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No More IP Addresses For Countries That Shut Down Internet Access (theregister.co.uk) 141

Governments that cut off internet access to their citizens could find themselves refused new IP addresses under a proposal put forward by one of the five global IP allocation organizations. From a report: The suggested clampdown will be considered at the next meeting of internet registry Afrinic in Botswana in June: Afrinic is in charge of managing and allocating IP address blocks across Africa. Under the proposal, a new section would be added to Afrinic's official rules that would allow the organization to refuse to hand over any new IP address to a country for 12 months if it is found to have ordered an internet shutdown. The ban would cover all government-owned entities and others that have a "direct provable relationship with said government." It would also cover any transfer of address space to those entities from others. That withdrawal of services would escalate if the country continued to pull the plug on internet access. Under the proposal: "In the event of a government performing three or more such shutdowns in a period of 10 years -- all resources to the aforementioned entities shall be revoked and no allocations to said entities shall occur for a period of 5 years."
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No More IP Addresses For Countries That Shut Down Internet Access

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Those countries that pull the plug don't care about IP addressing. All they care about is staying under the radar so they can continue commuting crimes against humanity.

    • Yes but some of the governments of the world doing this try to pretend they are the good guys. For instance following this policy would result in refusing to give new IP space to the US and EU.
      • Nonesense

      • by Carewolf ( 581105 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @01:46PM (#54229493) Homepage

        Yes but some of the governments of the world doing this try to pretend they are the good guys. For instance following this policy would result in refusing to give new IP space to the US and EU.

        Neither the US nor any EU country has shut down the internet nationwide for even for brief periods. An internet shutdown has typically been done in a country on the verge of revolution to cut off the protesters ability to coordinate over US or EU based social media.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by klingens ( 147173 )

          So how are partial shutdowns like whatsapp or twitter or youtube (bad videos which insult maximo lider) handled?
          And how are these youtube shutdowns vs. shutdowns for alleged terrorism, copyright infringement, etc. handled?
          How is a youtube shutdown for insulting some powerful asshole worse than shutting down a site for infringement or propaganda?
          Or even: the many year long ban of music on youtube in Germany since there was a lawsuit against youtube by GEMA? Is this a shutdown or not, is this a government act

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Those are services provided by companies. That isn't the same as the govt shutting down the whole internet. Shutting down a service or two because it breaks some laws of the land is business as usual. Shutting down the entire internet is not.

            • "Those are services provided by companies. That isn't the same as the govt shutting down the whole internet. Shutting down a service or two because it breaks some laws of the land is business as usual. Shutting down the entire internet is not."

              The President has the ability to veto bills but not line veto because selective line veto is considered dramatically more powerful. Selectively shutting down dissenting voices or those the government doesn't like for whatever reason (which is all violating a law of th
              • It depends where you are dissenting voice is not unlawful in all countries and having a dissenting voice doesn't mean breaking laws you don't agree with that is civil disobedience.

                If you practice civil disobedience then when you are fined or arrested you should accept guilt and defend your stance that the law should be changed or abolished.

              • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

                The President has the ability to veto bills but not line veto because selective line veto is considered dramatically more powerful.

                The line item veto was ruled unconstitutional because it takes legislative powers and reassigns them to the President. If you have a bill with many parts that depend on each other, but the President can pass one but not the others, then he is not passing the bill as Congress had intended or passed itself. He is creating his own bill out of the pieces of another and then passing that, which is both creating and passing legislation.

                • Or in this case appropriating the power of public speech by selectively recreating the message (bill) through selectively silencing individual sites (lines). This allows them to create a false view of the internet.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by fafalone ( 633739 )
          So as long as it's not nationwide, it's ok? US police shut down cell service [aclu.org] for hours to stop protestors, who almost certainly weren't planning anything actually dangerous.
      • Wait, your goto for this example is the US and the EU, ignoring the gigantic Chinese elephant in the room?

        • If there is a gigantic Chinese elephant tossed under my nose why would I point out the obvious rather than highlighting the weasels that put it there? Am I supposed to support them hiding in the back asking little girls if they want some candy?
    • And so the iron curtain became an iron NAT...
    • by zieroh ( 307208 )

      The thing is, this doesn't punish the governments. It punishes the people in those countries that already endured a government shutdown.

      Way to pour salt on the wounds.

      • by Zumbs ( 1241138 )
        You may want to qualify this statement as TFS states that only government entities would be banned, not citizens or non-government organizations or corperations. Assuming that paying taxes and similar does not constitute a "direct provable relationship with said government."

        The ban would cover all government-owned entities and others that have a "direct provable relationship with said government."

        • The thing is who will decide what "direct provable relationship with said government" really means? They can decide on any interpretation probably mostly informed by kickbacks from entities in question. Whether particular relationship qualifies as direct or no can be very subjective, their decisions wouldn't be subject to much of scrutiny and they can decide whatever they wish.
          • by Zumbs ( 1241138 )
            Good points. Anyone wielding authority should be subject to an open process protecting against abuse of said authority, and the rules should be sufficiently clear that everyone knows when they are breaking and/or bending the rules. If this is not observed, it will end with abuse, corruption and nepotism.
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Start playing wars with IP addresses and expect IP address conflicts because why bother to play nice if they wont let you play. What happens when they start using existing ones from other locales, kind of make a mess of the network.

    • Those countries that pull the plug don't care about IP addressing. All they care about is staying under the radar so they can continue commuting crimes against humanity.

      Often true but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do anything. I don't know if this proposal will help or hurt but it's an interesting idea.

      • Often true but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do anything.

        Ah, yes, the classic politician's syllogism [wikipedia.org]:

        1. We must do something.
        2. This is something
        3. Therefore, we must do this.
        • by mspohr ( 589790 )

          Interesting insight.
          I think that's why Trump bombed Syria.
          We must do something.
          This is something.
          Therefore, we must do this.
          (Even though it won't make things better... and probably worse.)

          • He bombed Syria b'cos that pretty daughter of his came w/ pictures of those dead gassed babies, telling him, 'Daddy, do something'. So he called Gen Mattis and the rest was history. Somehow, forgot his own campaign points of what would Assad's replacements look like.
    • Those countries that pull the plug don't care about IP addressing. All they care about is staying under the radar so they can continue commuting crimes against humanity.

      Not true, technically. The first world cuts internet access for anyone pirating things too much.

    • by ElizabethGreene ( 1185405 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @02:34PM (#54229849)
      I, personally, do not want internet authorities making political decisions. This is a terrible idea.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      >commuting crimes against humanity

      You mean like using the HOV lane when you don't have more than 2 people in the car? God, those drivers who do that should be shot.

    • The argument against handing off ICANN to a multi-country board rather than keeping it controlled by the US commerce department was fear that policies would be imposed by the directors on granting names. examples given were china refusing ICAAN names for falung gong orgs even in other countries.

      This seems like the same sort of meddling, only with IP addresses.

      It doesn't matter that the policy actually sounds like a good one. Once you start down this road it will suck.

      • The stuff you are describing is owned further downstream, by IANA and the RIRs. ICANN owns the TLDs.
        • by jsm300 ( 669719 )
          You are partly correct and partly wrong. IANA is part of ICANN, so it is not independent of ICANN. But the RIR's are independent organizations. For IPV4 IANA is out of the business of assigning address blocks, since they handed off their last blocks of IPV4 addresses to the RIR's. IANA is still involved in IPV6 address assignment, i.e. they are the top level of the pyramid, and they give out large blocks of addresses to the RIR's. But it would be difficult for IANA to try to enforce a policy like this, sinc
      • The argument against handing off ICANN to a multi-country board rather than keeping it controlled by the US commerce department was fear that policies would be imposed by the directors on granting names. examples given were china refusing ICAAN names for falung gong orgs even in other countries.

        This seems like the same sort of meddling, only with IP addresses.

        It doesn't matter that the policy actually sounds like a good one. Once you start down this road it will suck.

        If you paid any attention instead of just trolling, you would notice this action is basically an extension of US government policies of not working with countries with military coups. It is specifically addressing a specific case of a military shutting down the internet while taking over power.

    • And besides, if you're going to do this to your citizens anyway, it's easier just to put the whole country on a 10.x.x.x subnet and allow access to the greater internet only through approved proxies. That way you only need ONE IP4 address for each 16 million citizens or so; a greater population than many of these countries actually have.

  • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @01:32PM (#54229389)

    Being able to blame Internet disconnection on external forces would just be icing on the cake.

    What we really ought to do is declare free communication a human right (though I pity the person trying to figure out language allowing the suppression of dangerous misinformation, harassment, incitement to violence, etc.), then make damn sure the borders stay 'information porous'.

    Just like beaming propaganda radio or television, we ought to be forcing free information flow on tyrannical regimes... at home and abroad. A government tries to lock things down, and the rest of the world should be working on whatever is practical for getting packets in and out of the 'no communication' zone.

    • What we really ought to do is declare free communication a human right (though I pity the person trying to figure out language allowing the suppression of dangerous misinformation, harassment, incitement to violence, etc.), then make damn sure the borders stay 'information porous'.

      The U.N. has already partially done this. Unfortunately it's not a binding treaty but rather a recommendatory resolution, but through time and acceptance it's risen to the level of customary international law. It's specifically in the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19, which states:

      Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

      It is very broad and open to a large amount of interpretation, but you find that in all international laws. Removing or restricting access to dissenting political bodies access to the information would be a pr

      • > Ideally I'd want to support no form of government censorship at all ... but there are to many possibilities for direct and blatant harm to individuals through harassment, threats

        That's largely (not completely) taken care of by having a system in which people who commit libel, threats, etc can be punished after a public trial, rather than a censorship system, in which the government blocks information from ever being t posted at all, making those decisions more or less in secret.

        Avoiding censorship an

    • Being able to blame Internet disconnection on external forces would just be icing on the cake.

      What we really ought to do is declare free communication a human right (though I pity the person trying to figure out language allowing the suppression of dangerous misinformation, harassment, incitement to violence, etc.), then make damn sure the borders stay 'information porous'.

      Just like beaming propaganda radio or television, we ought to be forcing free information flow on tyrannical regimes... at home and abroad. A government tries to lock things down, and the rest of the world should be working on whatever is practical for getting packets in and out of the 'no communication' zone.

      I would say that the authoritarian authorities in these countries want their populaces to be cut off from the internet, but they themselves want to continue enjoying it. If this proposal is adapted, then no new addresses will be available to even supporters of the regimes, such as government officials. And if 10 years pass and the addresses are recalled, that would really dry them up. Assuming that they don't know tunneling, or other such techniques.

    • IANA and the RIRs have long-standing policies concerning IPv4 allocation, that they've been enforcing more and more strictly as IPv4 space nears total exhaustion. Addresses are allocated and assigned with the understanding and agreement that they will be used efficiently. Entities that fail to make efficient use of their allocations will not receive new allocations, and may even have their current ones revoked.

      Intentional, persistent, complete blackouts are very inefficient use of precious IPv4 space , so w

  • IPv6 is oppressive? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2016q1@virtual-estates.net> on Thursday April 13, 2017 @01:35PM (#54229411) Homepage Journal

    Governments that cut off internet access to their citizens could find themselves refused new IP addresses

    So, IPv6 will become a tool of oppression?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Interesting that you brought this up. IPv4 addresses are still the only ones that are meaningful at this stage, and cutting off IPv6 doesn't make much sense.

      After all, every RIR gets a /16, which then gets assigned to different countries, which can then allocate them downstream as needed. Like say, Afrinic was unhappy with Zimbabwe and wanted to crack down on them. But even if Zimbabwe got ONE /20, say, that gives them 4 billion /48s that they can choose to release/hold to their chosen shills, and neve

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Infrastructure is more important than politics.

  • How, if at all, would moving to IPv6 affect the current situation?
    • Talking about Africa, Afrinic some years ago decided to delay its IPv6 migration, since most Africa specific content is still there only on IPv4. Also, the demands on IPv4 there are light enough that that is the one geography that's not been under pressure to migrate.

      Moving to IPv6 should make things easier, one would think. Right now, under IPv4, they have already entered phase 1 of IPv4 exhaustion [afrinic.net]. Once they're busy distributing IPv6, they could distribute it directly to organizations, I'd think. Ar

    • Each country would be issued a block of IP6 addresses, sufficient to last it a few hundred thousand years. Meaning they already have them, so nothing to withhold.
  • This isn't government regulation of the internet, since the internet registry Afrinic of botswana is a private non-profit organization. which is exactly what myself and other libertarians think should be in control of naming registry. It seems they have the incentives in the right place to guarantee unrestricted and uncensored internet access for all
    • Afrinic is the internet registry of ALL Africa, including Madagascar and some Indian Ocean Islands like Mauritius. It's not a national registry of Botswana.
  • by xession ( 4241115 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @02:15PM (#54229739)
    How does this help the citizens of that country? Now, not only are they in the dark, the rest of the world is in the dark in regards to their plight as well. The governments that institute these sort of shutoffs are already authoritarian and these organizations think the best response is to be authoritarian as well?

    These governments are already going to have better organization that a random selection of the population. Banning the provision to expand IP addresses to a given country will do nothing to curtail their authoritarian efforts. Having that organization already in place allows them to respond to things like this more easily by instituting other wisely used channels, especially now that they know about this new rule. Meanwhile, the citizens are left out in the cold, and have to rely on very skilled local community leaders to lead the way of change. Such change has happened in the past. However the playing field just shifted away from the citizens in a hard way if this passes.
    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @04:04PM (#54230431)

      It is getting hard to work in the world with no 'net access. The governments want to use it themselves for many reasons, including just entertainment for the party elite. So, cut that off and they are brought down to the level of their citizens, and that they don't like.

      Sanctions can work when they can actually effect the powerful. If you can do something that makes their life worse, that has an effect on them, then they care. This is something that has the potential to do that.

      No silver bullet, but nothing is.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So a dictator shuts down the Internet so citizens can't use it, African Internet leaders think that once Internet has been turned on again it's a good idea to make it harder for people to gain access to It addresses.

    This is just another form of censorship, and it hurts the citizen.

  • This is waaaay overdue --- but I sincerely doubt it will ever be acted upon?
    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      By the time the 12 months expires there wont be any IPv4 addresses left to give them.

  • Sorry but the country can simply issue all the IP addresses they want and fuck the rest of the world if there is ip conflicts. They act like they can control it and in reality they cant control anything and will instead cause huge problems later on.

    Dear Internet Registry... I suggest you get people on your board that actually understand how networking and the internet on it's own even works.

    • Except that the country in question won't be able to network either, if the addresses they use have conflicts with IPs in other countries
      • by Luthair ( 847766 )
        Not a network expert but what about BGP, they could start sending out routing updates specify that they own the IPs. Then you have to convince everyone that they need to ignore them.
    • Re:Hissy fit. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Thursday April 13, 2017 @05:17PM (#54230953) Homepage Journal

      Conflicts means your link neighbors will not route traffic through you anymore, because it becomes a reliability issue. And now you're effectively cut off from the Internet. If governments forced the issue we'd see fragmentation and the collapse of the Internet within that region. It's a very possible scenario, and some parties might even find it desirable.

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