In an unprecedented policy suggestion, some members of the AFRINIC community have proposed denying internet to African governments that shut it down in their respective countries.
AFRINIC stands for African Network Information Centre, and it is one of the world’s five regional internet registries, with responsibility for Africa.
The proposed AFRINIC policy, dubbed the anti-shutdown policy, aims to deny Internet Protocol (IP) addresses to governments that disconnect their citizens, particularly during critical political events like elections and demonstrations.
IP addresses are unique identifiers that are necessary to connect to the internet, without which governments cannot get online.
Proponents of the policy feel it may deter the increasingly common, and unilateral, decisions by African governments to switch off the internet. They argue that the economic costs of internet shutdowns are extremely high while their intended law and order objectives are never achieved.
Should an internet institution, like AFRINIC, move beyond distributing IP resources to get involved in acts of ‘policing’ the internet? Join the discussion, click here.