[IANAtransition] DMARC snafu as a wake-up call
mfidelman at meetinghouse.net
Sat Apr 12 13:06:02 UTC 2014
Maybe this is a little off-topic, but it strikes me that recent events -
notably "Yahoo breaks every mailing list in the world including the
highlights a really big pitfall of a purely consensus process of
Internet governance - i.e., one large bad actor can do tremendous
damage, particularly if a couple more go along with it. (Speaking as
one who manages a couple of dozen email lists - I'm tearing my hair out
right now dealing with the damage).
As it relates to the issue at hand: We all know the kinds of things
that go wrong with various parts of DNS and other things that rely on
Internet numbering - when everyone is behaving properly. Things could
go very, very badly if one of the core actors (like IANA, or the
operator of one of the root nameservers, or a registry) decided to make
an arbitrary change to how they do things, or simply got lazy.
So far, the process has been working pretty well - the Internet keeps
growing and functioning - through a combination of billions of people,
and millions of organizations that "play nice with each other," some
core institutions that operate through consensus, and a tiny amount of
oversight and accountability (via the NTIA contract) that has never
really been exercised (or had to be exercised). As close as anybody has
come to exercising even the threat of punitive measures was when ICANN's
contract came up for renewal.
It strikes me that the current system of checks and balances pretty much
works - but.... the current snafu with Yahoo and DMARC seems to
highlight what can go wrong when those checks and balances fail. Seems
like a lesson to keep in mind as we think about NTIA, ICANN, and IANA.
(And..... If anybody has some thoughts about an appropriate "Internet
Governance" response to the Yahoo/DMARC debacle, that would be both
illustrative to the current situation, and immediately helpful. At
least it strikes me that when a large actor, puts a protocol into
production, that is nothing more than an informational internet-draft,
not even an RFC, and wreaks wide-spread damage - that seems to merit
some kind of institutional response with teeth.)
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is. .... Yogi Berra
More information about the ianatransition