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

Mark Elkins mje at
Tue Apr 18 12:40:09 UTC 2017

On 17/04/2017 20:06, Adnan RIHAN wrote:
> Hello brothers,
> I’m just a young Congolese (BZV) citizen, and here is my own thoughts
> about this policy and your reactions. I’m a new ML member and this is
> my first email to any afrinic’s ML.

Welcome to the list. Please note, I'm going to disagree with your
thought on this. Please don't be offended or stop posting in the future.
I'm glad you have viewed your opinion because I believe many others -
including Governments - share it with you.  I also assume that you
wouldn't mind if there was a solution to the problem of Internet

> Some of us live in more or less free countries, others under hidden
> dictatorships, and the rest of us in locked-down countries.

True. I think I live in a more or less free country. Switching off the
Internet in South Africa wouldn't be as simple as perhaps others. We
have multiple undersea cables and cables that cross boarders all over. A
number of people also have Satellite connections. We have a large number
of providers and much of our content is local. An Internet shutdown
would indeed be a catastrophe, the countries economy would almost
certainly slow down considerably.

> This policy started from an idea, good or bad, based on the fact that
> Internet is sometimes shutdown in some countries, for good or bad
> reasons. Unfortunately, AFRINIC has NO POWER AT ALL on any
> governments, so we are trying to find a leverage.

This is not quite true (AFRINIC has no power).

There are many organisations that want to see Internet Access for all,
such as ISOC. AFRINIC also falls within this category. This is part of
AFRINIC's vision.

Unlike a number of these organisations, AFRINIC actually does have
power. All machines connected to the Internet need unique identifiers -
that is, IP addresses. If its IPv4 - it could be behind NAT, but
somewhere along the line - something has to have a unique address. For
IPv6 - there is no NAT - so every machine numbered with IPv6 is unique.
(I'm ignoring things like AnyCast - to keep this discussion simple).

What do you think happens when someone who is a customer of an RIR stops
paying the RIR for their services? The Address space is reclaimed. The
RIR can examine the Routing Tables and if the address space is still
being advertised - they can ask a suitable upstream service provider (or
two) to stop accepting the routes - so the Address space is no longer
seen. That organisation is then effectively cut off from using the Internet.

This is what AFRINIC can do.

Perhaps with this (completely plausible) threat hanging over people that
want to block Internet to other people - they will think twice before
doing so - because there can be consequences. Perhaps, up until now,
they are thinking like you, that no one can cut them off? You should
rather be telling people, indeed, AFRINC could cut you off.

> Like Tutu said, there is almost nothing we (as AFRINIC’s community)
> can do about it without collateral damages on citizens.

If the citizens are already being cut off - what further damage would be
done? Others might actually say "Hey, you are cutting off that
population group - then we will happily join them" ?

>  Considering
> the fact that this Policy would be dangerous for citizens and nearly
> useless against governments, we should start a thread somewhere else
> to continue finding ideas.

I hope you see that this is not necessarily correct.

> Unfortunately, only citizens of a country have the power to change
> things, legally and peacefully. Such citizens could organize a sit in
> (if it’s legal) in front of gov’s offices, write mass letters, do a
> peaceful walk or even create a local protesting group associating
> medias. Anyways, 

That is certainly one method to do this. Use public opinion to get a
change to happen. It doesn't seem to have worked in the Cameroon yet.

> it won’t be AFRINIC’s business. could be AFRINIC's business policy - ugly as it is.

> --
> Regards, Adnan RIHAN

Mark James ELKINS  -  Posix Systems - (South) Africa
mje at       Tel: +27.128070590  Cell: +27.826010496
For fast, reliable, low cost Internet in ZA:

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