[Community-Discuss] Issue with non-AFRINIC Fellowship to Meeting -

Owen DeLong owen at delong.com
Wed Dec 12 19:20:41 UTC 2018

> On Dec 12, 2018, at 08:33 , Gregoire Ehoumi <gregoire.ehoumi at yahoo.fr> wrote:
> The point makes perfect sense.  Any organisation holding IP's from AFRINC is only doing so in trust and not their property,  It can be recalled back at any time if/when  AFRINIC believes that they are not being used for the reasons and purposes for which they were allocated.  Especially in this arena where technology and organisations can change.  The PDP and this Review policy is just a mean in which AFRINIC can enforce its RSA, specifically Section 4 -C - (iii) 

Actually, it isn’t. AfriNIC can enforce the RSA without this review policy. This review policy doesn’t enable AfriNIC to do anything AfriNIC can’t already do.

What it does do is (potentially) force AfriNIC to take on additional tasks to conduct investigations into reported violations of the RSA to determine whether or not the proffered accusation constitutes credible evidence or not. It places no limits on the number of such investigations which can be forced by disgruntled members of the community. It places no hard limits on the amount of time and effort this may require on the part of resource members defending against such allegations, even if they are found to be baseless except  that if a member is put through a “full review” (which is not well defined in the policy), that member cannot be subjected to such process again for some period of time.

> This policy only gives guidelines as to how this can be implemented in a fair and transparent process.  How can you or any other African be against this. If a member already goes through an evaluation process when acquiring resources why should the member be opposed to a periodic review.

It’s neither fair nor transparent. It’s expensive and burdensome for large organizations while remaining fairly light-weight for small organizations. It’s a wide open vector for those who wish to launch a form of denial of service attack against some member organizations and/or AfriNIC itself.

I do not believe anyone has expressed opposition to legitimate periodic review. This proposal isn’t that. This proposal wants to pretend that it is that, but in fact, it is something very different. A carefully engineered attack on larger organizations by smaller ones.

> The conflict comes because a particular member is fighting  deadly such a proposal and people  speaking on their personal capacity and opposing the proposal on the PDP list and at meetings, have work relationship with that member. They are conflicted and so their opinions must be taken into context.

You, like the other person who accused me directly of a conflict of interest are mistaken sir. You are mistaken in your definition of conflict of interest and you are mistaken in your belief about how I arrived at my position on this proposal.

First, I opposed this proposal well before I began any working relationship with Larus.

Second, if I felt this were good policy, even if I thought it would be bad for Larus, I’d be supporting it. In this case, it’s not.

Third, to the best of my knowledge, there are several people who have voiced opposition who have no relationship whatsoever with Larus. I can think of at least two other resource members who fit this description and have expressed similar opposition without doing any research, just off the top of my head.

In order for a person to have a conflict of interest, several things must be present:

	1.	They must have a greater level of influence in the policy outcome than any general member of the polity.
		(e.g. co-chair, board member, etc.)
	2.	They or their organization must unduly benefit from one particular possible outcome more so than any
		general other party is likely to.
		(e.g. a collection of small organizations who believe they are more likely to be able to benefit from reclaimed
		IP space being available to them for a longer period in the future if the policy passes)

In the case of the PDP, having an interest in the outcome of the policy process as a member of the community does not constitute a conflict of interest. In theory, all resource members have some level of interest in the outcome of every PDP. Since all resource members are able to participate on equal footing in the PDP, this interest is not a conflict of interest against their obligations to the community because they do not meet the first test above. Their influence over the PDP is no greater than any other resource member or any other interested person.

Further, if your statements claiming that this proposal is a fair and equitable way to conduct reviews were true (it isn’t), then, the second test for conflict would also fail as the proposed policy would then not have an undue benefit or impact on said resource holders beyond what it would have on any other resource holders in the community.

So… Yes, the argument about conflicts of interest is non-sensical.


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