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[rpd] New proposal - "Out-Of-Region Use of AFRINIC Internet Number Resources" (AFPUB-2014-GEN-002-DRAFT-01)

Owen DeLong owen at
Sat Jul 5 15:09:50 UTC 2014

>> 1) Summary of the Problem Being Addressed by this Policy Proposal
>> Currently, AFRINIC policies do not explicitly allow or disallow Out-Of-Region use of Internet number resources. This silence on an important facet of number resource management jeopardizes administration by leaving staff to arbitrarily decide how to handle Out-Of-Region requests. The imminent exhaustion of IPv4 aggravates the situation because it is anticipated that organizations from other regions will have more incentive to exploit this and any other loophole in AFRINIC polices to acquire resources for sale or use outside the region - a practice that is not in AFRINIC's best interests.
> Firstly, I have stated before, and I will state again, having the amount of space AfriNIC has available and the low allocation rates is equally not in our interests.  The financial situation in AfriNIC as highlighted in the last two meetings is also not in our interests.  So, while I agree that having the resources used outside of our region may not be in the best interests of the african continent, this is what I would consider a dialectic.  Will this policy actually prevent resources flowing out of the region or will it simply encourage fraudulent applications and falsified whois entries and records?  I would argue the latter rather than the former.

You offer this as a dichotomy where none exists.

Instead, there is a very wide range of possibilities between the two. Likely there will be some falsified/fraudulent applications, but this policy provides for AfriNIC to revoke the resources in such cases once they are discovered.

OTOH, I do believe it will also prevent resource exodus to some extent. In part, where things fall in the range between no prevention and all fraudulent requests vs. all prevention and no fraudulent requests will depend on the diligence and effectiveness of the AfriNIC staff.

While I realize you posted this in your personal capacity, I would expect a board member to show a greater level of confidence in the AfriNIC staff, or, I would expect him to take actions to restore confidence.

>> 2) Summary of How this Proposal Addresses the Problem
>> This policy allows up to 40% of Internet number resources in use by a member to be outside the region. It also tries to be a disincentive for organizations from other regions that want to acquire resources from AFRINIC for use in ways that are not in line with AFRINIC's best interests.
> I do not like the phrasing that says  “ways that are not inline with AFRINIC’s best interests” .  AfriNIC’s mandate is to allocate resources to entities in the region who need them.  How those organisations utilise that space is immaterial to AfriNIC so long as the space is being used.  While I believe I understand the INTENT behind the phrasing, the phrasing itself is rather ambiguous and I would like to see it re-worded.

I’ll point out that is part of the problem description and not part of the policy itself, so I think it’s a fine statement of intent and getting wrapped around the axle about it is not useful in considering the policy proposal.

>> b. Notwithstanding (3.a), the number resources used outside the region at any given point in time shall not exceed 40% of the total space in use by a member. Total space in use shall be calculated as follows: if x be the allocation/assignment size; and x-y the amount of space in use at time z, then 40% of (x-y) shall be the ceiling).
> Again, my problem with this is the lack of enforceability.  Vast stretches of this continent are still served by Satellite, and are also running on high latency low capacity links.  It is therefore virtually impossible to determine where the space is actually being used.  If I have a satellite hub in Europe with a thousand downstream customers all in central Africa, the hub is uplinked to a european provider, and the hub is originating the space, but the space is being used by the downstream customers in Africa, traceroutes to those customers from Africa are going to go via Europe, the BGP adjacencies are going to show the space being announced entirely to European providers, but the space is still used in Africa and latency to the space in Africa is going to be in the couple of hundred millisecond mark.  Conversely, if I state in whois records the space is in Africa but announce it elsewhere in the world and set the right RDNS, how is anyone going to PROVE otherwise?  Again, all this does is lead to falsified whois records.  

You’ve actually shown that it’s fairly easy to detect these satellite based links by their latency. I don’t think that the inability to detect all potential cases of fraud is a good reason to avoid implementing good policy. In all cases, RIR policy counts on the generally good actions of the majority of the community and this is no different. No matter what we do with policy, organizations willing to commit fraud are likely to commit fraud. If you have ideas for making this policy less susceptible to fraud, then let’s hear those. Otherwise, I don’t see the potential for fraud as a reason to avoid implementing the policy.

>> c. AFRINIC staff shall at their discretion, and using whatever means are available, assess compliance with 3.a/b.
> This is far to ambiguous for me, host masters are trained to evaluate the legitimacy of requests.  They are NOT network engineers, and as stated in the above example, evaluation of these things can be complex and require a fair amount of skill to figure out where things are being used.  If we’re going to pass a policy like this, then how these checks are done and to avoid complex and time consuming fights needs to be clearly spelt out.

Or perhaps too ambiguous?

I don’t see anything in 3a or 3b which would require any real knowledge of network engineering knowledge. I think AfriNIC staff is perfectly capable of developing the necessary procedures and processes and performing the staff training that would be required by this policy. I don’t think that those details belong in the policy text.

>> f. This policy shall apply to past, present and future allocations/assignments made by AFRINIC.
> I have an issue with this, and there is precedent.  Legacy space is not bound by the same rules as new allocations because it was allocated before those rules were implemented.  When laws are introduced in a legal system, or penalties for a crime are decreased or increased, it is not applied retroactively.  I would argue that applying this policy retroactively on already allocated space cannot be done.

Yes and no. An action that wasn’t illegal when you took it cannot be punished (no laws of ex post facto), however, that’s not what is being addressed here.

For example, laws which govern property rights usually apply to existing property owners’ continued use of that property. For example, a municipality that passes a law requiring you to maintain your front yard to certain standards cannot prosecute you or fine you for how your yard looked a year before the law was implemented, but they can and will prosecute and/or fine you if your yard does not meet those standards after the law is put into effect.

I see no difference between this policy and the above situation with property rights. It remains to be seen whether legacy space is or is not subject to the same rules as new allocations if, as a community, we should happen to choose to apply them. However, legacy space is not covered by the phrase in this policy. It clearly states past/present/future allocations/assignments “MADE BY AFRINIC” (emphasis added). Legacy assignments/allocations, by definition, were not made by AfriNIC.


Further I don’t believe that the way to resolve the low utilization rate in the AfriNIC region is by giving away the resources for out of region use. As you know, resolving the low utilization rate is a complex problem which will take time, educational outreach, and other efforts to resolve. Getting rid of the resources to other utilizations elsewhere will prevent those resources from getting utilized in region when the desire for in-region use develops.


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