• Ref. Name:
  • Status:
  • Date:
    24 May 2017
  • Author:
    Andrew Alston – Liquid Telecommunications -
    Ben Roberts – Liquid Telecommunications -
    Fiona Asonga – TESPOK –
  • Amends:

1. Summary of the problem being addressed by this proposal

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.

Furthermore – we believe that the Internet is a human right – and the shutting down of the Internet may well impinge on aspects of Articles 12, 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on the 10th of December 1948.


2. Summary of how this proposal addresses the problem

While the authors of this policy acknowledge that what is proposed is draconian in nature, we feel that the time has come for action to be taken, rather than just bland statements that have shown to have little or no effect.


3. Proposal

The policy proposal will modify the CPM as follows:


a. Add the following to “CPM 2.0 – General Definitions”:

2.9 Internet Shutdown: A government ordered blocking access to the general internet. Said definition does not preclude a government from censoring content that is not legally permissible within the laws of said country, on the provision that said censorship does not include a law that says “All content irrespective of its source or its nature”.

2.10 Partial Shutdown: The shutdown of a communication mechanism (e.g. WhatsApp, Social Media, Voice Traffic etc.), outside the standing law of the country.

b. Introduce a section 13 to the CPM as follows:

13.0 Internet shutdown or partial shutdown order by governments


13.1 Process to be followed when a shutdown is suspected

  1. Should an individual or entity believe that a shutdown has occurred, or is in process, the entity or individual shall communicate to AFRINIC, via email or in writing, that they believe such a shutdown is currently occurring or has occurred.
  2. AFRINIC shall then appeal to the community for evidence of the alleged shutdown, and a two week period shall be given for submissions.
  3. The evidence submitted shall then be submitted to the AFRINIC governance committee for evaluation and adjudication, against the definitions stated in sections 2.9 and 2.10 of the CPM. The Governance committee is free to use whatever means they choose in their deliberations and investigations. These deliberations and investigations should be completed within two weeks of the submission of evidence defined in the previous paragraph.


13.2 Entities to which this policy applies

  1. The actions specified in section 13.3 shall apply to the government of the country in which the shutdown is occurring, and to any entities in which the state holds greater than 50% shareholding.
  2. There is an exclusion from this policy for all academic and educational institutions, irrespective of their relationship to the governments concerned.


13.3 In the event of an internet shutdown performed at the order of a government that is either total or partial:

  1. For a period of 12 months following the end of the shutdown – AFRINIC will allocate no resources to entities referred to in section 13.2.a with the exclusion of entities covered in section 13.2.b
  2. In the event of a transfer policy existing, AFRINIC shall not assist or participate in any transfers to any of the entities referred to in section 13.2.a with the exclusion of entities covered in 13.2.b.
  3. All sub-allocations of space within said country involving the entities referred to in section 13.2.a with the exclusion of entities mentioned in 13.2.b shall cease.


13.3 In the event of a government performing 3 or more such shutdowns in a period of 10 years – all resources to the entities referred to in section 13.2.a with the exclusion of entities referred to in section 13.2.b shall be revoked.


Revision History

Date Comment
10 April 2017

Version 01

24 April 2017

Version 02:

  • Added point 2.10 to create a definition of partial shutdown
  • Added Section 13.1 to define the process to be followed when a shutdown is suspected.
  • Added section 13.2 to define the entities to which the policy shall apply
  • Section 13.2 renumbered to section 13.3.
  • Text in 13.3 was reworded to reference section 13.2 for the sake of clarity.


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