RFC 2026 says:
During the development of a specification, draft versions of the document are made available for informal review and comment by placing them in the IETF's "Internet-Drafts" directory, which is replicated on a number of Internet hosts. This makes an evolving working document readily available to a wide audience, facilitating the process of review and revision.An Internet-Draft that is published as an RFC, or that has remained unchanged in the Internet-Drafts directory for more than six months without being recommended by the IESG for publication as an RFC, is simply removed from the Internet-Drafts directory. At any time, an Internet-Draft may be replaced by a more recent version of the same specification, restarting the six-month timeout period.An Internet-Draft is NOT a means of "publishing" a specification; specifications are published through the RFC mechanism described in the previous section. Internet-Drafts have no formal status, and are subject to change or removal at any time.
I-Ds provide important historical records for the open and transparent operation of the IETF. It should be noted that individuals and groups, including the IAB and IRTF Research Groups, have chosen to distribute working documents as I-Ds.
I-Ds are stored in two places on the IETF web site. First, current I-Ds are stored in the I-D Repository. Second, current and past I-Ds are stored in a Public I-D Archive.
The policies associated with I-D Repository are discussed in RFC 2026, and this IESG statement offers no additional policies regarding the I-D Repository.
As RFC 2026 says, the entries in the I-D Repository are subject to change or removal at any time; however, I-Ds generally remain in the Public I-D Archive to support easy comparison with previous versions. This availability facilitates review, comment, and revision.
An I-D will only be removed from the Public I-D Archive under unusual circumstances with consensus of the IESG. If you are aware of abuse or misuse that warrants removal of an I-D from the Public I-D Archive, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and explain the situation. At its discretion, the IESG may consult counsel or the IETF community before taking any action on such requests. If circumstances permit, a removed I-D will be replaced with a tombstone file that describes the reason that the I-D was removed from the Public I-D Archive.
When an I-D is removed from the Public I-D Archive, a copy will be kept in a location accessible by the IETF Secretariat. This private location is described in RFC 2026 as follows:
... Internet-Drafts that have been removed (for any reason) from the Internet-Drafts directories shall be archived by the IETF Secretariat for the sole purpose of preserving an historical record of Internet standards activity and thus are not retrievable except in special circumstances.
The IESG, IAB, IAOC, or the Internet Society Board of Trustees can request the IETF Secretariat to search this private location in support of responses to appeals, responses to subpoenas, or other handling of legal matters. The IETF Secretariat is expected to make the results of searches of the private location available as needed to appropriately respond to such matters.