Net's druids thrash out specs for an independent IETF

This matters because right now there's no formal structure, which makes things tenuous

Internet engineering task force logo

The Internet Engineering Task Force has taken another step on its road to independence, publishing a for-discussion proposal covering its likely administrative arrangements.

It's part of a process we first reported in April of this year, designed to formalise the arrangements that keep the 'net's technical standards flowing. The effort also aims to give the IETF a formal administrative existence, something it's lacked despite being around since the early days of the Internet.

Creating a proper entity matters for the day-to-day administrivia of signing off spending and the like, and the group has published an outline of how it proposes to structure itself.

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In this Internet-Draft, Brian Haberman, Joseph Lorenzo Hall and Jason Livingood propose transferring responsibilities currently held by the Internet Administrative Director and the Internet Society (ISOC) to a newly-created company to handle those roles.

The board of the company would take over the work of the IETF Administrative Oversight Committee (IAOC), which currently provides the financial and administrative support the IETF needs to function.

A more formal existence for the IETF would also make fund-raising for the body easier, since donors would no longer be sending money to ISOC in the expectation that body would spend it on IETF functions.

The draft says the IETF company would be responsible for the IETFs operations (meetings and other activities), finances, fundraising, and compliance functions.

The Internet-Draft added that the IETF's operating company must maintain the transparency crucial to its operations: “whatever doesn't have a specific justification for being kept confidential, should be made public. There must exist a public list of confidential items, describing the nature of the information and the reason for confidentiality.”

The company would also need to remain responsive to its community, the draft stated, and will be responsible for exercising diligence to minimise risks to IETF participants and the IETF as a whole.

The draft also covers board and management responsibilities, board composition and recruitment, the make-up of an interim board for the setup period, and so on. ®

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