Regional internet registries

18 Dec 2017 12:15h - 13:15h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the 12th Internet Governance Forum]

Mr Chris Buckridge, External Relations Manager, Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC), welcomed the audience and explained the reasons this open forum was organised. This is mainly to educate people on the activities of Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), their processes, and the issues the RIR community has to deal with. The moderator then asked all participants to introduce themselves and possibly come up with their own topics of interest.

Mr Paul Wilson, Director General, Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), talked about the RIRs’ mission and responsibilities.

Initially Wilson described and discussed the relationship between the five regional RIRs and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The RIRs predate ICANN and so do their policies. Roughly speaking, ICANN deals with names and the RIRs with numbers. Policy in the RIRs comes from the community, is created by the community, and is an open, transparent, documented, bottom-up process. Each region develops its policies independently, but they observe one another’s processes in a way that reaches a type of global coherence. The speaker spent some time describing the process used by RIRs for policy creation, and encouraged all those with any interest to become involved in that process. All are welcome to take part.

One area currently requiring policy decisions is the transfer from Internet protocol version 4 to Internet protocol version 6 (IPv4 to IPv6). The supply of IPv4 addresses is running out. Wilson had slides to demonstrate the adoption of IPv6. He noted that this is not happening only in the high tech developed world; India, for example, has shown a recent surge in IPv6 adoption. Content also plays a large part with Facebook and Google both showing a high percentage of service via IPv6.

Issues still needing policy attention are how to link v4 addresses with v6 addresses as the Internet needs to run as a single entity, how to manage the new open market in v4 address space in which those with unused v4 addresses can sell to regions in need, and the problem of the previous unregistered transfers of v4 addresses which have left the RIRs possibly not knowing who really has the address in question.

This final issue of possibly not being able to establish the ownership of particular addresses is an important part of the relationship between RIRs and law enforcement/government. The RIRs are governed by their community created policies, and it is important that law enforcement should recognise and understand these policies and what they allow. RIRs provide training for governments and law enforcement in these policies and processes. They work together with law enforcement in responding to incidents of criminal activity.  The RIRs refer cases to law enforcement and respond to subpoenas and court orders. There is an urgent need to be able to link real activities with real people. Activities of the RIRs also cross over into the area of ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), which has a public safety working group. The RIRs are able to provide numbering information for ICANN’s public safety activities. There is particular interest these days in the accuracy and completeness of the information collected by the registries. From the public safety point of view the speed with which the information can be provided is often critical.

by Deirdre Williams