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[members-discuss] [rpd] Privacy breach of nomcom2015's Mailing List

Andrew Alston Andrew.Alston at
Tue Jun 9 07:17:18 UTC 2015

Hi Ismail,

There are various reasons I can see, and I’m sure more than I haven’t yet seen.

One of the things that has been brought to my attention with regards to remote electronic voting is that many people are hesitant to provide identification documents to AfriNIC that are stored by AfriNIC due to security reasons.  (Current process says that you have to send a copy of an ID document to AfriNIC to get a BPKI certificate that is used to vote).  I’ve had some discussions in this regard with various people and will be putting forward a proposal or two for consideration to see if we can perhaps resolve this.  It’s my personal view that there is no need for such documents to be stored by AfriNIC so long as they are verified and validated.  One of the things that was pointed out for example, is that in certain countries you can take your ID document to a bank, they verify its real, and they provide you a letter saying they have seen it, they have verified it, it is real, and you use that letter rather than actually disclosing the ID document (I believe that was in Germany but am open to correction).

Perhaps we could look at a similar approach, not necessarily with banks, but with other members in good standing that are trusted being used to verify such documents.

Furthermore, I know of some fairly large registration drives that will be happening in the next few months conducted by various members of the community at various meetings, where time has been set aside specifically to assist people in getting registered so that come the next election they can cast their votes.  That being said, we may need to resolve the first issue I raised before hand.

With regards to the discussions online, that’s a complicated issue.  I argue that many of our members probably don’t understand the criticality of AfriNIC, the powers they as members hold, or the consequences of AfriNIC going wrong.  This is an education issue that needs to be solved.

The question here is, does this education issue need to be resolved from an AfriNIC perspective, or does this need to come from active members of the community?  I would argue the latter, but it is subject to a debate.

Irrespective of who does the educating though, I believe the community needs to better understand the following aspects (and potentially others)

a.)    What are the contents of the current bylaws, and what rights AND obligations do they bestow on members

b.)    What rights and obligations does the member services agreement bestow on members

c.)     If members are unhappy with the status-quo, what are the ways they can address these issues, how can THEY create change.

Yes, we talk of committees, and they have their place and are useful, but be that as it may, it can be argued that members need to know they themselves are empowered to propose the changes they feel are necessary and should be encouraged to do so.  That is what a membership organization is about, letting the members speak and be heard, irrespective of if we agree with what is being said or not.

To finish these thoughts, I’d like to quote Margaret Mead…

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

(Written entirely in my own personal capacity)

From: ismailmss at [mailto:ismailmss at] On Behalf Of Ismail M. Settenda
Sent: Tuesday, June 9, 2015 10:01 AM
To: Seun Ojedeji
Cc: Andrew Alston; Mwendwa Kivuva; rpd
Subject: Re: [members-discuss] [rpd] Privacy breach of nomcom2015's Mailing List

@Andrew, in adding to Seun's comments I agree with your observations ..however I am thinking that though an idea is valid and right lets not force the issue if understanding has not been achieved especially if as you say it is for the community.... and as Seun has pointed out there is some progress (not as fast as it should be but some progress nevertheless).

I am wondering if you could do something different this time round to get the on-line discussions improving by initiating some program whose goal is to enable people participate more before we get to the AGMM but by first identifying and understanding the reasons why they are quiet. , cause people keep silent for various reasons: some don't want to add more to the noise, some don't know it is their mandate to say something, some don't believe it the right forum for change....e.t.c....e.t.c

This way between now and the next AGMM you have some pointers for you to analyze on why on-line participation is low and then model some mechanisms to correct this. These the board could then take into consideration and catalyze and steer the discussion at the AGMM to a more representative and unified conclusion.
I believe the best time we have for this organization and to pay attention to the issues is when we are away from home and away from our daily lives so lets maximize on that but we should not then make it the only time we are willing to spare for the organization that provides us resources that are critical to our businesses.


On 9 June 2015 at 08:26, Seun Ojedeji <seun.ojedeji at<mailto:seun.ojedeji at>> wrote:

I agree with you Andrew; discussions should not wait till face 2 face and we should discuss them as much as possible on the list.
I think that is happening and improving as far as policy is concerned.

Resolution discussion on the other hand is not something that people are used to discussing on the list (especially on members list) as they don't come often.

That said, I think substantive discussion on the various list will continue to improve as the organisation leadership continue to act transparently and communicate with the community on status of things. The more we get clear view of things, the more likely that our content will be based more on substance and facts.

sent from Google nexus 4
kindly excuse brevity and typos.
On 9 Jun 2015 05:54, "Andrew Alston" <Andrew.Alston at<mailto:Andrew.Alston at>> wrote:
Hi All,

While I have largely chosen to stay silent in this debate, because I believe many of these issues were already resolved at the AGMM, there is one thing I would like to comment on.

This has become quite normal. Somebody at the floor of the AGM called the entire Afrinic community "a community of mutings" or something like it. And he did it full of arrogance and sense of importance.

Let me take a second to clarify what I actually said here.
Far to often when something is brought to the floor of a meeting, people want to either complain that it hasn’t been discussed first or that they have never seen it.  The reality is, most issues that land on the floor of either the PDP or the AGMM have in some form or another been on these lists.  The comment made here was in reference to the special resolutions that I put on the floor, and the people on the floor who stated that the community had not discussed them or provided input to them.  This was inaccurate, since the special resolutions had been placed on the members list on the 20th of May 2015, and the community had chosen not to respond to them or discuss them.  I referred to that as “mute mode”, and never said “a community of mutings”.

If we choose to stay silent on the lists and only respond when things eventually hit the floor of the meeting room, I argue that we have done the community a huge disservice and we should castigate ourselves for that, rather than complaining we had no chance to comment.  Why do I say this?  Because the reality is that on the floor we have fairly low representation, and in fact in terms of members, less than 10% of members were represented on the members side of the room in the AGMM.  By choosing to only discuss and debate (and indeed object) to things only in the room, we disenfranchise the rest of the member base, and deny them our opinions and their chance to agree or rebut.

This is not the first time this issue has come up either.  As I pointed out then, it took an incredibly controversial policy going to the floor of the PDP in Tanzania to really engender debate, and in the weeks prior to that policy going to the floor, the community had almost nothing to say on the mailing lists, yet when it came to the floor, there was a longer queue at the microphone than anything I have ever seen before or since.

We need to decide, is the only time we have for this organisation and to pay attention to the issues when we are away from home and away from our daily lives?  Is that the only time we are willing to spare for the organisation that provides us resources that are critical to our businesses?  I would hope we are more dedicated than that.



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