Re: [gaia] Blog on AFRINIC proposal

Andrew Sullivan <> Mon, 05 June 2017 21:44 UTC

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From: Andrew Sullivan <>
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Subject: Re: [gaia] Blog on AFRINIC proposal
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On Mon, Jun 05, 2017 at 04:17:25PM -0500, Maureen Hernandez wrote:
> create the conditions in which, when governments say they're going to
> "shut down" the Internet, they look absurd because they're going to do
> most damage to themselves."
> we may not be taking into account that this government don't care about
> what they look or their "reputation" given the fact that the shutdown in
> the first place is not a very popular act.

I think I didn't make plain the point I was trying to make, which is
that there comes a time when persuasion doesn't work and you have to
let people (in this case politicians) hurt themselves.  The more
important we make Internet connectivity, the worse this gets.  There
still _are_ governments who will shut off the power to various
citizens in an effort to control the population, after all.

> Are we, as a technical community, gonna keep working pretending this is not
> happening? trying to connect the next billion to "an" Internet that will
> depend on the desire of their government rulers?

I don't think anyone is pretending that.  

We cannot, of course, do anything to correct the most foolish power
abuses in any country.  (If we had illusions about that, I should hope
the last decade has provided appropriate corrections, in every part of
the world.)  What we can do is make it (technically) hard for people
to interrupt the Internet, and make such interruptions (politically)
untenable.  Neither of those paths entails threatening sovereign
governments.  But they might, both of them, involve pursuing even
harder the work of this RG.

Best regards,


Andrew Sullivan