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Re: [Latest draft of Internet regulation bill]

  • From: Stephen Sprunk
  • Date: Thu Nov 17 19:59:24 2005

Thus spake "Christopher L. Morrow" <christopher.morrow@mci.com>
On Thu, 10 Nov 2005, Blaine Christian wrote:
Since port 80 and port 25 are lawful services everyone offering
broadband will have to drop filters and provide full routing!  Can
you hear me now?  Why yes, port 80 and port 25 are open, of course I
can hear you.
Interesting, the filtering in question (for uunet atleast, SBC is in a
slightly different position) is put in place at request of the customer,
who might be 'protecting' their customer (radius port 25 filtering). I
wonder who's responsibility this situation covers?

---snip-----

SEC. 104. ACCESS TO BITS.
(a) DUTIES OFPROVIDERS.—Subject to subsection2
(b), each BITS provider has the duty—3
(1) not to block, impair, or interfere with the4
offering of, access to, or the use of any lawful con-5
tent, application, or service provided over the Inter-6
net;7

--end snip----
Section 104(b)(1)(B) certainly allows blocking as long as the consumer is provided clear notice and a means to either refuse or disable such. I really doubt you'll find many consumers that would refuse virus or spam protection, but as long as there's a way to turn it off, it seems fine to have it on by default.

And, if that's not enough, right below that we see:
SEC. 104. ACCESS TO BITS.
...
(b) PRESERVED AUTHORITIES.—Notwithstanding
paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (a), a BITS provider
is permitted to—
...
(2) take reasonable measures to—
(A) protect the security and reliability of its network and broadband Internet transmission services; or
(B) prevent theft of BITS or other unlawful conduct; or

A reasonable reading of that section says that a provider could, even without customer consent, block spam, worms, virii, etc. since they arguably constitute theft of services and/or impinge upon the security and reliability of the network.

I'm curious what would happen if an ISP tried blocking P2P apps under that section, however. Sure, a lot of it's illegal, but not all of it. Could "gross overuse of bandwidth" be considered a threat to the network's reliability, or would the statement of minimum capacity required in Sec 104(b)(1)(A) mean the ISP can't complain about how the customer uses their bandwidth? The courts will have fun with that one.

What about outside the boundaries of the USofA? Hrm... good thing all that
legislation we put in place is cleaning up the 'bad content' all over the
Internet... Wait, it's not :( Legislation isn't the answer to this
problem, unfortunately the gov't hasn't realized this completely :(
Other than references to spam and a couple other minor things, there's a remarkable lack of discussion of content, either good or bad, in this draft. If anything, this appears to be the exact opposite of what SBC et al want. Given all the fuss about content and access to eyeballs, I'm actually pretty shocked about the complete turnaround here. Maybe previous drafts got too hot a reception?


Oh, did anyone notice that Sec 103(a) requires interconnection? No more Level3/Cogent style issues, hopefully. Of course, since everyone is now _required_ to interconnect either directly or indirectly with everyone else, the "negotiation" will be a bit more interesting since nobody is allowed to walk away from the table. That doesn't sound good for prices...

On the plus side, the requirements for processing complaints to the FCC and PUCs and other consumer protections will be nice, and it seems fairly tough for the FCC to revoke a registration if the ISP is even reasonably competent. I can't follow a lot of the privacy protection stuff, but it appears to prohibit my ISP from sniffing my traffic and selling the info to someone else or using it for marketing, which is probably bad news for GoogleNet. That's nice for me, but I'm sure there's a loophole I can't see.

The mandated ISP access to ROW is a very interesting twist, one which I hadn't expected at all. It appears, however, that only electric utilities have the right to refuse access for capacity or safety reasons -- does that mean if I want to lay fiber in the ILEC's pipes, they have to make them bigger if there's not enough room? Odd that they singled out electric utilities there.

I'm also curious why the FCC is given specific permission to recognize relevant standards bodies, e.g. the IETF. Do they not have the power to do so otherwise?

Preempting state prohibitions on public carriers is interesting -- hopefully we'll see a lot of those emerge in states (like mine) that currently ban them.

Last (I swear), the definition of BIT/BITS/etc seems to cover any public network using IP, which is misleading since people wouldn't naturally think that anything from dialup to OC192 transit to colo is "broadband". Is that just a gratuitous word here to make a funny acronym?

S

Stephen Sprunk "Stupid people surround themselves with smart
CCIE #3723 people. Smart people surround themselves with
K5SSS smart people who disagree with them." --Aaron Sorkin




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