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Why did Paul Wilson's APNIC threaten to withdraw support from APRICOT 2024? An NRS member reveals all.

Updated: Feb 23

Paul Wilson's APNIC threatened to withdraw from a APRICOT conference, after one of Number Resource Society (NRS) members had requested to enter a sponsorship arrangement with APRICOT.


APNIC threatened to withdraw their support for the important event if APRICOT entered into a commercial sponsorship arrangement with LARUS. The commercial sponsorship amount in question was $24,000.


Our member received an email from the organizers of APRICOT - confirming that they have been instructed by "Asia Pacific Internet Association Pty Ltd", that APNIC will withdraw their support of APRICOT 2023 If the member in question kept its sponsorship deal.


You can read the email here. NRS have redacted the name of the individual at APRICOT because they are innocent victims in this scandal of APNIC's making.




You can watch a video from NRS member giving some background to the scandal here.

This decision must have been completely taken by staff members of APNIC - presumably under the direction of Paul Wilson. it was a unilateral decision with no public confirmation from EC members, which is mandatory for these kinds of big decisions. APNIC can't withdraw from such an important community event without the approval of the EC. These types of unilateral decisions will create further tension between the elected EC and the secretariat.


The motivation for APNIC's petty and bizarre behavior seems to be Paul Wilson's personal dislike of LARUS CEO, Lu Heng. Mr. Heng, a candidate for the 2023 EC elections, has long raised serious questions about the governance and mismanagement of APNIC. It is well known amongst the wider APNIC community, Mr. Wilson, who, until recently, has been sole director of APNIC for 30 years, has a dislike of scrutiny.


Allowing personal opinions of community members to muddy corporate decisions and threaten APNIC's involvement in such an important community event just shows how Mr. Wilson is losing perspective on what is important. If you are lucky enough to be a Director of an RIR you should not take out personally grudges against companies or individuals, they dislike. All members should be treated equally.


Lu Heng told NRS membership that he respected all RIRs, respected Paul Wilson, was grateful for his record 30 years of service to APNIC but made clear that liking and respecting someone is not a reason not to scrutinize their actions or to hold them accountable. LARUS is a legitimate sponsorship of APRICOT that had been censored and cancelled because of a one-sided personal dispute.


We at NRS believe that APRICOT is a valuable event for the community. NRS advised our member - LARUS - that this wasn't worth a fight with Mr. Wilson, but members have agreed it is in the public interest to disclose the truth.


Since APNIC’s intervention, LARUS have not been given further opportunities to sponsor APRICOT 2024 as it is understood the boycott threat from APNIC remains in place.

LARUS have confirmed to NRS that they are attending APRICOT 2024 and stressed that APRICOT have been put in an impossible position by Paul Wilson's APNIC. LARUS told NRS that it is a shame that APRICOT lost sponsorship but ensuring the event took place to include APNIC was the right thing to prioritise.


NRS members are grateful that APRICOT is going ahead with APNIC's full involvement. For the future, Number Resource Society encourage APNIC to withdraw these types of commercial threats deployed against entities such as APRICOT. It is bullying and petty behaviour which our RIR's should be above. We also encourage APNIC’s Paul Wilson to apologize to the wider community for APNIC’s behavior; as we believe that sincere apologies will close the matter and brings more peace and stability to the community. If Mr Wilson is unable or unwilling to drop personal vengeance against individuals that clearly cloud his judgement, perhaps now is the time to move on.


Why NRS loves APRICOT.

Asia Pacific Regional Internet Conference on Operational Technologies (APRICOT) is the largest international Internet technologies and operations conference in the Asia Pacific region. Supported by the The Internet Society, APRICOT has drawn many of the world's best Internet engineers, operators, researchers, service providers, users and policy communities from over 50 countries to teach, present, and do their own human networking over the years.




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Why? The letter you posted explains why - Larus was in a dispute with APNIC, so APNIC didn't want to do business with Larus while that was ongoing. I think that is reasonable - accepting sponsorship from an organization with which you have a dispute complicates matters and could create a conflict of interest.

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Surely this is just the freedom of speech that NRS champions? Any entity is free to accept, or not, any offer from any other.

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