[IANAtransition] [IANAxfer] DMARC snafu as a wake-up call

Vint Cerf vint at google.com
Sat Apr 12 13:08:08 UTC 2014

i wonder whether Yahoo's action, causing so much pain, will ultimately have
the effect of a self-inflicted wound?


On Sat, Apr 12, 2014 at 9:06 AM, Miles Fidelman
<mfidelman at meetinghouse.net>wrote:

> Folks,
> 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 IETF's"
> (http://www.ietf.org/mail-archive/web/ietf/current/msg87153.html)
> 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.)
> Miles Fidelman
> --
> In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
> In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra
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