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Network Working Group                                      M. Nottingham
Internet-Draft                                         February 23, 2018
Intended status: Best Current Practice
Expires: August 27, 2018

                     The Internet is for End Users


   This document why, when a conflict cannot be avoided, the IETF
   considers end users as their highest priority concern.

Note to Readers

   The issues list for this draft can be found at
   https://github.com/mnot/I-D/labels/for-the-users [1].

   The most recent (often, unpublished) draft is at
   https://mnot.github.io/I-D/for-the-users/ [2].

   Recent changes are listed at https://github.com/mnot/I-D/commits/gh-
   pages/for-the-users [3].

   See also the draft's current status in the IETF datatracker, at
   https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-nottingham-for-the-users/ [4].

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at https://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on August 27, 2018.

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Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2018 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (https://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Guidelines for IETF Decisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   3.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   4.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   5.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     5.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     5.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     5.3.  URIs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   Appendix A.  Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7

1.  Introduction

   The IETF, while focused on technical matters, is not neutral about
   the purpose of its work in developing the Internet [RFC3935]:

      The IETF community wants the Internet to succeed because we
      believe that the existence of the Internet, and its influence on
      economics, communication, and education, will help us to build a
      better human society.


      The Internet isn't value-neutral, and neither is the IETF.  We
      want the Internet to be useful for communities that share our
      commitment to openness and fairness.  We embrace technical
      concepts such as decentralized control, edge-user empowerment and
      sharing of resources, because those concepts resonate with the
      core values of the IETF community.  These concepts have little to
      do with the technology that's possible, and much to do with the
      technology that we choose to create.

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   However, the IETF is most comfortable making what we believe to be
   purely technical decisions; our process is defined to favor technical
   merit, through our well-known bias towards "rough consensus and
   running code".

   Nevertheless, the running code that results from our process (when
   things work well) inevitably has an impact beyond technical
   considerations, because the underlying decisions afford some uses
   while discouraging others; while we believe we are making purely
   technical decisions, in reality that may not be possible.  Or, in the
   words of Lawrence Lessig [CODELAW]:

      Ours is the age of cyberspace.  It, too, has a regulator... This
      regulator is code -- the software and hardware that make
      cyberspace as it is.  This code, or architecture, sets the terms
      on which life in cyberspace is experienced.  It determines how
      easy it is to protect privacy, or how easy it is to censor speech.
      It determines whether access to information is general or whether
      information is zoned.  It affects who sees what, or what is
      monitored.  In a host of ways that one cannot begin to see unless
      one begins to understand the nature of this code, the code of
      cyberspace regulates.

   This impact has become significant.  As the Internet increasingly
   mediates key functions in societies, it has unavoidably become
   profoundly political; it has helped people overthrow governments and
   revolutionize social orders, control populations and reveal secrets.
   It has created wealth for some individuals and companies, while
   destroying others'.

   All of this raises the question: For whom do we go through the pain
   of gathering rough consensus and writing running code?

   There are a variety of identifiable parties in the larger Internet
   community that standards can provide benefit to, such as (but not
   limited to) end users, network operators, schools, equipment vendors,
   specification authors, specification implementers, content owners,
   governments, non-governmental organisations, social movements,
   employers, and parents.

   Successful specifications will provide some benefit to all of the
   relevant parties, because standards do not represent a zero-sum game.
   However, there are sometimes situations where we need to balance the
   benefits of a decision between two (or more) parties.

   In these situations, when one of those parties is the "end user" of
   the Internet - for example, a person using a Web browser, mail
   client, or other agent that connects to the Internet - we tend to

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   favour their needs over that of parties such as network operators or
   equipement vendors.

   Our goal is not to avoid all potential harm to or constraint of end
   users; rather, it's to give guidance in a particular situation - when
   we've identified a conflict between the interests of end users and
   another stakeholder (e.g., a network operator), and need a
   "tiebreaker", we should err on the side of finding a solution that
   doesn't harm end users.

   Note that "harm" is not defined in this document; that is something
   that the relevant body (e.g., Working Group) needs to discuss.  The
   IETF has already established a body of guidance for such decisions,
   including (but not limited to) [RFC7754] on filtering, [RFC7258] and
   [RFC7624] on pervasive surveillance, [RFC7288] on host firewalls, and
   [RFC6973] regarding privacy considerations.

   Over time, additional guidance is likely to be defined.  In the
   absence of specific guidance on a given topic (such as that
   referenced above), this document provides a general approach to
   making such decisions.

   Doing so helps the IETF achieve its mission, and also helps to assure
   the long-term health of the Internet.  By prioritising the concerns
   of end users, we assure that it reaches the greatest number of
   people, thereby delivering greater utility by maximising its network

   Prioritising end users' needs also helps to assure that the Internet
   itself retains end users' trust, preserving the benefit its network
   effect brings.

2.  Guidelines for IETF Decisions

   When there are unresolvable conflicts between the interests of
   different parties, we consider the end users of the Internet to have
   priority over other parties.

   While networks need to be managed, employers and equipment vendors
   need to meet business goals, and so on, the IETF's mission is to
   "build a better human society" [RFC3935] and - on the Internet -
   society is composed of end users, along with groups of them forming
   business, governments, clubs, civil society organizations, and other
   institutions that influence it.

   By "end users," we mean non-technical users whose activities our
   protocols are designed to support.  Thus, the end user of a protocol

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   to manage routers is not a router administrator; it is the people
   using the network that the router operates within.

   This does not mean that the IETF community has any specific insight
   into what is "good for end users"; as always, we will need to
   interact with the greater Internet community and apply our process to
   help us make decisions, deploy our protocols, and ultimately
   determine their success or failure.

   It does means that, because end users are not technical experts, we
   have a responsibility to consider their interests, and will need to
   engage with those who understand how our work will affect end users,
   such as civil society organisations, as well as governments,
   businesses and other groups representing some aspect of end user

   When a proposed solution to a problem has a benefit to some other
   party at the identified expense of end users, we will find a
   different solution or find another way to frame the problem.

   There may be cases where genuine technical need requires compromise.
   However, such tradeoffs need to be carefully examined, and avoided
   when there are alternate means of achieving the desired goals.  If
   they cannot be, these choices and reasoning ought to be carefully

   For example, IPv6 [RFC8200] can be used to assign a client with a
   unique address prefix - even though this provides a way to track end
   user activity and helps identify them - because it is technically
   necessary to provide networking (and despite this, there are
   mechanisms like [RFC4941] to mitigate this effect, for those users
   who desire it).

3.  IANA Considerations

   This document does not require action by IANA.

4.  Security Considerations

   This document does not have direct security impact; however, failing
   to prioritise end users might well affect their security negatively
   in the long term.

5.  References

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5.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,

5.2.  Informative References

   [CODELAW]  Lessig, L., "Code Is Law: On Liberty in Cyberspace", 2000,

   [RFC2460]  Deering, S. and R. Hinden, "Internet Protocol, Version 6
              (IPv6) Specification", RFC 2460, DOI 10.17487/RFC2460,
              December 1998, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2460>.

   [RFC3935]  Alvestrand, H., "A Mission Statement for the IETF",
              BCP 95, RFC 3935, DOI 10.17487/RFC3935, October 2004,

   [RFC4941]  Narten, T., Draves, R., and S. Krishnan, "Privacy
              Extensions for Stateless Address Autoconfiguration in
              IPv6", RFC 4941, DOI 10.17487/RFC4941, September 2007,

   [RFC6973]  Cooper, A., Tschofenig, H., Aboba, B., Peterson, J.,
              Morris, J., Hansen, M., and R. Smith, "Privacy
              Considerations for Internet Protocols", RFC 6973,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6973, July 2013,

   [RFC7258]  Farrell, S. and H. Tschofenig, "Pervasive Monitoring Is an
              Attack", BCP 188, RFC 7258, DOI 10.17487/RFC7258, May
              2014, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7258>.

   [RFC7282]  Resnick, P., "On Consensus and Humming in the IETF",
              RFC 7282, DOI 10.17487/RFC7282, June 2014,

   [RFC7288]  Thaler, D., "Reflections on Host Firewalls", RFC 7288,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7288, June 2014,

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   [RFC7624]  Barnes, R., Schneier, B., Jennings, C., Hardie, T.,
              Trammell, B., Huitema, C., and D. Borkmann,
              "Confidentiality in the Face of Pervasive Surveillance: A
              Threat Model and Problem Statement", RFC 7624,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7624, August 2015,

   [RFC7754]  Barnes, R., Cooper, A., Kolkman, O., Thaler, D., and E.
              Nordmark, "Technical Considerations for Internet Service
              Blocking and Filtering", RFC 7754, DOI 10.17487/RFC7754,
              March 2016, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7754>.

   [RFC8200]  Deering, S. and R. Hinden, "Internet Protocol, Version 6
              (IPv6) Specification", STD 86, RFC 8200,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8200, July 2017,

5.3.  URIs

   [1] https://github.com/mnot/I-D/labels/for-the-users

   [2] https://mnot.github.io/I-D/for-the-users/

   [3] https://github.com/mnot/I-D/commits/gh-pages/for-the-users

   [4] https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-nottingham-for-the-users/

Appendix A.  Acknowledgements

   Thanks to Edward Snowden for his comments regarding the priority of
   end users at IETF93.

   Thanks to the WHATWG for blazing the trail with the Priority of

   Thanks to Harald Alvestrand for his substantial feedback and Mohamed
   Boucadair, Stephen Farrell, Joe Hildebrand, Lee Howard, Russ Housley,
   Niels ten Oever, Mando Rachovitsa, Martin Thomson, and Brian Trammell
   for their suggestions.

Author's Address

   Mark Nottingham

   Email: mnot@mnot.net
   URI:   https://www.mnot.net/

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