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

Andrew Alston Andrew.Alston at
Fri Apr 14 09:33:43 UTC 2017

Hi Walu,

Speaking as an individual….

It’s an interesting question – though realistically – there have been talks and proposals about “national internet registries” for years – and the ship has kind of sailed.

Firstly – with regards to v4 – there are no resources to distribute to these national internet registries left – and the only way that a national internet registry could be formed would be for them to get resources to allocate into such a registry – and the AfriNIC policies currently don’t allow for it.  Effectively, a policy proposal would have to come forward that allowed an entity to hold resources and allocate them within the rules of the allocation policy – I don’t see any such thing occurring.

Secondly – it is very difficult for a government to force an organisation to give up already allocated space – because again – that would be a transfer of resources under the current policies – and that can only happen in the case of mergers and acquisitions at the moment – or in the case of an internal transfer which has to be agreed by both parties under the internal transfer policy.

We have to remember, that AfriNIC is an independent organisation and external governments do not have legal jurisdiction – not without treaties that would have to be ratified and the location where AfriNIC is domiciled would have to be a signatory to said treaties.  At which point, it’s possible to switch jurisdictions.

Yes – I see a lot of noise coming from this – but do I believe that governments can do more harm in that scenario than they are by shutting down the Internet?  No – not at all.  There is simply no evidence or mechanism that exists for this to happen.

And yes – we know there are consequences – but let us also look at the reverse side of the consequences – to do nothing and have the internet shutdown – how many people lose their jobs when ISP’s no longer have revenue coming in to pay those people?  How much damage is done to the user on the ground when the internet is shut down?  The stats are out that 2.4 billion dollars haemorrhaged out of economies due to shutdowns, what are the consequences of doing nothing in that regard?

Everything has its pros and cons – I simply argue that standing by and watch it happening with no concrete action, does far more harm than attempting to stand for what is right.

From: Walubengo J [mailto:jwalu at]
Sent: 12 April 2017 18:44
To: Andrew Alston <Andrew.Alston at>; Arsène Tungali <arsenebaguma at>; Mukom Akong T. <mukom.tamon at>
Cc: rpd at
Subject: Re: [rpd] New Policy Proposal - "Anti-Shutdown (AFPUB-2017-GEN-001-DRAFT-01)"


I have no objection to attempts to reign in 'internet averse' governments. My worry is what will happen next if and after the policy passes?

Most of us are aware of the ITU/ICANN tensions with respect to internet governance...will such a policy give impetus or reason for even the 'moderate' governments to finally have a tangible reason to push for and get their national or regional RIRs?

Perhaps at the moment the effort and impetus to go national/regional RIRs has not gained traction simply because there has not been any thing substantive enough to rally the governments together for such a move. Could such a policy be the missing rallying call?

After all no government would want to be told that they are offline because some "Company Ltd" based somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean has switched them off (no offence Kris, to the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean... just wearing the hat of some typical African dictator :-).

In short, lets debate the policy, but remember as we say in contemporary Kenya - choices do have consequences.


From: Andrew Alston <Andrew.Alston at<mailto:Andrew.Alston at>>
To: Arsène Tungali <arsenebaguma at<mailto:arsenebaguma at>>; Mukom Akong T. <mukom.tamon at<mailto:mukom.tamon at>>
Cc: "rpd at<mailto:rpd at>" <rpd at<mailto:rpd at>>
Sent: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 5:52 PM
Subject: Re: [rpd] New Policy Proposal - "Anti-Shutdown (AFPUB-2017-GEN-001-DRAFT-01)"

Hi Arsene,

Your comments are well noted.

Let me ask you however, as a compromise position, would you be willing to accept a situation where we limit this to the state, parastatals, and with the exclusion of academia and space that can be proved to belong to critical services (hospitals, emergency services etc).

I’m not sure how we would word this in – but I’d be quite willing to work with anyone who wants to try and have a bash at getting this wording out if you’re interested in looking at it from that perspective.

We also need to consider the role of the regulator – because often – it is not the regulator who triggers these shutdowns – it is above them that those orders come down from.  As a matter of fact, I am quite proud to see that I have seen one regulator so far stand up on this list and SUPPORT this proposal – it surprised me and I congratulate and thank them for standing for their convictions, that really made me a very happy man to see.

I’d love to see more comments from regulators in this discussion about this – there are many on this list – and let’s hope they are prepared to come and give their views, either for or against, and explain WHY their views are what they are.  Let us approach this in the spirit of discussion and the spirit of finding the RIGHT solution.  If that is an edit of the current policy or a total re-draft – either way is acceptable.

I think the point here is – I believe there needs to be something more than statements as  you have said – there need to be consequences for actions such as these – how those consequences are directed and applied is a very wide debate – and I think it’s one we should all deeply engage in.  That however an opinion – there are others who feel that the neutrality of the internet organizations is sacrosanct and we should stay out of it – and on a personal level and not speaking for anyone else, or any other entity, I acknowledge those views – I choose however to disagree with that stance.

What I am seeing so far from the discussions, is that there seems to be general agreement on the fact that there is a problem – so the problem statement of rogue states and shutdowns is real – the debate then is how we do something about it – so, open to ideas, and once again, open to co-authors


From: Arsène Tungali [mailto:arsenebaguma at]
Sent: 12 April 2017 17:14
To: Mukom Akong T. <mukom.tamon at<mailto:mukom.tamon at>>
Cc: rpd at<mailto:rpd at>
Subject: Re: [rpd] New Policy Proposal - "Anti-Shutdown (AFPUB-2017-GEN-001-DRAFT-01)"

Hi everyone,

Internet shutdowns is a topic that I am interested in so much and have been involved in research, drafting statements sent to government officials, have spoken in various avenues and have written pieces for websites, blogs, journals, etc. I consider myself being an advocate of an open and accessible internet to all. I am opposed to any form of disruption over the network including Internet shutdown whatever the reason.

For those of us who have little knowledge on this, I would suggest two links:
-          One which is a report on the State of Internet freedoms in DRC (my country):
-          And a blogpost I recently wrote for CIPESA on the same issue:
I am also a believer that we need concrete actions (more than just statements) to help our governments understand that for no reason, they should shutdown the Internet. In DRC, we are at 4% Internet penetration, yet we have experienced Internet shutdown more than 4 times, being one of those African countries that have been seriously touched (Cameroon is now leading). And we felt the effect of being disconnected to all communications including SMS, Internet, etc. It is harmful!

I was one of those who sent praises to AFRINIC for issuing a statement condemning Internet shutdowns and I am glad as a community, we have been thinking on some practical measures that will, hopefully, force our government to no longer consider Internet shutdown whenever they are trying to hide something. I would like to congratulate the authors of this proposal but I am not yet in support of the measures they have suggested because, to sum up my point here, this will cause so much damage to those entities that will not benefit from resources though they are not associated with the decision (which is a Gov decision most of the times) to shutdown the Internet.

I note so many other people including Seun have mentioned this in this thread.

After reading the proposal, I have the following comment which are leading my worry in supporting this proposal as it is:
We need measures that will only affect the entity ordering the shutdown (the Government then the Regulator). In my country for example, it is the Regulator who is executing an order that came from the Gov. If we decide to not deliver resources to other entities (Schools, research centers, etc), be they related to the Gov, we will be doing more bad to them as they will simply be victims.

I am glad the authors are all from ISPs (if I am not mistaken), which is a good sign. In this debate across Africa, there were close to no statement or action from ISPs with regards to Internet shutdown though they are the ones executing, in most cases, the decision to turn it off, a request they receive from the Regulator. In most cases, they have no means to say no given the fact that they have signed an agreement (MoU) with the Gov to abide by any request from the Gov including network disruptions (this is applicable in DRC as per the report I previously shared).

I do believe there is more ISPs can help with in the battle against Government ordered shutdowns and if something like this can be added to this policy, that will be helpful. One of the possibilities are to engage the Gov. in a win-win discussion. You guys are doing business with the Gov. and you lose money whenever there is shutdown. There is a way you can find an agreement with the Gov. and discuss the fact that you cannot continue losing money when there is no appealing reason to shutdown the Internet. We have ISPs as AFRINIC members, this is something they can think of and come up with a proposal (with the support of the community).

If ever this proposal goes further, I would suggest these measures to ONLY affect the Regulator (not sure if they are also members of AFRINIC but they might) rather than any entity owned or related to/by the Government. We will be doing more harm than good.


*Arsène Tungali*
Co-Founder & Executive Director, Rudi international<>,
CEO, Smart Services Sarl<>, Mabingwa Forum<>
Tel: +243 993810967
GPG: 523644A0
Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
2015 Mandela Washington Felllow<> (YALI) - ISOC Ambassador (IGF Brazil<> & Mexico<>) - AFRISIG 2016<> - Blogger<> - ICANN Fellow (Los Angeles<> & Marrakech<>). AFRINIC Fellow (Mauritius<>) - IGFSA Member<> - Internet Governance - Internet Freedom.

Check the 2016 State of Internet Freedom in DRC report<>

2017-04-12 15:20 GMT+02:00 Mukom Akong T. <mukom.tamon at<mailto:mukom.tamon at>>:
**wearing NO hat**

On 12 April 2017 at 14:02, Barrack Otieno <otieno.barrack at<mailto:otieno.barrack at>> wrote:
Hi Mukom,
Understood, i raised this point because i am aware of the fact that it has not been easy to get the Afrinic Government working group going and this could be a great area of engaging this group since most of the shutdowns can be attributed to lack of knowledge by key actors and sheer ignorance.

The job of building capacity with governments is important and definitely will continue - not just from AFRINIC, but also from other stake-holders - irrespective of the outcome of this proposal. But that's a side issue.

As a key stakeholder it would be  great idea to include them in this conversation.

I don't see any attempt to exclude them. The AFRINIC PDP is open to all. Each and every person that has ever been to the AFGWG knows about this mailing list and how to take part in it. I'm hoping that they are following and we'll be seeing contributions from them soon (some already have responded)

My point was that there's no room in the PDP for the community to wait ad-infinitum for a response from them.

The proposal is well intentioned but the outcome might be in the interest of proponents of Internet shutdowns.

It would greatly enhance this discussion if you could state how this will be in their interest.


Mukom Akong T.

LinkedIn:Mukom<>  |  twitter: @perfexcellent
“When you work, you are the FLUTE through whose lungs the whispering of the hours turns to MUSIC" - Kahlil Gibran

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