North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Regulatory intervention

  • From: Owen DeLong
  • Date: Fri Oct 07 13:14:51 2005

--On October 7, 2005 2:56:10 PM +0100 [email protected] wrote:

>> Even those IXs with MPLA policy have to rely on law and courts for
>> enforcement -- that is, those with guns.
> In the United States, as in most countries, there is an
> explicit separation of the courts from the enforcement
> of laws. For instance, in the United States, the Executive
> Branch is in charge of the guys with guns, while the Judicial
> branch only deals with making decisions about the application
> of the laws created by the Legislative branch. The laws
> are executed and enforced by the Executive branch, hence
> the name.
Not exactly.  I'll speak only of the US Federal structure, since
the states each have somewhat different ways in which they manage
their own collections of guys with guns.

At the federal level in the US, the executive branch has
(theoretically) limited charge over the guys with
guns which can (theoretically easily) be overridden by the
legislative branch.  Additionally, the Judicial branch has a
whole collection of guys with guns under their own direction
(we call them "Marshalls").  In terms of getting a guy
with a gun to assist you in resolving a civil dispute
(aka enforcing a contract), the process is thus:

1.	Demand offending party comply with contract
	in writing (send appropriate demand letters, etc.)
2.	Ask appropriate court for relief. (file suit)
3.	Serve notice to offending party (process service)
4.	Prosecute your case in court (the trial)
5.	If court finds in your favor, receive judgment.
6.	Provide certified copy of judgment to appropriate
	enforcement agency (the guys with guns), if any.
7.	Enforcement agency takes appropriate action based
	on court order.

This is a bit of an oversimplification, but, in Civil
cases, I think it shows that the judicial branch has
a slightly broader scope than you implied.

> Regulations also do not imply the involvement of governments.
> It is possible for industries to self-regulate such as the
> ARIN policies which are a product of the ARIN membership,
> i.e. companies who use IP addresses in their networks.
Mostly true.  However, ARIN policies are a product of both
the ARIN membership and the IP using community at large.
It is an important and good thing that the policy process is
not limited to ARIN members.

> If the press would truly understand this event then they would
> be reporting this as a *MAJOR* flaw in the business model of 
> the largest ISPs. The absence of regulation in Internet peering
> allows this type of situation to come about. It is my opinion
> that the network and the Internet business would both be stronger
> if there was some regulation of peering and IP/MPLS network 
> interconnection. 
If I had faith in any of the regulatory organizations that are likely
to attempt to do this having half a clue about what they were attempting
to regulate, I might be inclined to agree with you.  However, given
experience to date with any of the agencies I think are likely to
attempt this, I suspect your cure would likely turn out worse than
the current disease.  Now, if 3 or 4 more large ISPs were to start
approaching things the way this is going, things might get bad
enough to change my mind.

> A couple of good things can come out of this "open peering" model.
> One is that disclosure of the technical details, including packet
> drop, buffer consumption, and bandwidth, would lead to more reliable
> interconnects and the ability to provide quality of service SLAs 
> across provider networks. The other possible benefit is to develop
> more sophisticated interconnect variants such as MPLS VPN interconnects
> and CDN or multicast interconnects.
Sure, but, the likelihood of any of the large ISPs agreeing to such a
model is very close to zero, and, none of the potentially competent
regulators you describe stand a chance of meaningful regulation without
the participation of the large ISPs.  Don't get me started on the mess
that occurs when laws "Incorporate by reference" the policies of an
outside regulatory agency in order to give that agency the power
to regulate.  Generally, this does not turn out well.  (Look at
the mess that is the fire code/NFPA interconnect in many jurisdictions
within the US).  It is my considered opinion that any text which
shall have the force of law MUST meet the following criteria:

	+	Text must be available in the public domain without
		charge (nominal printing costs excepted where

	+	Text shall not be copyrighted except to the public

	+	Text, in its entirety shall have been reviewed and
		approved by an appropriate legislative body and
		any changes should require review and approval by
		said legislative body.


If it wasn't crypto-signed, it probably didn't come from me.

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