The RIPE code of conduct is ready. RIPE 83 is getting closer. And the community is back to business, coming together in a whole variety of endeavours and events to address changes and challenges in network operations, policy development, regional issues, sustainability, and much more.
Since my last update, we opened registration for the RIPE 83 meeting in November and the RIPE Programme Committee issued a call for presentations. Please think about topics you would like to see or propose, either during the plenary or in one of the working groups.
New RIPE Code of Conduct
I am very happy that the community reached consensus about a new code of conduct and I am confident that it provides a good foundation for how we as a community want to work with each other. The RIPE code of conduct will apply to all RIPE-related activities, including meetings and mailing lists. The document concludes the first of the tasks of the RIPE Code of Conduct Task Force and I would like to send a big thanks to the Task Force members who put a lot of effort into this and who did a great job in listening to the community. The Task Force will now work on a process for the Code of Conduct team selection and the reporting procedures for the Code of Conduct team.
I would also like to thank Vesna Manojlovic and Rob Evans, who have agreed to continue in their roles as Trusted Contacts until after RIPE 83.
Updating the Policy Development Process
The Policy Development Process was last reviewed and updated in September 2018. As well as giving attention to the appeals procedure based on what we learned from the first appeal we dealt with in the RIPE community, we looked at the document as a whole and will send an updated draft document to the RIPE Discussion list soon. We expect to discuss the new PDP at the community plenary at RIPE 83.
RIPE NCC Services WG Interim Session
On 6 September the RIPE NCC Services Working Group held another interim session to talk about the RIPE NCC’s cloud strategy. This was an opportunity for those who could not attend the earlier session held on 28 July to air their views on the topic. Felipe Victolla Silveira, Chief Operations Officer at the RIPE NCC, gave an updated version of the presentation he gave during the first interim session and asked the audience for feedback, which was generally positive. You can find the minutes and recording on the RIPE NCC Services WG webpages.
RIPE Database Requirements
The deadline for comments for the draft report published by the RIPE Database Requirements Task Force ended in August and the Task Force responded to a number of questions and comments that are currently being discussed on the RIPE Database working group mailing list. The Task Force is planning to issue the final report before RIPE 83. The community will then have to decide how to address each of the recommendations made in the report.
After the summer break, the number of online events is picking up again covering a whole range of topics of importance and interest to us as a community and as Internet users. Find below a short summary of some of the events I participated in in September (in chronological order):
NLNOG Day 2021
The Dutch Network Operators Group NLNOG decided to hold a physical meeting with remote participation. I believe this was one of the first communities who took the step to meet face-to-face. You can find a detailed report on RIPE Labs. I'm sure we can all learn a lot from their experience.
The South Eastern European Dialogue on Internet Governance (SEEDIG) is organising a series of events throughout the year. This time the topic was Sustainable Future - Twinning Green and Digital. Vesna Manojlovic, Community Builder at the RIPE NCC, who moderated this session, asked the two speakers many concrete and sometimes provocative questions and made sure the session stayed on topic. While Frederic Donck, President at DigitalGoes.green focused on how can we can make the Internet itself greener, Ilias Iakovidis, advisor at the European Commission's DG CONNECT, was primarily talking about how the Internet can help green other sectors, for instance by providing ICT solutions to farmers. Ilias talked about how such a collaboration can benefit both parties and ultimately increase sustainability.
The Digital Services Act (DSA) - A Game Changer for our Fundamental Rights
This session - organised by Patrick Breyer, Member of the Parliament for the Pirate Party, and very well moderated by Jennifer Baker - brought people from various organisations and backgrounds together - including, among others, the author Shoshana Zuboff (best known for her book on surveillance capitalism), a speaker from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the European Parliament’s Rapporteur on the DSA.
Werner Stengg, a member of the European Commission, said that enforcement of any new regulation is key. The lack of enforcement for other regulations, for instance the GDPR, has been a big driver for the DSA in the first place. In her closing remark, Shoshana Zuboff warned us not to get lost "in the weeds of downstream issues such as illegal content". We need to go upstream and outlaw data extraction, she said.
NIS2 Directive and NRENs
The new Network and Information Security Directive (or NIS2) was discussed on a number of RIPE mailing lists earlier this year leading to reactions sent to the European Commissions by the chairs of the Cooperation Working Group. Other parts of our community will also be affected by this new directive. Alf Moens, Senior Information Security Officer at GEANT, organised a webinar about the NIS2 Directive and how it will impact the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs).
After Alf's comprehensive summary of the current status of the directive, Edith Herczog, a member of the European Parliament, presented some more details about NIS2 and its twin directive, the Critical Entities Resilience (CER) Directive. Even for someone very familiar with the topic, one thing that's difficult here is getting the terminology right. The directives make a distinction between essential, critical and important infrastructure, but it's not always clear what category applies to your organisation. That said, it's pretty certain that these two directives will have an impact on infrastructure providers such as the NRENs.
Even though the NIS2 Directive will most likely not be in place before 2025, it is time to prepare. Just remember how long it took to prepare for the GDPR. What makes this difficult is the fact that the EU member states will have some freedom to implement the directive based on the situation in each country. What's good to see is how the NRENs, together with GEANT, are supporting each other in this journey by sharing information and documentation.
Even though the APNIC 52 meeting took place in a timezone that wasn't exactly convenient for me, I did manage to catch some of the sessions:
- In his presentation, Demystifying AS0, George Michaelson, responsible for Products and Services at APNIC, explained what AS0 is meant for and how you can use it in RPKI. I also enjoyed the Lightning Talk session, and especially the talk by Sheik Md Seum in which he described how they are providing affordable Internet access in Bangladesh by teaming up with tea stalls (half of which are run by women).
- The Women in ICT session at APNIC 52 focused on the fact that there are so few women presenting at our industry's events. The four excellent speakers shared some of the challenges they (and I think many of us) are facing and how to overcome them: language hurdles, finding a good topic, getting support from your manager/mentor/advisor, or lack of confidence in speaking in public.
Jen Linkova, co-chair of the RIPE IPv6 working group, who said she actually loves presenting described what works best for her: talk about something you are really excited about or something you are really good at. Even talking about stuff that went wrong is usually appreciated by the audience because we can all learn from it. Afifa Abbas, co-chair of the APNIC Programme Committee, also recommended not to try to be perfect. Usually, only 5-6% of all submissions get accepted immediately. All other submissions need more work. Programme Committee members can help you to improve your presentation. And ultimately ask yourself: What's the worst that can happen when your talk gets rejected the first time? Just do it!
Marconi Society Panel
The Marconi Society organised a panel called The Decade of Digital Inclusion: Issues that Keep us up a Night. The excellent panelists that came from a broad variety of backgrounds touched on both sociological and technological topics such as affordable access, access to "good" information and local content, the need for (not too much) regulation, the need for new business models (see above the story from Bangladesh as a good example), and a lot more. Unfortunately, the session was only scheduled for an hour. It could have easily gone on for a few more!
RIPE NCC Executive Board Meeting
On 22 and 23 September I participated in the RIPE NCC Executive Board meeting and provided an update of activities currently ongoing in the RIPE community. You can read more in the minutes that will be published soon.
On 28 September, the South East European network operators community came together for the SEE9 meeting. This was the first time the community met (online) since COVID-19 started and it seemed that everyone was happy to be together again even if it was only virtually. Most speakers were from the region, and I especially enjoyed the IXP session on how Internet Exchanges coped during the pandemic. There were some technical challenges and the fact that most traffic moved from business to home-based created some issues related to security and measurements. But some IXPs reported that they focused mostly on human issues to make sure the community, staff and customers were ok. Zoran Perovic from SOX summarised their priorities nicely on his last slide: Community! Collaboration! Cooperation!
Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance (SDIA)
The SDIA organised a panel session on Transparency for a More Sustainable Digital Economy. The panelists focused mostly on data centers and how they can and should change in order to become climate neutral. But also more general questions came up. Why is transparency not a bigger part of a business model? Why are there no industry standards and clearly defined metrics? What is the role of regulators in driving transparency forward? What other incentives are there? One participant reported that they saved a lot of CO2 consumption by replacing some of their email communication with more other methods such as landing page platforms, instant messaging and automation.
Conclusion and Next Steps
September was a busy month. My personal highlight was the agreement on a new RIPE Code of Conduct, but there were many other interesting developments and discussions. And the next few months will be busy for our community, too. We'll see the final report from the RIPE Database Requirements Task Force. We'll be preparing for RIPE 83. And we'll be updating the PDP. I hope I will see many of you on the mailing lists and during our online events.