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IETF 98 - Some Impressions - Mid Week

Mirjam Kühne — 30 Mar 2017
Here is the next in a series of updates from the IETF 98 in Chicago. My focus was on measurements, human rights and education.

 Please also see my IETF 98 updates from Sunday, Monday and Friday.

Chicago skyline
 

Human Rights and IETF Protocols

The research group on human rights protocol considerations (hrpc) has been established mid 2015. I heard there were heated discussions last time between the “traditional” protocol developers and the human rights people. So, I was curious to see how it goes this time. It was a very interesting meeting with a number of remote presentors. One of them said that “ethics is the new green”, and I was wondering if our work on Ethics in Measurements would be a good contribution for this research group. Human rights and technology was also the topic of the plenary on Wednesday evening. It was great to see Niels ten Oever, the chair of the hrpc research group and a relative newcomer at the IETF present next to Dave Clark who chaired the Internet Activities Board in the early 1980s (that is the group which later became the Internet Architecture Board). Both Niels and Dave agreed that technologogy is not value-neutral, and urged the IETF community to continue to embrace this topic. Dave told us that some asked him recently: “With so much bad stuff going on on the Internet these days, do you think it was really worth it?” and he felt that it was a mistake early on in the Internet design to stay away from the application developments.

Education activities

Throughout the week I'm having lots of side meetings with various people to coordinate the IETF's education and mentoring activities. I was happy to see that Jari Arkko, the IETF chair (until ALissa Cooper took this role over from him on Wednesday evening) sent a mail to the IETF mailing list announcing the establishment of the Education and Mentoring Directorate. That new directorate will give all related activities a proper home and more structure. We are still looking for volunteers to help with some of these activities.

WG Chairs Lunch

In addition to organising tutorials on the Sunday before the IETF, the Education Team also puts together a platform for training and  information exchange for the IETF working group chairs. This time - among other topics - we had a very interesting discussion about the use of GitHub and how this is changing some of the IETF processes. This will edfinitely be a topic that will continue to be on the agenda for the IETF and for the Education Team.

 

RIPE Atlas and the IETF network

The IETF network crew has been hosting a RIPE Atlas probe since the beginning of the RIPE Atlas project. Unfortunately it stopped working properly during IETF 98. So, Robert and I went up to the NOC on the 40th floor, enjoyed the beautiful view and tried to debug the probe. It is not entirely dead, but it isn't connecting back to the "mothership" properly. In the end we agreed to take it home to Amsterdam to further investigate what's wrong and hopefully fix it. Not only is the NOC team emotionally attached to this early version of an RIPE Atlas probe, but they also love to fix things rather than throwing them away and replacing them with new equipment. It was interesting to hear how the NOC team uses the RIPE Atlas data to test certain network properties (e.g. geolocation). This might become a separate RIPE Labs article.

Careful handover of ill RIPE Atlas probe in the IETF NOC
 

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