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We need ISPs to be able to do a certain amount of filtering

We need ISPs to be able to do a certain amount of filtering

Posted Jan 3, 2008 10:07 UTC (Thu) by james (subscriber, #1325)
In reply to: Regulatory solution, not technical, is required by dskoll
Parent article: The future of unencrypted web traffic

Such regulation would need to be well-thought-out, or it might prevent (or place a legal cloud over):

  • ISPs filtering spam (and other unwanted messages);
  • ISPs providing optional parental filters;
  • ISPs filtering port 25 outbound by default;
  • ISPs monitoring for and disconnecting virus-infected computers;
  • ISPs redirecting HTTP traffic away from malicious websites.

That list isn't complete -- I'm sure there are other things we'd expect ISPs to be able to do for the general public. There'll be other things in future, too.

Do you trust Congress, Parliament, or whoever to come up with legislation which will prevent behaviour we don't like, now and in the future, will permit filtering that is in the interests of netizens, will be sufficiently flexible for future technologies and problems, and stand up to commercial interests?

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We need ISPs to be able to do a certain amount of filtering

Posted Jan 3, 2008 11:58 UTC (Thu) by epa (subscriber, #39769) [Link]

Hmm, I'm not sure, it might be better if ISPs indeed did not do any of the above things.  Just
give each user a quota of packets to send and receive and let them get on with it.

Manifestly, all the measures ISPs are currently taking to block port 25 or cut off zombie PCs
are ineffective in stopping spam, so it would be no great loss if they went back to just
pushing bits.

We need ISPs to be able to do a certain amount of filtering

Posted Jan 3, 2008 19:44 UTC (Thu) by vonbrand (guest, #4458) [Link]

Just think about how bad it would become if they did nothing (Shudder!)

Several categories of service here

Posted Jan 3, 2008 16:28 UTC (Thu) by kirkengaard (guest, #15022) [Link]

The ISP, in its capacity as an email provider, should filter spam and other nuisances _within
email traffic_, but only to the extent to which these are contained within email traffic
directed to or provided by users of its email services.  This is a service provided through
that company's internet service provision, but separate from it.  This is filtering done by a
mail server or associated apparatus on mail arriving over the TCP/IP stream.  This should not
violate common-carrier status because they don't care what the bits are until they become an

Services provided to the user to filter traffic at the user end, such as optional parental
filtering, are not therefore filtering done at the discretion of the ISP, but end-user defined
filtering of end-user defined traffic.  This should not violate common-carrier status because
the ISP retains its neutrality as a carrier, and filtering is done per-endpoint/per-user at
user request.

Monitoring and disconnecting virus-infected computers is a grey area as far as caring what the
content of packets are, because it does require analysis without being an endpoint.  It is,
however, undeniably malicious content.  This intent to harm the user is the valid reason for
filtering, just as the parallel filtering of the mail systems for explosives, toxins and other
undeniably hazardous content.  Users that desire hazardous materials for legitimate purposes
need to go through separate carrier systems and much red tape from the recipient end to
request such materials.  This asserts the express non-malicious nature of that particular
'packet' of hazardous-to-the-user material.  The ISP has a customer safety burden which makes
virus filtering and quarantine a legitimate intrusion upon carrier neutrality.

We need ISPs to be able to do a certain amount of filtering

Posted Jan 4, 2008 2:03 UTC (Fri) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

I specificly picked an ISP that doesn't do any of those things (well, they do offer optional
spam filtering)

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