Internet Engineering Steering Group

The Internet Engineering Steering Group (abbreviated IESG) "is responsible for technical management of IETF activities and the Internet standards process. It administers the process according to the rules and procedures that have been ratified by the ISOC Trustees." - from The Tao of IETF, from which quotes that follow are also drawn:

IESG "ratifies or corrects the output from" IETF Working Groups. That is, it "gets WGs started and finished, and makes sure that non-WG drafts that are about to become" formal Request For Comments are "correct."

IESG classifies WGs by area, each of which has an Area Director:
  • "Applications (APP) - Protocols seen by user programs, such as e-mail and the Web
  • General (GEN) - Catch-all for WGs that don't fit in other areas (which is very few)
  • Internet (INT) - Different ways of moving IP packets and DNS information
  • Operations and Management (OPS) Administration and monitoring
  • Routing (RTG) - Getting packets to their destinations
  • Security (SEC) - Authentication and privacy
  • Transport (TSV) - Special services for special packets
  • User Services (USV) - Support for end users and user support organizations "

The Efficient Civics Guild extends the APP, TSV, USV and GEN categories in its own protocols.

Internet Governance implications

Because the IETF is poorly structured to do long term interaction with more formally structured bodies,
"the IESG" also "has some liaisons with large standards bodies, including the ITU (International Telecommunication Union), the W3C, the Unicode Consortium, the ATM Forum, and ISO-IEC/JTC1 (The Joint Technical Committee of the International Organization for Standardization and International Electrotechnical Commission)." The list of IETF liaisons shows that there are many different liaisons to ISO-IEC/JTC1 subcommittees.

Legal liability for IESG activities is held by the ISOC. Registration of any important names is via the IANA. The IAB supervises this activity from the perspective of the network operations, and ICANN from the perspective of domain name users.