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Re: Digex transparent proxying

  • From: Roeland M.J. Meyer
  • Date: Sun Jun 28 13:29:35 1998

Thank you Patrick.

At 01:30 AM 6/28/98 -0700, Patrick W. Gilmore wrote:
>At 10:28 AM 6/27/98 -0500, Karl Denninger wrote:
>>STEALING someone's packet flow to force it through a proxy is NOT fine.
>I think this is the heart of Karl's argument.  (Karl, feel free to correct
>me if I'm wrong.)  The rest of the rant about how transparent caches, proxy
>server, etc. work and other opinions about how the Internet and web content
>will look in the future is ... not my concern at present.

Proxies not only intercept and redirect packets, they replace packets with
older ones, rather and allowing a fresh packet to come through. There are
many circumstances where this is unacceptable. 

Most contracts imply raw packet streams, unless specified otherwise.
Filtering a raw packet stream is technically a breach of contract. If done
to us, it will cause us to switch upstream providers, make us renumber our
hosts, and cause us much grief/anxiety/emotional harm/lost business, which
we will be glad to bill back to the upstream provider, in court if need be,
at inflated values if we can get away with it.<grin> If our upstream
provider is not the one directly doing it then *they* can forward our bill,
tagging on their own expenses, to their upstream provider, and so on. By
the time this little shit-ball hits the one doing the filtering, they may
decide that sipping umbrella-drinks, on the beach, or collecting welfare,
may be a better business model to persue.

>But the original topic is of great concern to me.  Is there one person on
>this list - even someone from DIGEX - who can give me one reason why
>altering the destination of a packet a customer paid you to deliver,
>without that customer's consent or foreknowledge, is in any way morally or
>ethically permissible?  Hell, for that matter, is it even legal?

It can be considered simple contract breach (see above, I was not being
facitious) with appropriate penalties for "willful failure to perform", aka
fraud, possibly wire-fraud under the right circumstances. There's a whole
range of civil and criminal law that are specifically designed to extract
pounds of flesh, out of such perpetrators.

>I know that when my downstreams pay me for transit and give me a packet, I
>do my damnedest to get that packet TO THE DESTINATION.  If I can give my
>customers better service though proxy or caching or any other method, I
>will definitely OFFER it to them.  (We are currently looking into
>transparent and other caching techniques, but have not begun such an
>offering as of yet.)  However, I will not shirk my responsibility to
>deliver packets where the customer (rightfully) expects them to go without
>the customer's permission.  I find it repugnant that one of my peers has
>done so.  I would be interested in how other's feel about it - without all
>the discussion about whether caching is any use or not.

Agreed, I would offer such a value-added service, but not at the expense of
a raw data-feed.

>>Karl Denninger (karl@MCS.Net)| MCSNet - Serving Chicagoland and Wisconsin
>Patrick W. Gilmore                      voice: +1-650-482-2840
>Director of Operations, CCIE #2983        fax: +1-650-482-2844
>              "Tomorrow's Performance.... Today"

Roeland M.J. Meyer, ISOC (InterNIC RM993) 
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