Lawyer Says ISPs Should Be Legally Liable For Denial Of Service Attacks

from the bad,-bad-ideas dept

For some reason, there are always people who figure that when there's a situation where someone is harmed, you should blame the easiest, or most accessible party, rather than those actually responsible. You see it in things like the lawsuits against YouTube, rather than the person responsible for uploading infringing material. The latest is that a lawyer in the UK is proposing that ISPs should be responsible for denial of service attacks, and that it should be their responsibility to stop them. How? Well, they should just inspect all of the packets to determine whether they're legit or not. Of course, this should set off all different kinds of alarm bells. First, even if you know what the packets are, that doesn't mean you'll be able to spot (or stop) a denial of service attack. What's to say if it's a real attack or you suddenly get a lot of attention from elsewhere on the web driving a lot of traffic? Second, asking ISPs to inspect each and every packet should scare off lots of people who don't want their ISPs inspecting the specific types of traffic on the network, and who find it as a foot in the doorway to ISPs charging different amounts for different kinds of traffic. Finally, as with the network neutrality issue, the more ISPs inspect the traffic, the higher the likelihood that everyone just starts encrypting their traffic to make it so the ISPs can't tell what's traveling across the network. So, really, all this does is add more costs for the ISPs, slow down network traffic and do nothing to stop actual denial of service attacks. But, at least it makes it easier for the lawyers to be able to point to who they can sue.
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  1. identicon
    Ken Simpson, 10 Nov 2006 @ 12:47pm

    Not a bad idea.. but quite hard to implement

    Sure -- blame ISPs for the DDoS and spam problem. It makes sense from a legal point of view, because after all ISPs carry the problem traffic and are in the best position to do something about it. Furthermore, by not fixing problem hosts within their network, they are somewhat complicit in the attacks.

    The problem is that those on the receiving end of DDoS are much smaller entities than those on the sending end. AOL, Comcast, and Verizon are going to put up a good fight to ensure legislation is never passed that makes them responsible for their customers' traffic -- no matter how reasonable a proposition that is.

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