NetMission Academy 2022: Training 1 Summary – Internet Governance Ecosystem & Internet Infrastructure

Edited by Jenna Fung, Rounok Jahan Khan ,Siriracha Kaeoyong, Luke Rong Guang Teoh, Daria Stepovaya, Dalili Nuradli

On 6th January 2022, the first training session of NetMission Academy 2022 was held online. This session was about the Internet governance ecosystem and Internet Infrastructure, as we believe building a solid understanding of the Internet governance community and the basic knowledge about the Internet are critical to participation in the Internet governance policy-making process.

The session has started with an introduction on the brief history of the Internet and background of Internet governance delivered by Edmon Chung, CEO of DotAsia Organisation. We were honored to have invited Pablo Hinojosa (APNIC), Jiankang Yao (CNNIC), Sabrina Lim (ICANN), and Jennifer Chung (DotAsia Organisation) as guest speakers to exchange insights and share their invaluable comments with our participants.

This year, we have seven training sessions for 40 participants from all around the Asia-Pacific region. Participants are split into 5 working groups, each group is responsible to conduct a presentation to introduce one of the following Internet organizations or Internet bodies that are taking important roles in our Internet governance community. They are (1) Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), (2)Engineering Task Force (IETF), (3)Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN),(4) Internet Governance Forum (IGF), and (5) National & Regional Initiatives (NRIs), and Youth Initiatives.

Below are the brief summary of the presentations covered during the session.

Regional Internet Registries (RIRs)

This part was presented by Afiq Rahimi Rosdan and Ramma Nisar.

Regional internet registries (RIRs) are non-profit organizations, this presentation it’s separated into 5 parts. The first part was function & mission to provide essential services as a regional internet registry and to support Internet development. There are 5 RIRs: (1) ARIN (North America, which includes Canada, the United States, and parts of the Caribbean), (2) RIPE NCC (Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia), (3) APNIC (Asia and the Pacific Rim), (4) LACNIC (Latin American and the Caribbean), and (5) AFRINIC (African continent’s). They support large regional entities, including Internet Service Providers (ISPs), educational institutions, governments, large corporations, and organizations. All of them keep tabs on the IP address resource pool, protect available IP addresses, protect and promote the policies of the Internet and serve as a focal point for input from the Internet communities in each RIR. 

In the Asia Pacific, APNIC is the region’s Internet registry. There are 5 missions laid down by APNIC. In short, the missions are to provide, assist, improve, support, and serve. The second part is core principles, which have 3 main ideas by providing and promoting, being an authoritative voice, coordinating and supporting all activities of RIRs.

The third part is the structure of APNIC which talks about memberships. It is based on a not-for-profit organization, open to all individuals, is elected on votes, and is increasing the importance for the development of society. 

The fourth part is about what RIRs handle, including (1) responding, managing, distributing, and registering for the regional management of Internet number resources, (2) creating and developing its local policies, (3) ensuring globally fair distribution, and (4) coordination and co-operation between the RIRs. 

Our speaker director Pablo Hinojosa said the unique identifier was called an IP address. The APNIC was located in Australia. They applied a new standard called IPv6 then they have a strong commitment to infrastructure, to training that they serve 56 economies from Afghanistan to the last island of the Pacific rim. Those economies were involved in the next generation, which was why they have the academy.

Engineering Task Force (IETF)

This part was presented by Luke Rong Guang Teoh and Rameesa Khan.

Internet Engineering Task Force, or as it’s more commonly known, IETF, is an organization that focuses on developing and promoting voluntary Internet Standards. IETF was created back in 1986 and was responsible for only nearer-term engineering and technology transfer issues but IETF has derived from its original purpose. Currently, IETF’s mission’s formal definition is to make the Internet work better by producing high quality, relevant technical documents that influence the way people design, use, and manage the Internet by adhering to the following 5 principles: (1) open process, (2) technical competence, (3)volunteer core, (4) rough consensus and running code, and (5) protocol ownership. 

Additionally, there are 3 purposes of IETF, namely: 

  • Develop and maintain Internet service or provide services over the internet.
  • To ensure that technology is secure, scalable, is manageable, and is functioning as intended. 
  • Create non-mandatory standards. 

The scope of IETF is not clearly defined due to multiple factors but to summarize IETF’s scope in 1 sentence, it is simply “above the wire, below the application”. 

They are 5 categories of IETF standards, including (1) RFCs, (2) Internet-Drafts, (3) Intellectual Property Rights, (4) Standard Process, and (5) Publishing and Accepting RFCs.

When it comes to a standard procedure of submitting a proposal to IETF, there are 10 steps to follow which start from submission, general consideration; IPR-Related Notices required in Internet-Drafts (I-Ds); Optional IPR-Related Notices, Internet-Draft Boilerplate, Formatting, Naming and Submitting, Expiring, Intellectual Property Rights, and finally Further Reading. Lastly, when it comes to the IETF meeting procedure, there are 3 things to note: 

  • Join IETF’s “mailing list” for announcements and updates.
  • Always be open to participants/enthusiasts as well as newcomers.
  • Pay the meeting fee that does not include hotel and travel costs.

By the end of the session, one of the participants, Tien Nguyen Dao raised a question to our speaker, Jiankang Yao, about the difference between IETF and IGF. Yao answered Tien’s question by explaining “the layers” of Internet governance. Yao stated that IETF focuses more on working on protocols and standards for technologies, while IGF is mostly about policy, so IGF does not overlap with IETF. In short, the IETF plays a salient role in ensuring the development and promotion of voluntary Internet standards in today’s society.

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

This part was presented by Stella Anne Ming Hui Teoh and Omar Qayyum Hamdan.

ICANN is an acronym for Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers which was formed in 1998. It is in charge of coordinating unique addresses from all over the world. The objectives of ICANN are to strengthen security, improve the effectiveness of ICANN’S multistakeholder, evolve the unique identifier systems to continue to serve the needs of the Internet user, and address geopolitical issues impacting ICANN’S mission to ensure a single and globally interoperable Internet. There are three relevant groups which concern the functions of ICANN which are the supporting organization representing different interests on the internet, advisory committees that provide advice and recommendation for ICANN, and technical Liaison Group device basic protocols for Internet technologies. One of the many initiatives of ICANN is first, working with DNS root server operators and other parties to enhance the governance and technical evolution. Secondly, conducting partnerships with relevant stakeholders to improve the shared responsibility, security, and stability. Thirdly, collaborating with the relevant hardware, software, and service vendors enhances knowledge concerning DNS safety and security.

As explained by the remarkable speaker, Sabrina Lim, most importantly, ICANN upholds the term that all users deserve a say on how the Internet is run. Furthermore, unique identifiers usually refer to domain names, IP addresses, and protocol parameters. ICANN regulates the technical aspects of the Internet which ensures that the network is working all the time. The policy-making which happens in ICANN can be portrayed as a triangle whereby each corner consists of ICANN organization, community, and board. Interestingly, the triangle is lying down which means each party is equal to the other as there are no hierarchies.  The three parties are so critical because policy recommendations themselves come from the community.

Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

This part was presented by Wan Hafiz Irshad and Amasha Rathnayake.

Edmon Chung, the CEO of DotAsia Organization mentioned in his closing remarks” It’s not just about what the internet can do for us but also what we can do for the internet?” and that is one of the core reasons for the existence of IGF or Internet Governance Forum as we have discussed in our presentation.

In the first part of our presentation, we’ve mentioned that IGF is a platform where multiple internet stakeholders are given equal importance hence IGF functions as a neutral space where people can lay down the issues that might be of concern to them without the fear that those issues might be disregarded or ignored. 

IGF ushers in diverse groups of stakeholders thus helping in fluid exchange of information and noble practices, which in turn contributes benevolently to the development of the internet.

In the second part, the core principles of IGF has been discussed which is to provide a safe platform for the discussion of internet-related issues; making full use of the expertise of the academic, scientific, and technical communities available for facilitating the fluid exchange of information; to enrich the sustainability, robustness, security, stability, and development of the Internet.

In the third part, we’ve shown that IGF is divided into two groups- Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) and IGF Secretariat Group.

These two groups have their functions. MAG advises the UN secretary-general on the program of IGF meetings and IGF assists MAG with various tasks. 

In the fourth part, participation models have been established showing the percentages of virtual participants by region and gender, and stakeholders.

And in the final part, some of the key issues that IGF deals with have been addressed. Issues such as building trust, protecting data privacy, ensuring that good quality of the internet is accessible to the majority of the global population are highlighted.

National & Regional Initiatives (NRIs), and Youth Initiatives.

This part was presented by Maria Lam Nha Truc & Annie Qurra Tul Ain Nisar.

National Regional Initiatives, or NRIs for short, is a community that organizes IGF meetings on a national, subregional, and regional basis. Meetings are not only held on an annual basis but periodically depending on the NRIs’ needs.

It is important to point out that NRIs don’t have a legal structure like other organizations. 

The mission of NRIs is to discuss internet governance issues from the perspective of their communities to equitably collaborate on internet concerns while working under the global IGF’s core principles. 

NRIs has a bottom-up approach, as the concerned communities are the one to start the initiative. NRIs are responsible for finding their resources and, as a matter of fact, finding. 

Though NRIs is not an organization in the traditional sense, it has a certain structure consisting of four committees: Organizing committee, Steering committee, Executive committee, National or Regional Multistakeholder Advisory Group committee.

NRIs have six core principles, which could be summoned up as the following:

  • stakeholders should be aware of the agenda, 
  • transparent manner, 
  • solid means for public consultation
  • focused on the needs of the respective community
  • meetings free of charge
  • stakeholders diversity

As it has principles, it means that it also has responsibilities. In cases of NRIs it has five, which is: 

  • ensure transparency 
  • communicate with communities
  • seeking available resources 
  • encourage the engagement
  • organize public consultations

Key issues that NRIs discuss can fall under these topics:

  • Cybersecurity  
  • Data Future of jobs 
  • Digital economy 
  • Content regulation 
  • Access and digital inclusion 
  • Digital rights