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APNIC calls in lawyers to handle election code of conduct breach allegations

Threats to voters also reported as vote for regional internet registry heats up

Regional internet registry the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) has appointed external lawyers to consider allegations of multiple breaches of its election nominee code of conduct, including threats related to the election.

APNIC last week warned members that it had been informed some had received phone calls lobbying for votes, during which the caller claimed to be an APNIC staffer. APNIC told members that claim is false and urged those who receive similar approaches to report any such calls or emails.

The organization today notfied members it has “received many more reports of potential breaches of the election nominee code of conduct.”

“Most reports have included complaints of unsolicited phone calls and emails promoting candidates,” the APNIC secretariat’s post states, adding: “However, there have been credible and serious reports of Members receiving threatening anonymous phone calls demanding silence on election issues.”

The organisation’s secretariat condemned the behaviour as “completely unacceptable” and wrote that the alleged threats have been reported to police.

APNIC has now appointed a law firm to law firm to oversee the election nominee code of conduct.

An APNIC spokesperson told The Register the firm – Maddocks – was hired because the role of assessing code of conduct complaints is handled by a volunteer who cannot be expected to investigate the number of reports the organisation has received since last week. The spokesperson told us 14 reports were received within hours of its last notice, and that the total is now at least 18. The organisation continues to process help desk requests and other channels as they have also yielded complaints or reports of behaviour worthy of investigation.

Maddocks will now assess complaints about the conduct of the election.

As The Register reported last week, the election for four members of the APNIC executive council has seen allegations raised that a ticket of candidates has used misinformation to advance an argument that the registry is poorly governed, undemocratic, and inefficient.

Candidates supporting that position have been endorsed by an organisation called the Number Resource Society (NRS), a Morocco-based entity that once shared a physical address with Larus Limited, a Hong Kong IP address broker that employs some of the candidates.

Larus’ CEO, Lu Heng, holds the same position at a company called Cloud Innovation that is involved in legal disputes with the African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC).

The NRS website has previously listed the organisation’s address at the same Hong Kong location as Larus.

The Register has asked Larus Limited CEO Lu Heng why his company and NRS once shared an address. We also asked whether he or any employee of Larus or Cloud Innovation, or any entity they use as a supplier, has had any role in the creation or operation of NRS.

He did not address our questions in his response, which saw him restate that Larus “supports the work of Number Resource Society in exposing corruption and mismanagement in RIRs.”

The NRS appears to offer itself as an alternative to the The Number Resource Organization (NRO), a body created by regional internet registries as a coordinating body for joint work and their shared mission of internet resource administration.

While the NRS claims extensive membership, it has no affiliations with RIRs. ®

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