Feeds

Use a firewall, go to jail, and send Bill Gates too

DMCA enhancements pose tough decision for free-thinkers

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The (DMCA) Digital Millennium Copyright Act clearly isn't enough for some people. Massachusetts and Texas are - in curious formation - considering bills that will extend it to make firewalls (among other things) illegal.

The strange synchronicity is illustrated by a quick look at the draft of the Texas bill then comparing it with the Massachusetts one, which you'll find in RTF format at Ed Felten's Freedom to Tinker, here. The strikeouts indicate that both, for whatever reason, have decided not to repress video this time around.

The repression that remains is however impressive. Felten points to this wording:

(b) Offense defined.--Any person commits an offense if he knowingly:

(1) possesses, uses, manufactures, develops, assembles, distributes, transfers, imports into this state, licenses, leases, sells or offers, promotes or advertises for sale, use or distribution any communication device:

(i) for the commission of a theft of a communication service or to receive, intercept, disrupt, transmit, re-transmits, decrypt, acquire or facilitate the receipt, interception, disruption, transmission, re-transmission, decryption or acquisition of any communication service without the express consent or express authorization of the communication service provider; or

(ii) to conceal or to assist another to conceal from any communication service provider, or from any lawful authority, the existence or place of origin or destination of any communication

Over to Ed here, because he puts it so well:

"Your ISP is a communication service provider, so anything that concealed the origin or destination of any communication from your ISP would be illegal -- with no exceptions.

"If you send or receive your email via an encrypted connection, you're in violation, because the 'To' and 'From' lines of the emails are concealed from your ISP by encryption. (The encryption conceals the destinations of outgoing messages, and the sources of incoming messages.)

"Worse yet, Network Address Translation (NAT), a technology widely used for enterprise security, operates by translating the 'from' and 'to' fields of Internet packets, thereby concealing the source or destination of each packet, and hence violating these bills. Most security 'firewalls' use NAT, so if you use a firewall, you're in violation.

"If you have a home DSL router, or if you use the 'Internet Connection Sharing' feature of your favorite operating system product, you're in violation because these connection sharing technologies use NAT. Most operating system products (including every version of Windows introduced in the last five years, and virtually all versions of Linux) would also apparently be banned, because they support connection sharing via NAT."

Ed points out that this boils down to 'use a firewall, go to jail,' but we really think he's not being nearly ambitious enough here. It strikes us that, as the proud owner of Internet Connection Sharing, Bill Gates develops, distributes and licenses a communications device which is used to conceal "the existence or place of origin or destination of any communication." So we say, 'use a a firewall, go to jail, but also send Bill Gates to jail.' Ah, decisions, decisions... ®

Related Links

Text at Felten's site

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.