Re: [gaia] Blog on AFRINIC proposal

Marwan Fayed <> Tue, 06 June 2017 17:46 UTC

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Date: Tue, 06 Jun 2017 18:46:15 +0100
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Subject: Re: [gaia] Blog on AFRINIC proposal
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Hi Corinne, All-

A bit late, this, but I promised to forward on behalf of a colleague who 
is off-list, but has some direct experience. There's some valid points, 
some that are re-presentations of others' comments. Might be worthwhile. 
See below.

Be well,

"Hi Marwan, I’m not on the GAIA list, thanks for forwarding it to me. 
Please forward my response if you think it is of interest.

AfriNIC's proposal as described by the CFR article [1] does indeed seem 
like a very bad idea. In conflict zones — those countries likely to turn 
off the network when it suits are likely to be involved in conflict 
internally or with their neighbours — communication, in whatever medium, 
is the single most important thing to bring about the end of the 
conflict.  Trying to "punish" one of the belligerents by making it more 
difficult for everyone to communicate is misguided and just makes the 
situation worse. In addition to those actually in the conflict, 
technical measures to restrict communication will primarily harm regular 
people who are mainly concerned with keeping their lives afloat in 
sometimes chaotic circumstances. Some communication is better than none.

Furthermore, where the conflict is internal, it is due to inequality of 
some kind, normally having to do with land or wealth or power. Denying 
technical resources to the country means increasing scarcity. Those who 
already have the advantage of wealth and power will better be able to 
control the now artificially scarce resource, increases inequality, and 
exacerbates the causes of the conflict. That’s the opposite of the 
intended effect.

Of course governments controlling access to communications 
infrastructure in order to stifle dissent is objectionable. But this 
policy is misguided, and it is worrying to see a NIC suggesting 
political actions like this. They should be neutral and above politics, 
custodians and managers of a shared resource for humanity, not arbiters 
of human behaviour.

Best wishes,
William Waites
Edinburgh (ex-N’Djamena)


On 03/06/2017 10:16, Corinne Cath wrote:
> Dear all,
> CFR invited me to write a blog about the recent AFRINIC proposal to deny 
> IP addresses to governments mandating Internet shutdowns. Might be of 
> interest.
> Best,
> -- 
> Corinne J.N. Cath
> Ph.D. Candidate, Oxford Internet Institute & Alan Turing Institute
> Web: 
> <>
> Email: <> & 
> <>
> Twitter: @C_Cath
> _______________________________________________
> gaia mailing list

Marwan Fayed
Computing Science & Math
University of Stirling
Stirling, UK FK9 4LA
+44(0)1786 46 7454