Re: [gaia] Blog on AFRINIC proposal

Andrew Sullivan <> Sun, 04 June 2017 15:43 UTC

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From: Andrew Sullivan <>
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Subject: Re: [gaia] Blog on AFRINIC proposal
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On Sat, Jun 03, 2017 at 05:09:51PM +0300, Nicolas Pace wrote:
> One could be cross boarder links, or border IXPs... But I'm not that versed in these things to give an opinion

A government sufficiently motivated to "shut down the Internet" will
shut down those links and IXPs too, unless they are of sufficient
density and number that the government can't go after them all.  The
"numbers" problem is actually _part_ of the problem.  (This is also,
of course, why increased concentration in "tier 1" transit providers
is dangerous for the Internet.)

But the more basic problem with the proposal as presented is that it
is attempting a tech fix to a social problem.  Governments who
intervene in this way have decided that access to the Internet by
(some subset of their) citizens is less valuable to them than control
over communications.  This pattern is the same whether it is shutdowns
by any government anywhere, or (in my opinion) less catastrophic but
more corrisive attacks such as overall weakening of cryptographic
algorithms or the hoarding of network-effective vulnerabilities.

The answer to all of that is to continue to make the Internet ever
more valuable both in its own terms and in social terms.  We want to
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.  I want it to be as the scene in _Blazing
Saddles_: "Nobody move or the prisoner* gets it!"  That's not
advocacy, of course.  It's instead, "Everything over IP."  Still a
good slogan.

Best regards,


* note: not the actual word in the scene. 

Andrew Sullivan