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

Andrew Alston Andrew.Alston at
Tue Apr 18 13:00:44 UTC 2017

+1 Mark,

Another comment here is that as you say, AFRINIC actually does have the power to do something here - the question is if we wish to go down that road - not the question of if we can.  Hence the debate around the policy.

I might also add, as much as we can sit and say it is up to the citizens of the country to protest - this is often actually far more difficult to achieve than what we are proposing - since in many cases protests can be met with brutality that is second to none - and I question the wisdom of passing all of this to the citizens to protest when we have the power to act in a manner that may protect the people on the ground.

As I have also said, the policy can be tightened to ensure that we minimize collateral damage as much as is possible - the question is about the wording and the ideas to do that.  I've been observing the list very closely over the last few days in the discussions and some of the things I have seen on the list which the authors are now considering are:

a.) An exception for academic organisations - irrespective of if they are government or otherwise
b.) Target the proposal at the executive arms of government - though we're not sure how practical this is
c.) Removal of the clause that refers to entities with state relations - so that it only affects entities directly owned by the state and the state itself rather than those who provide it services

Again, I need to stress, the authors are approaching this from as collaborative position as possible, and we welcome wording proposals and ideas so that we can get this right.  We welcome thoughts on the above 3 points as well.  We hope to have a second draft out this week which takes into account many of these things



-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Elkins [mailto:mje at] 
Sent: 18 April 2017 15:40
To: rpd at
Subject: Re: [rpd] New Policy Proposal - "Anti-Shutdown (AFPUB-2017-GEN-001-DRAFT-01)"

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 disconnections.

> 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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