Hi, While I am ICANN's CTO, in this context I speak only for myself, but do so with a bit of background in creating and running a Regional Internet Registry and formerly being responsible for the IANA functions. I have hesitated to comment on this thread as I am not a resource holder in the AfriNIC region, but at the suggestion that ICANN can "help", I felt compelled to say something. > Then again, when the Chairman of ICANN stands up and says that ICANN can help. > "Hi, my name is Steve Crocker, I am Chairman of ICANN and I'm here to help > you. (Regarding) take out of the root the affected ccTLD names" and he then > volunteered assistance from ICANN staff - also saying it would take between > two and five years to get to a decision whether to proceed or not. I believe Dr. Crocker was attempting to point out that developing this sort of policy will require a very (very) unlikely consensus of a large array of stakeholders (including governments) and it will take a very (very) long time to get to a point where the policy would even be considered, much less implemented.
For a bit of context, I believe the last PDP in the ccNSO (the group at ICANN that develops policy for ccTLDs) took about 9 years (depending on how you measure). Perhaps relevantly, there is no policy to remove a ccTLD from the root (aka "retiring the ccTLD") and the ccTLD community is now working on the policy to do just that. Personally, I'd be surprised if that PDP took less time. However, to be clear, if a stakeholder in the ICANN community would like to make a proposal along these lines, the ICANN organization's job is to facilitate the policy definition process for that proposal, regardless of whether we (ICANN staff) think the proposal will ever or could ever get consensus. > The current policy concept does not go that far - but to me - certainly > suggests that the idea of punitive actions against governments is worth > looking at. IMHO, it's worth looking at only in the sense of "here is an example of a really bad idea." The concept that a private organization providing a service in the public interest at the direction of the community for the benefit of the community can apply punitive actions against a governments, some of which are members of that community, is a great way to make that private organization irrelevant. If AfriNIC chooses to refuse to allocate address space in response to a valid request as a punitive measure, they are violating the basic tenets by which AfriNIC was created. The RIRs are a resource distribution mechanism that serves as a way of avoiding a myriad of bilateral arrangements that would be necessary to document which network operator holds/announces which addresses. The RIRs are NOT a police force and have no mandate to punish governments. An attempt to convert AfriNIC into the Internet police will result in a fracturing of the rough consensus by which AfriNIC exists. Further, this proposal, if enacted, will likely cause network operators in countries impacted by a shutdown to be forced to choose between abiding by the laws of their country and the policies of AfriNIC. If a government imposes a shutdown and is punished by AfriNIC, that government may choose to squat on address space and pass laws that force ISPs within that country to abide by that squatting or they'll simply go to the secondary market. In both cases, this proposal risks making AfriNIC irrelevant and/or damaging the global distributed registration database. Never forget participation in the RIR system is entirely voluntary -- it only works because network operators agrees it works. Make it challenging for those network operators and they'll find other ways to have their needs met. FWIW, while I personally understand the concerns that led to the anti-shutdown proposal, I believe the concept of using AfriNIC as a weapon to punish governments is fundamentally flawed. Regards, -drc (speaking only for myself)
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