Stage 8
12:45 - 13:15
Governing the Internet Infrastructure as a Commons


Under the hood of Internet services (e-mail, WWW, social media...) exists the world of numbers, addresses, protocols. These "common resources" are governed through the consensus building processes that are also familiar to hackers and anarchists.

With the Internet's ever increasing impact on the economical, political and social aspects of our lives, learn how YOU can take part deciding the future of the the free and open Internet.



In this lecture, I will give an introduction to the distribution of Internet Protocol numbers (IPv4, IPv6, ASN) through the Local and Regional Internet Registries system, and provide an explanation of how the "rules" behind this system are arrived at through the community’s participation in the Policy Development Process.

An organisation in Amsterdam – the RIPE NCC (Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre)  – helps facilitate the government of these "Internet Commons" resources. As a neutral and impartial, not-for-profit association, the RIPE NCC is trusted by its members - the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) - organisations that are competing with each other on the market, but who come together to make agreements on how to coordinate aspects of Internet infrastructure management that are beneficial to all of them. In addition to the distribution of IP addresses, other such activities are: measurements of critical Internet infrastructure reachability (for example, by building, maintaining and using RIPE Atlas as a community crowd-sourced platform), and operations of one of the root nameservers. 

The discussions on how to come up with the mutually agreed policies happen within RIPE Community: inside the "working groups" that use mailing lists, and during large face-to-face gatherings called "RIPE Meetings", as well as in many other smaller regional conferences, workshops, hackathons and meet-ups. 

The practices of "governing the commons" are also used in similar fields of FLOSS development, peer-to-peer production of content, and hackerspace communities, as well as in the creation of protocols and  standards within Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).  

My goal is to invite the audience of re:publica to take part in RIPE Community and help shape the multi-stakeholder governance of the Internet infrastructure commons.