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
    Rick Ringel, 10 Nov 2006 @ 5:56am

    User perspective

    Taken out of context, this lawyer's proposal makes no sense. But, consider that this guy is representing somebody who was or will be victumized by a DoS attack.

    In our western culture, we delegate the use of force to our government, and in return, we expect the government to use that force to protect our person and our property. In this case, this general principle is applied by the lawyer's client, who experiences real property losses due to the DoS attack. He rightly expects protection because the government tells him he cannot use force on his own.

    Clearly, the lawyer is the wrong guy to solve this network problem, but until those who can resolve these network service issues (perhaps IETF) do resolve these network service issues, we will continue to see these unqualified individuals submit their opinions.

    Certainly, dismiss the proposal as naive, but in doing so, understand that the proposal is a reaction to a real problem. The internet is an anarchy, and that doesn't mash up with our citizenship's fundamental reliance on the rule of law.

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