Those that have heard me speak in the past about Internet Governance will appreciate that no one government or entity has control over the internet and how it operates. However, different organisations — such as auDA, ICANN, ARIN and APNIC — are delegated with responsibility for key resources we rely on every day.
In Australia, our internet resources, IP addresses and network routes, are administered by APNIC, an Australian entity. APNIC is governed by an executive council, which consists of members appointed from throughout the Asia Pacific Region. APNIC holds elections for its Executive Council this year at APRICOT; an annual internet conference.
This year, a number of candidates have been proposed that appear to be ultimately connected to a single commercial entity. These candidates have expressed a desire to “reform” the governance of APNIC. Over the last few years, companies like Cloud Innovation, LARUS and the more misleading organisation “Number Resource Society (NRS)” have been pushing the narrative that RIRs serve no purpose, and that the democratic process of number assignment and control should be replaced with a more corporate-style structure.
These changes would ultimately further increase the cost of IP resources, reduce the ability for new providers to enter the market, and remove many of the governance elements that currently protect the internet as we know it.
Recently, ARIN, the organisation that administers the US Address Space has commented publicly on the actions of this organisation, and the current dispute that exists with AFRINIC, and the threat that these organisations have provided to the internet community. It is worth noting that Mr Lu is one of the individuals seeking election to the APNIC EC this year. Another candidate supported by this organisation have already breached the election code of conduct.
Even recognising the issues present in AFRINIC, or ARIN’s public statement, the APNIC bylaws do not provide stringent enough criteria for APNIC to ensure candidates are of “good standing” in the global internet community, and there is insufficient controls to prevent vote purchasing or coercion.
Real World recognises that as an APNIC member we have a responsibility to protect the global internet. We acutely recognise that if APNIC can not take action to address this, the future of the internet in our region may be at risk.
Yesterday, Karl Kloppenborg wrote to the Australian Network Operators Group, requesting members take action; and specifically encouraged Australian APNIC members to vote in the election. While Australia does hold large amounts of internet resources, historically our country is under-represented in voting for the EC. We endorse both the proposed course of action, and also all APNIC members taking the time to vote in this years election.