Afrikan Governments That Cut Off Internet Access Could Soon Be Denied IP Addresses And Other Web Resources

A proposal submitted to the African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC), the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Africa, is calling for Afrikan governments that shut down Internet access in their countries be denied resources, in this case IP addresses, for a period of twelve months following the shutdown.

The proposal also recommends that the punishment be extended to "all government-owned entities and entities that have a direct provable relationship with said government".

AFRINIC is responsible for the distribution and management of Internet number resources - IP address space (IPv4 and IPv6) and Autonomous System Numbers (ASNs) - in Africa and the Indian Ocean region.

"Over the last few years we have seen more and more governments shutting down the free and open access to the internet in order to push political and other agendas. These shutdowns have been shown to cause economic damage and hurt the citizens of the affected countries." reads the Anti-Shutdown-01 proposal submitted by Andrew Alston and Ben Roberts of Liquid Telecommunications, and Fiona Asonga of the Telecomunications Service Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK).

This comes at a time when Africa has experienced some disruptive and lengthy Internet shutdowns in Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and The Gambia.

Furthermore, the proposal suggests that in the event that an Afrikan government performs three or more Internet shutdowns in a period of ten years "all resources to the aforementioned entities shall be revoked and no allocations to said entities shall occur for a period of 5 years".

The measures suggested are quite harsh should they be adopted, and as they punish the guilty governments, they will quite likely have a significant impact on the growth of the Internet in the affected countries.

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