesn't understand that what's needed perhaps were fewer platitudes and more statement of mission -- as if they were addressing someone like me who doesn't even know what this ISOC thing really is, even after decades of knowing it exists.
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Theo Develegas It's a private club for special people.
Barry Shein They've even asked me for money in a personal way and a board member encouraged me to become a board member and set up an informal interview with another board member (we had lunch basically but that was the reason.)
I kept thinking I don't even know what ISOC is but they want me to serve on the board! Huh, strange world.
I suppose I could have asked but at the moment it seemed kind of embarrassing and perhaps would be taken as rude since the idea that I didn't know what ISOC does wouldn't even compute for them.
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Richard Sexton Barry was on the net8 years before I for there but I was at ground zero of the ICANN stuff Barry was nowhere to be seen in that era. Which was probably smart. It sorta started when Barry and I and the bind people started chatting about well domains fees, levels and so on.
Crawled out of the belly of the beast around 2000 or so, and It's good to see Barry and Brian showing up. Let's not forget our initial conversation though.
One of the guys who was there and a lot is Tony Rutkowski; go find Malamud's "Exploring the Internet", it introduced both Tony and Ramblin' Robert Shaw, a guy so interesting there should be a book about him.
Tony founded ISOC. It was supposed to be technical.
Tony left ISOC. After the 1974 IAB debacle it had become clear ISOC was not a trade show to sell V4 addressed and later find a way to monetize domain names.
This came to a head at an OECD meeting in Ottawa when Albert Tromposch now disgraced WIPO chief Robert Shaw from he ITU and Don Heath from ISOC and the domain name thing fell into place. They declared themselves in charge, Vint single handedly caused a fee to happen when the FNCAC (really him) suggested ot the NSF it have it's constructor NSI charge fees. That was it. No discussion just lke when Postel announced he fist 7 tlds on the MSGGRUOP list Stef ran.
Other systems of names and numbers were then declared informally to be criminal and it was "my way or the highway" by administrative fiat bt a couple of yanks. How the rest of the world was suppose do accept this I do not undrant.
ISOC has done well in this ecosystem but they really should be honest and just roll the ISOC into ICANN and IETF. It's really one company and ISOC is jus the marketing part.
"It's all just marketing" - Dave Crocker.
I get asked all the time what to do next and never know. Now I do. Somebody should give Putin a fish tank with some Blue Gularis, and te rest will sort itself out just fine I think.
But that's what ISOC is for. Have you seen the stuff they post? ISOC chapter lke to say "whoaaaaaa, we distance ourselves from that mothership stuff" and to a large extent they do. And they put on good events. But that's above and beyond the primary purpose, to have bunch of followers that agree v6 uber alles, icann and arin and good and god bless jon postel. At what point did it ever look like anything different?
It's also a good retirement fund. The I990's are online.
That's what ISOC does from my observations. Nice people. Terrible organization.
Barry Shein My involvement with ICANN began in 2008 when someone from their nominating board asked me if I'd put my name in for the board of directors.
I knew what ICANN was but hadn't given them much thought up to that point and asked whether I'd be expected to show up at their soon to be held Paris meeting. He said yes you should so I did and went to most meetings since other than recently.
Richard Sexton Sure. You wrote the textbook on TCP. Optics baby. Do it by email? Silly Barry! It' not like you could manage or build a network that way. Other than than the UUCP and TCP networks that is.
I guess my point is too, ISC has the list of usenet newsgroup names, it's realy not ay different than the root zone, they're both just files kicking around a server there someplace and they've always been there. They were born there.
Look at the differnce in changing those two files. Why because people that have nothing to do wiht the net say so for personal gain.
I'm still not sure why we put up with this. I thought taxation without representation as a big deal in the US.
Scott Brim Have you looked on their website?
Richard Sexton Have you?
Barry Shein I have, from time to time, mostly platitudes and some invitations to join or form a local chapter.
Craig Partridge ISOC was created when it was realized, c. 1989, that the IAB and IETF and IANA were making defacto standards without any legal structure around them -- making the various participants liable to civil suits from companies/vendors/individuals who felt a particular standards decision harmed them. So Vint went off to create ISOC, which took a bit over 2 years. At the same time, Vint being a public-spirited guy, he felt that an ISOC w/o a broader purpose was a waste and so he sought to imbue ISOC with a larger Internet-related mission. But when you read their website saying "provide an organizational home for and financial support for the Internet standards process" you should read "we're the organization to sue".
Barry Shein I guess I sort of understood that legal aspect and even mentioned it in my post.
But my impression is they present themselves as a member-based organization with a much larger mission of perhaps advocacy?
For example I don't think Andrew's linked statement can be summarized as "we're the organization to sue".
Looking at the IETF budget just now I do see about $2.6M from ISOC, perhaps 40% of their budget income.
I'm actually a little surprised the IETF's budget is only around $7M but not in a bad way.
Barry Shein Compare and contrast with ICANN's budget which is about $140M.
Granted ICANN has revenue streams specific to their activities, and significant legal expenses largely around contract management.
Richard Sexton "You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.
You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.
You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don't exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract. This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different."
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace
Richard Sexton http://rs79.vrx.palo-alto.ca.us/.../jpb/uncle_johns_band.jpg
Richard Sexton Would is sound better if John and Yoko's son explained it to you?
Smoke 'em if ya got 'em.
Eliot Lear Barry, I agree largely with Craig, but they've since gone on to do several other things that I think are important. You know about their policy work. However, the Connect360 work to help connect developing countries has been very useful. They've worked to get IXPs up and running, to do training, and to work with the various CRAs so that the cost of communication drops. It's great work.
The other thing they've been doing is working on small programs to help improve infrastructure security. One in particular involves improving the robustness of BGP and the deployment of BGPSEC.
You don't hear a lot about these sorts of things, because they're very much "nose to the grindstone", but they're quite important.
Barry Shein I know less about their policy work than you might imagine.
But all this is a bit too specific, I was trying to gibe what their mission was with their public statements, invitations to anyone to "join", chapters, etc.
Maybe we sort of missed each other because tho I've dropped in at a few IETF meetings I've never really been involved with IETF that much other than incidentally in online technical and policy discussions which are focused on some topic.
But there's still this at least appearance that the public, or at least a much broader segment of the public than those involved in what you describe, should be interested in and join, perhaps even "get involved in", ISOC
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Richard Sexton " help connect developing countries"
To do what? Prepare a new market for ISOC brand services?
This excuses has been used before.
And even it it were true (it isn't) how does that justify ISOC barging in ans saying they're in charge of things other people built?
You know what dictators say when they take over a contry? "It's for the stability of the nation. They realy say that, check yourself.
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Eliot Lear Barry one of the things that ISOC has struggled with is the chapters. I think one of the big challenges for the new CEO is to make the chapters relevant, and by extension, make ISOC relevant to people, but he can only really accomplish that goal if there is something that people really want done. And the chapters sort of break up into two different groups: developed countries, where nobody cares because things work well enough, and developing countries, where... not so much.
Richard Sexton Everybody in Africa has a phone now. It's electricity they don't have. What is it you think ISOC is doing in Africa exactly?
Marc Stephan Nkouly, quick yes or no question, have you heard of ISOC?
Also, four decades of this, this was the NSF's justification "oh but they help impoverished countries". That doesn't make the bad things alright.
Richard Sexton Also what a great way to spy on poeple.
Marc Stephan Nkouly Richard Sexton , yeah I know them because am interested in INTERNET TECHNOLOGY , but very few people around me even imagine they exist. On other hand I admit not knowing much about their business models.
Richard Sexton "ISOC was created when it was realized, c. 1989, that the IAB and IETF and IANA were making defacto standards without any legal structure around them -"
Because that worked.
The 1974 IAB debacle in Montreal cused Sean Doran to write a great screen "ISOC - it seeks overall control"
Let me hear you say that again;
" IAB and IETF and IANA were making defacto standards without any legal structure around them"
So? You think a bunch of lawyers will make this better?? Can youshow where that's worked before?
Remember when we did that on Usenet? That must be why it's in at least one Guinness book as the biggest thing man ever built. Oh wait we never did. j/k. But it's in there.
"making the various participants liable to civil suits from companies/vendors/individuals "
That's theur problem. You don't tax everyone to solve big business' problems.
" So Vint went off to create ISOC"
Funny, Tony said he did it. Whatever.
"you should read "we're the organization to sue"."
Why would anybody want to sue ISOC? They don't do anything.
The counter point here is ISOC wasn't asked for help.
They showed up and said they were in charge. Check for yourself.
You Show me where on NANOG or NEWDOM or anywhere like that people said "oh crap, all we need is ISOC to throw some lawyers in here that'll fix everything"
I was there. It never happened. If you can show it did, please do so now.
Let me add, is this voluntary?ISOC wasn't invited, can we ask the to go away and let the intake it's organic course? If so, please do that now in the name of all decency.
But its not an option.
Can you explain how this is different from a dictatorship?
This was not one of Clinton's better moves but it was cool to get a call fro the White House.Embarrassingly I thought it was a prank and called the back after they suggested I do that. Oopsie. I think what I said was "fuck off who are you did Tom put you up to this?" Awkward.
ICANN was not born in the spirit of *cooperation* used to build and run the net. Too many shadows.
The spirit of cooperation implied in this note from Becky that enabled icann was something there were no signs of after the fact. They'd offer ideas, we'd point out why they were bad, and they'd just spin it differently avoid the appearance f what they were trying to do and do it away. After a few years we stopped as it was pointless. Note the Boston Working Group disbanded after ICANN was formed. They were mostly lawyers anyway.
Nice "spin" Craig but I'm afraid it's just that and complete nonsense.
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Craig Partridge Richard -- I was the IETF/IAB meeting in DC in 1990 with the lawyers where it was revealed we were at risk of lawsuits. At the end of the meeting Vint said "I'll go create an Internet Society to solve this liability issue." While the meeting was never publicized (for obvious reasons) there are still at least half a dozen participants who can vouch for it happening. If you have trouble with that reality, enjoy spinning.
Richard Sexton So you agree this wasn't asked for.
Thank you for confirming that. I don't know if you're new here or not and to be honest I don't recall seeing your name but usually things that affect THE ENTIRE NETWORK are discussed before one guy decides to tell us all how it's going to be.
Let's not forget that there was no actual legal threat, that was imaginary . The only actual threat came from Ambler in 98 and if you're telling me ISOC exists because Vint couldn't talk to Ambler that's still not justification.
You still haven't answered the question if the uninvited guest can be asked to leave. It if can't it's not a guest is it?
To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize"
Barry Shein Craig is a venerable member of the internet community and has been as long as I've had any involvement.
That said I can understand why people working on standards would want some sort of indemnification.
Invariably standards will, for example, seem to favor one vendor over another even where that is not the intent.
Again, for example and along the same lines, where there is a need vendors have often produced solutions at their own expense prior to standardization.
Generally the final standard might only codify one of these solutions or some amalgam.
This can cost vendors significant money and they might even imagine unfairly or as a result of some real or imagined unfair influence in the standards processes.
So pre-emptive indemnification is not only reasonable but critical to any standard organization's ability to function.
Richard Sexton Barry Shein So are you but you wern't there either, Barry. I'm sure Craig has been around ages but it's a big net and not all parts intersect. If Craig was active in the dns arena in that period I apologize for not recognizing that ends am truly surprises I missed him somehow.
% grep -i partridge *
Nada. Did he use a different name back then, I can't see anything in any dns mailing list ever from him. Are my records incomplete?
If not this is revisionist nonsense. There's actually a fair bit that happened before 2008, B. One day we should catch up.
Craig Partridge Richard Sexton Wrong mailing list. You should look at the archives of NAMEDROPPERs -- which is where DNS work was done in the 1980s. I also helped debug the earliest versions of BIND. Oh yes, and invented MX RRs (see RFC 974). And invented anycast addressing. 😀
Barry Shein Richard, you can show up and piss in the punch bowl but don't be shocked if no one wants to have a drink.
Richard Sexton Look at all the fucks I give.
It's important the truth get out for a change.
Also, I'm the loyal opposition in Becky's letter. The law and sausage, etc.
Barry Shein I have no criticism of ISOC at least in part because I have very little idea about what they do, as I said.
I suspect whatever it is they do is at least good-natured and constructive mostly because I know a lot of those involved and that's how I would describe them.
Richard Sexton That's wonderfully naive and like saying "the initial icann board was formed in an open and transparent manner".
Also, y not both?
Barry Shein The ICANN board has some specific functions but other than going for a nuclear option, which they could do I'd imagine, have a lot less control over what's done in the organization's name than many imagine.
Again that might be the board's fault but it is what it is.
Bob Frankston I too have work with ISOC but their meaning of "Internet" is fuzzy and is more about the social consequences than the underlying concepts.
Attempts to form a Boston Chapter have gotten nowhere because it's not clear why one would exist. As for ICANN ... a rent extraction agency that has unleashed 404's upon the world ... but that's another conversion,
Still, other than ISOC how does one attempt to coalesce ....
Richard Sexton How do you know it didn't just start? You only ever know after the fact.
But, to answer the question make a list called dns coalescence and gateway to a group here and administer the rules of civil discourse and it'll probably pop out the other end. There always were lots of good ideas and poeple willing to do things the problem was interference done not for reasons stated.
Barry Shein I could make a list of people who at one time or another have contacted me to tell me they're pulling together a Boston ISOC chapter and I'd say ok, sometimes I'd drop by their organizing meeting, then nothing...
Bob Frankston We actually managed to have two or three meetings in a row till it faded away. As Scott Bradner ...
Barry Shein Possibly a local record!
Barry Caplan In that case, can I be a Porterville California chapter? We can use the prestige even if I'm the only member, and we can make you guys honorary members and meet online!
Barry Shein As far as I can tell, yes, you certainly can.
Here's a link to the application form. It'd be nice if they spell-checked it...
Application to Form a Chapter | Internet Society
Richard Sexton Pursuant to Craig's comment about how bringing lawyers in helps solve technical problems I wasn't able to find where it helped exactly.
But I did find one example where telcos and lawyers aren't always what they seem.
Oddly, I worked for the Telautograph corporation that used to be called the Gray Telephone and Telegraph company. This is why Elisha Gray is the second first guy to invent the telephone: Lawyers.
1876 to 1878
11 February 1876: Elisha Gray invents a liquid transmitter for use with a telephone, but he did not make one.
14 February 1876, about 9:30 am: Gray or his lawyer brings Gray's patent caveat for the telephone to the Washington, D.C. Patent Office (a caveat was a notice of intention to file a patent application. It was like a patent application, but without a request for examination, for the purpose of notifying the patent office of a possible invention in process).
14 February 1876, about 11:30 am: Bell's lawyer brings to the same patent office Bell's patent application for the telephone. Bell's lawyer requests that it be registered immediately in the cash receipts blotter.
14 February 1876, about 1:30 pm: Approximately two hours later Elisha Gray's patent caveat is registered in the cash blotter. Although his caveat was not a full application, Gray could have converted it into a patent application and contested Bell's priority, but did not do so because of advice from his lawyer and his involvement with acoustic telegraphy. The result was that the patent was awarded to Bell.
AT&T: you will.
Richard Sexton Well isn't this a trip down memory lane? Here's how it went on the Bell side of things, the newspaper article from what happened is online. I used to work for the paper as a kid running their computers. It's like old home week for me it is.
"In order to facilitate his regular chess game, Hugh Cossart Baker Jr. leased four telephones so that he and his friends could contact each other directly about their chess moves. Melville Bell (Alexander's father) came to Hamilton and installed three telephones on Baker's private telegraph line, and in the house of his friend C.D. Cory's sister, J. R. Thompson."
June 20, 1877: First telephone exchange opens in Hamilton
Bob Frankston Hmm ... I should ask the local historic society if there is a plaque on the house Elisha Gray lived in at the end if his left here in Newton.