Lower casing

John C Klensin klensin at jck.com
Sun Jan 30 07:25:08 CET 2011

--On Sunday, January 30, 2011 3:16 AM +0100 "J-F C. Morfin"
<jfc at morfin.org> wrote:

> However, I would like to underline something very important.
> Until now, all of us and IEFT work under the assumption that
> te Internet is global. For two days this is no more. When
> Mubarak closed the Egyptian networks, he closed the business
> of many people (mostly arabic) around the world because Egypt
> offers good site hosting. If closing access to foreign hosts
> (as you implied when commenting on Tan Tin Wee presentation in
> Geneva, by the way) becomes a possible political move, it
> implies that there is no international trustability any more.
> If you want to offer a service which is independant from
> foreign laws (and for us, this also means US law) it should be
> local, once Govs start to locally decide about their
> international internet zone and foreign customes. If Mubarak
> did it, who's next? Barak Obama?


I try to keep me personal political opinions and the IETF
separate, but this part of your note calls for a comment.   I
don't think our design decisions ever rested on the assumption
that the Internet needed to be global or that the rest of the
network couldn't work if some countries or other entities
weren't connected yet (a situation we have dealt with for many
years) or decided to not participate.  Indeed, you and others
have seen notes from me (and some others) advocating higher
degrees of damage isolation -- making it easier for countries or
other entities who don't want to interwork with the [rest of]
the Internet to withdraw without causing harm to anyone else and
their connectivity.

>From that point of view, the recent shutdowns of parts of the
net are unfortunate politically and socially, but don't cause
harm to the network architecture.  They are actually (and sadly)
part of a very tradition of countries closing off borders and/or
communications in times of crisis that predates the Internet by
centuries.   Certainly such actions are problematic to anyone
who assumed that a particular country was a good place to host
servers, communications hubs, or other assets but that, again,
is nothing new.

So, sure, if one wants to offer a service that is as free as
possible from foreign laws --especially laws in countries one
doesn't trust-- then one should keep the critical infrastructure
for that service local and subject to local laws.  Conversely,
if one wants to offer a service that is as free as possible from
local/ domestic laws, then one should arrange to have the
critical infrastructure somewhere else, preferably somewhere
else about which one can make reliable predictions of behavior.
And those principles apply, and have applied for centuries, to
lots of things in addition to the Internet.


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