North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Open, anonymous services and dealing with abuse

  • From: matt
  • Date: Tue Feb 17 15:12:02 2004

> Recently, Daniel Reed <[email protected]> wrote: 
> The *truly* unfortunate fact is lots of ISPs like to do things like throw up
> firewall rules and then expect other people to clean up after the real
> problems they are simply evading.
> Consider this: A pathogen is developed that kills anyone with which it comes
> in contact. People across the world are randomly exposed to the pathogen and
> begin dying en masse.
> Short-term public interest would seem to necessitate that hosting public
> meetings should now be discouraged, if not outright banned. In some areas,
> ordinances might be passed requiring that any human contact be made only if
> both parties know each other, and can prove they have adequate air
> filtration.
> This isn't the plot to next summer's killer Sci-Fi horror movie; this is
> what we are dealing with on the Internet today. In either case, the long-
> term public interest would probably be served more by funding agencies to
> track down and stop the spread of the pathogen.

The problem is, your analogy is too extreme; if people really
*were* dying, there'd be more attention paid to it.  Unfortunately,
if we look at a more real-world case, like herpes, you realize
that we don't take contagion very seriously unless people are
dying from it.  Instead, we end up with ora-gel, anbasol, and
other such fun products to take the sting away without actually
doing anything.  Likewise in the network, we have a similar
approach; when the cold sores flare up again, apply a topical
solution to take some of the sting away, and then continue
life like normal...including spreading that numb-but-still-infectious
cold sore to others.

Trojaned PCs and zombie proxies relaying spam are like cold
sores; they don't kill anyone, they just make things mildly
uncomfortable, so we numb them over, and go about our
business like normal, even if that includes allowing the
infection to spread even further.

If proxies *did* kill, then yes, we'd take them seriously;
but anything short of that, and real life tells us we won't
take them seriously enough to try to do real research into
ultimately stamping them out.

> -- 
> Daniel Reed <[email protected]>

Matt, feeling pessimistic this morning