The IETF today made a fairly major announcement:
The IAOC is pleased to announce the ancient and historic city of Beijing as the site for IETF 79 from 7 – 12 November 2010. This will be the IETF’s first meeting in China. The meeting will be held at the Shangri-La Beijing Hotel.
As noted, this will be the first time the IETF has met in China – and this announcement has not been without its share of controversy. Earlier during the negotiations with the hotel, the IAOC (the administrative arm of the IETF) asked the IETF committee for feedback on the venue and the terms under discussion. This set off a firestorm of discussion, as there was a clause in the hotel contract that allowed the hotel to terminate the proceedings if illegal content was discussed. The debate on the main IETF mailing list was extremely… um.. “vigorous” with all sorts of commentary around what constituted appropriate content, around “freedom of speech”, around censorship… and all the related topics. If you know anything about the IETF (or have been to an IETF meeting), you can appreciate the passion that this particular topic elicited.
In the end, the IAC reported that this specific clause was removed from the hotel contract:
During the course of contract negotiations with the hotel the community was asked via email lists and by survey about a specific provision in the contract. Your feedback guided us in our efforts. We are happy to report that the provision has been removed from the contract.
In response to concerns that the discussion of some IETF topics may violate the law, the IAOC has been assured by the Host that a normal IETF meeting can be legally held in China and that no pre-screening of material or monitoring of session content is required or will be done.
With that, the IAOC unanimously approved Beijing as the host of IETF 79.
Given that we have a Voxeo office in Beijing (which started with our Micromethod/SIPmethod team but has since expanded to include more folks working on all Voxeo products), we’re delighted that an IETF event will be happening there and look forward to having some of our folks attend.