[Community-Discuss] The purpose

Owen DeLong owen at delong.com
Mon Jul 12 00:40:21 UTC 2021

> On Jul 10, 2021, at 01:06 , Frank Habicht <geier at geier.ne.tz> wrote:


> Hi.


> Subject changed. used to be "Re: [rpd] More confusion from Noah"

> Also, this is not about resource policy development, so trying to move

> to community-discuss, as i think all participants are there.


> On 10/07/2021 04:48, Owen DeLong via RPD wrote:

>>> On Jul 4, 2021, at 04:38 , Noah <noah at neo.co.tz

>>> <mailto:noah at neo.co.tz>> wrote:

>>> 3.4) The Company shall have, both within and outside the Republic of

>>> Mauritius, full capacity to carry and/or undertake any business or

>>> activity, including but not limited to the following objects:


>>> 1. to provide the service of allocating and registering Internet

>>> resources for the purposes of enabling communications via open

> ^^^^^^^^^^^^

>>> system network protocols and to assist in the development and

>>> growth of the Internet in the African region;

>>> 2. to promote the representation of AFRINIC membership and the

>>> Internet community of the African region by ensuring open and

>>> transparent communication and consensus-driven decision-making

>>> processes;

>>> 3. to promote responsible management of Internet resources throughout

>>> the African region, as well as the responsible development and

>>> operation of Internet infrastructures;


>> He didn’t skip it, [.......] on members.


>> Not one of those sentences enables AFRINIC to exercise any form of

>> extraordinary control over the types of use of numbers other than

>> possibly the implied ability to reject utilization plans which clearly

>> violate applicable law.


> I'd like to disagree.

> I tried to highlight "the purposes" in above quote under 1.



> So AfriNIC has to check that allocated/assigned Internet resources are

> used (or going to be used) for *the purposes* ... of enabling

> communications ....

> [at allocation time, and optionally later]

Sure, but the use of the word and in the sentence can be construed multiple
ways. Where such an ambiguity exists, it is incumbent on the parties to either
clarify it in a contract, or interpret it in the least damaging way.

In this case, the numbers are being used for the purpose of enabling
communications via open systems network protocols. IMHO, they
are also being used to assist in the development and growth of the
internet in the African region, but I realize there is controversy in the
community about this.

> And I think it is legally implied to mean that this means used by the

> recipient (ie AfriNIC member) for these purposes. [1]

Well, with the and in that sentence, it really only implies that the use
by the member should fulfill one of those purposes to meet that criteria
if you really want to stretch it that far.

> And I believe that any AfriNIC member requesting resources does justify

> those by stating

> - I need the resources for these and these devices and services of my

> own (end user)

> or

> - I need the resources for some purposes of my own (infrastructure) and

> for this number and type of Internet connectivity customers and for

> this number and type of hosting services customers (LIR)

The specification of the number and size of customers covers the size
of allocation resources by AFRINIC. Beyond that, it serves no purpose.

In terms of whether resources are justified at all or not, this is strictly
a matter of expressing “I need these resources for purposes of numbering
internet connected hosts in my network and my customers networks.”

There’s no basis in policy or the governing documents for rejecting
an application or requiring more specific details about the utilization.

> And I trust that then AfriNIC assigns/allocates resources for these

> purposes to the member.

One would certainly hope.

> [

> And when the member (LIR) changes the specific service from dialup

> customer to DSL customer or from GPON customer to VM-hosting customer,

> then it would still fit under the above set of justifications.

> ]


> When a member however uses the resources for something else, NOT for

> providing their own connectivity or hosting services, not for

> sub-allocating to connectivity customers, but instead to other parties

> not getting these services from the member, then in my opinion, the

> member is not using the resources according to AfriNIC's mandate any more.

Please show me where in AFRINIC’s governing documents it says that the addresses
and connectivity services must come from the same provider.

> And people have been frank in these lists before: then the member is

> using the resources only for the purpose of profit.

Virtually all LIRs are using the resources for the purpose of profit. Profit is not inherently
evil, despite the claims of some on this list. Profit is, indeed, the basis of most business.

> And some members justify this by calling the resources (ie IPv4

> addresses) *their assets*.

> I disagree.

IPv4 addresses are not assets. Here, I agree with you. However, the ownership of a
registration of a block of IP addresses _IS_ an asset, whether you like it or not. It
is the unique registration of the addresses for this purpose that is valuable, not
the mere integers themselves. Claiming ownership of 5 is absurd. Claiming ownership
of a registration of 2001:db8::/32 for purposes of exclusive use in numbering internet
connected hosts is valuable (the particulars of the example prefix used here not

> The resources were given to the member for *the purposes* of providing

> services by the member. I am sure you can read this in the

> justifications for the applications for the resources that we are all

> thinking about now.

> I know that I'm not entitled to see these, and that's fine.

And the member is providing services… Whether you approve of those services
or not, they are services utilizing open systems network protocols.

> I think we all agree that for most LIR members the resources are given

> for commercial activities, of a for-profit company.

> But only as long as they are used for these activities of Internet

> connectivity or hosting services - in my opinion; and apparently not in

> the opinion of others.

Even in this case, they are being used for activities of internet connectivity
or hosting services. The difference is that in this case, the addressing
service and the connectivity service are being provided by different
companies. So I don’t disagree with you, I just think that the distinction
between connectivity provided by one company and addresses provided
by another vs. connectivity and addresses provided by the same company
is literally a distinction without a difference.

> If an IPv4 address block was assigned/allocated to a member for a

> purpose - without transfer of ownership, then the member is in my

> opinion not entitled to give/sell/lease/allocate the same to another

> party. Can anybody advise how/when/where AfriNIC has handed that right

> to the member?

If we follow this statement literally, LIRs cannot exist. By definition, LIRs
lease and/or assign addresses to another party. That is the exclusive
role of an LIR. That is also what Cloud Innovation is doing as an LIR.

> I know some will say we are talking about integers, noone has the right

> to integers, .....

> But:

> * we're talking about a set of 2^32 integers that have to have the

> property of being unique all around this Internet we try to keep working.

> * These integers need to be registered

Yes, it is the registration of the integers for a particular purpose that has
value, not the integers themselves. Therefore, the registration is the asset
and property, not the integers that the registration refers to.

> I want to clarify that I see and want to make a big difference between

> the narrow and wider interpretation of the word "purpose" which I'm so

> on about.

Good idea.

> Narrow purpose: I use these IPv4 addresses for a pool of 200 dialup

> customers in Dar es Salaam on a POP in Mikocheni.

> Wider purpose: I use these IPv4 addresses for any of my Internet

> connectivity services or hosting services (managed, VM, dedicated,...)

> in the network coverage area of this company.

Even wider purpose: “IPv4 addresses will be used to number hosts
within applicant’s infrastructure and also internet connected hosts
controlled by applicant’s customers.”

> If the narrow purpose changes and the wider stays the same, I believe it

> is common understanding that a justification for the resources remains.

OK, so given that, if one submits the above even wider purpose,
the utilization is justified and remains valid.

> If a use of resources changes from within the wider purpose to outside

> the wider purpose (ie gets no longer used by the member or its

> connectivity or hosting customers) - then I believe that the conditions

> for the allocation are no longer fulfilled.

Sure… One must choose one’s wider purpose carefully.

> Basically, if the member to some extend is no longer in the business of

> providing Internet (connectivity or hosting) services, but in the

> business of selling IP resources, then they have confirmed they no

> longer have any justification for the IP resources they got as a member

> of AfriNIC.

Here’s where you go off the rails (at least in characterizing this particular
case). The member in question (Cloud Innovation) is still in the
business of providing hosting services, but also leases some of its
address space to parties who obtain their connectivity services from
third parties.

> If it's just buying and selling of things (which they call assets, which

> I dispute), then they could as well speculate with other things like

> gold, real-estate, or any other commodity, rather than using some of

> those only 2^32 unique integers. Which are needed by others on this

> continent to provide internet services.

But that’s not the case. In this case, they are providing a service. The
service of IP Address Management. They are utilizing their assets
(The registration of several blocks of IP addresses from various RIRs)
to provide that service, just as any LIR in the world does. The only key
difference here is that they have some customers who are receiving that
service independent of connectivity services.

> I know this mail is too long.

> If I'm completely wrong, I welcome corrections.

Not completely, but significantly, IMHO.

> Or any other serious responses.

I leave it to your judgment whether you take my response seriously or not.

> Thanks,

> Frank


> PS:

> I trust anyone trying to commercialise IP resources received from an RIR

> (received for the purpose of providing services as justified) should

> know that there is a risk attached to this.


> PPS:

> Owen:

>> Not one of those sentences enables AFRINIC to exercise any form of

>> extraordinary control

> maybe it is ordinary control that AfriNIC is exercising. I don't know.

When AFRINIC attempts to dictate how a member may use their resources
in a manner which is not contained in the actual governing documents,
it becomes extraordinary control.

> [1]

> If I give you my car, without transferring ownership, to drive around

> Dar es Salaam as a taxi, and you are to give me a regular "membership

> fee", then you can not sell my car to someone in Armenia to drive

> around... Yerevan (and give you some more money so that you keep a lot

> and pay my "membership fee".

I suppose that depends on a number of things. First, did you give me your
car, or did you lease the car to me?

Of course, that already starts one step removed from AFRINIC because
AFRINIC neither gives nor leases cars, or anything else. AFRINIC, instead,
registers IP number resources, much the same as a DMV[2] (or whatever the
equivalent government authority in your area is called) registers cars.

To the best of my knowledge, no DMV (or equivalent) anywhere prevents
or prohibits you from taking a car that is registered to you and leasing it
to a third party in another country for operations in that country. (Though
the target country may prohibit the operation of the foreign registered
vehicle within their jurisdiction, but that’s not really material to this particular
tortured analogy).

This is really the point. AFRINIC’s mandate with regard to number resources
is limited to registration according to the policies set by the community in
the CPM within various legal limitations set forth in the RSA (contract) and
the bylaws (AFRINIC corporate constitution).

So if there’s no mandate for AFRINIC to make judgments about the validity
of a particular form of use or to require that a particular type of service be
included with the use of addresses from an LIR, then really, AFRINIC has
no valid basis to reject or revoke addresses used within policy no matter
how much AFRINIC and/or the community wish to argue against that
particular form of utilization. If the community truly wants to invalidate that
form of utilization, it’s a simple matter of developing and gaining consensus
on a policy proposal to do just that.


[2] DMV == Department of Motor Vehicles, the registration authority for
vehicles among other things in California.

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