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ISP contracts and government intervention

  • From: ethanpreston
  • Date: Mon Jul 02 01:01:33 2001

Apologies in advance for the non-technical nature of the query. I am a law 
student researching a law review article on censorship on the Internet. 
My partner and I are investigating the legal consequences of placing a ISP 
offshore, in a jurisdiction like Anguilla, Nevis, the Caymen Islands or 
some other place like that. Part of our problem is that we're ignorant of 
the business practice in the area. I figured I'd go to the horse's mouth,
 rather than playing footsie on the legal lists.

Its probable that the ISP could be run in an offshore jursidiction with 
strong financial secrecy regulations and any U.S.-based managers/owners 
would be insulated from legal action because they could not be identified 
(at least, with American subponeas.) On the other hand, a U.S. judge could 
presumably order the offshore ISP's U.S.-based upstream ISP to cut off that 
ISP (or even the entire jurisdiction, depending on the situation) for DMCA 
violations, gambling, etc. Basically, its an issue of how the community 
would go about dealing with a blackhat ISP.

An initial question is how closely do backbone providers/upstream ISPs look 
at offshore ISPs to begin with? What kind of identification/credentials 
does an ISP need to come up with to get a contract? Specifically, do backbone 
providers figure out who the beneficial owner of an ISP is before they hook 
up the ISP? If someone pays the bills regularly, do they need anything more 
than what's in

The next set of questions deal with how long a blackhat ISP could stay connected.
Under what circumstances would an upstream ISP/backbone provider cut off 
the offshore ISP before a court order? What are the choices in the market 
for backbone providers that are not U.S.-based (and therefore wouldn't be 
subject to U.S. legal process)? 

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