By Glenn McKnight and Joe Catapano
The 33rd meeting of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN 33) recently wrapped-up in Chicago, Ill. U.S.A at the famous Drake Hotel. The venue is steeped in history, including one bar that prides continuous operation from the day after the repeal of alcohol prohibition in the U.S. in 1933 to present day, and another featuring the names of legendary baseball player Joe DiMaggio and movie star Marilyn Monroe carved into the wood.
The hotel with the storied past had much to offer in the present as well, as ARIN activities commenced with a newcomer session followed by the ARIN social event. More than 150 individuals from across the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean participated in-person and remotely in the meeting, which is held twice a year (the next ARIN meeting is Oct. 9-10, 2014 in Baltimore, Md. USA). Fourteen policy proposals were up for discussion, which was an ARIN record. Feedback was taken from the floor as well as remotely.
Two non-policy related presentations of note were a recap of activities of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) [PDF, 2.96 MB] and an Internet Governance update, the latter of which was delivered by ARIN President & CEO John Curran. The Internet Governance update focused on the recent announcement by the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) requesting ICANN convene a process to develop a proposal to transition NTIA’s stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the Internet’s global multistakeholder community. That includes determining how the global community can contribute input to a draft proposal based on initial community feedback during ICANN 49 in Singapore. ICANN staff made themselves available to discuss the draft proposal during the ARIN meeting. Elise Gerich, ICANN’s VP for IANA and Technical Functions, was also on hand to present a report on IANA performance and activities, a standing agenda item for ARIN meetings.
ARIN 33 was also a platform for North America Regional At-Large Organization (NARALO) outreach. NARALO brochures were distributed and discussions held with various delegates during breaks and social time. The lack of breakout meetings made outreach at times challenging, but having a NARALO presence important to expanding the reach of the organization; participation in more meetings like ARIN are key to attracting future growth in the number of At-Large structures and members at ICANN.
The level of technical detail covered at ARIN is significant. In conversations with long-time ARIN attendees we were told it isn’t uncommon for it to take attending three or four ARIN meetings to feel comfortable in the policy discussions. We found it helpful to spend significant time getting interpretations from technical experts and ARIN staff to understand the proper context of the policy discussions.
In the spirit of bottom-up policy-making, the ARIN approach involves community submissions vetted through the technical advisory committee which are then passed to staff for analysis and recommendations – followed by public discussion and a free vote. Alas, like all good policy, the vote’s not taken till it’s discussed fully.
Glenn McKnight is NARALO Secretariat and the Secretary/Treasurer of the Canada Chapter of The Internet Society
Joe Catapano is Coordinator, ICANN Global Stakeholder Engagement for North America