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[rpd] New Policy Proposal - "Anti-Shutdown (AFPUB-2017-GEN-001-DRAFT-01)"

Andrew Alston Andrew.Alston at
Wed Apr 12 03:04:46 UTC 2017


Firstly, thank you for your comments.

Let me attempt to respond….

I believe that the fundamental question this policy asks goes actually beyond the issue of shutdowns – it goes to a question that has been lurking in the background for a long time and I believe the time is now to have that discussion.  What role do the community, the I* organizations and other internet structures have when faced with abuse of power by state actors.  When do we stop hiding behind our “neutrality” and actually stand up for what is right and make our voices heard.  Do we wait for the silver bullet to solve all our problems, or do we as a community use every tool in our arsenal to chip away at the issue until eventually things change?

Do we stand by while in country branches of other I* organizations stake their claim not against, but in FAVOUR of such actions as has happened recently, while the parent organization is taking an opposite stance?

For myself, and I believe my co-authors, if you see an abuse being committed, and  you close your eyes and close your ears and walk on by, saying, its not my problem, I will not step in here, I will leave it to someone else to deal with.  That does not make you neutral – it makes you complicit.  When good men refuse to act – evil thrives.

We talk about engagement and statements – yet year after year after year we see these shutdowns becoming more and more commonplace.  As per the report by the centre of technology innovation at brookings, in 1995 we saw ONE incident of governments interfering with digital communications.  By 2010 that number had grown to 111 incidents, and still it grows.  It cost the African economies in a year in excess of $355 million USD, that directly hits the people, and the providers in those countries who are members of the RIR system.

We can choose to sit on the fence – close our eyes – and say its someone else’s problem and wait for someone, somewhere, to say enough is enough – or we can use every tool in our arsenal to chip away at the problem until it is finally solved.  I believe the latter approach is the right one – however small the action taken, every one counts.

As regards to there being no organization called government, you will notice that the policy refers to the state and to parastatals – those organizations owned and controlled by government.   There are LARGE numbers of those as AfriNIC members – including the regulators, the incumbent telcos, the utility companies, it’s a long list.  So its VERY possible to do this.

It could also be argued that by shutting down the internet – it verges on a violation of the RSA which says that you may not interfere with the rights of others to use their resources as assigned – that is a debatable point because of how it is worded – but so be it.

As I said – for me – I choose not to sit on the fence – I choose to say I stand for a free and open internet – and for me and my co-authors – what we believe we have done by putting this policy out there is to offer the opportunity for this community to make a choice – take a stand for the free and open internet and send a message that what we have been seeing will not be tolerated – or close our eyes and pretend its someone else’s problem, and pretend that its to dangerous an issue to engage on, and refuse to realize our own capabilities to fight back, and in my personal view, become complicit.

I know where I stand.


From: Seun Ojedeji <seun.ojedeji at>
Date: Wednesday, 12 April 2017 at 00:38
To: rpd <rpd at>
Subject: Re: [rpd] New Policy Proposal - "Anti-Shutdown (AFPUB-2017-GEN-001-DRAFT-01)"


While internet shutdown remains what AFRINIC and other I* organisations should speak against, I do not believe that addressing this via an RIR policy is the right nor a practical way to do this.

The policy is simply proposing to ban certain AFRINIC members, even though those members have nothing to do with government's (usually the presidency) decision to shutdown internet. Based on the current wording of the proposal, such members could include federal/state establishments like institutions, ministries, RENs, federal and state development agencies et all who will perhaps hear the news of the ban just like any other person (and ofcourse may have been unable to do anything even if they had prior knowledge).

Overall, the fact that there is NO member within AFRINIC database called "government" makes this proposal impractical.

Nevertheless, like I have said earlier, continuous effort needs to be made towards campaigning/educating against shutdowns and perhaps AFRINIC as an organisation can further engage/contribute to respective governmental policies in the region (cybersecurity policies for instance).

May be something for the AFGWG to consider.


On Apr 11, 2017 19:44, "SamiSalih" <sami at<mailto:sami at>> wrote:

Dear AFRINIC PDWG Members,


We have received a new policy Proposal - "Anti-Shutdown (AFPUB-2017-GEN-001-DRAFT-01)"

From the following Authors:
a) Andrew Alston  – Liquid Telecommunications - andrew.alston at<mailto:andrew.alston at>
b) Ben Roberts    – Liquid Telecommunications - ben.roberts at<mailto:ben.roberts at>
c) Fiona Asonga   – TESPOK                    – tespok at<mailto:tespok at>

Published in this link

Best Regards,

PDWG Co-chairs

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