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Old 04-01-2003, 09:14 AM   #1
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Use a firewall, go to jail

Use a Firewall, Go to Jail
The states of Massachusetts and Texas are preparing to consider bills that apparently are intended to extend the national Digital Millennium Copyright Act. (TX bill; MA bill) The bills are obviously related to each other somehow, since they are textually similar.

Here is one example of the far-reaching harmful effects of these bills. Both bills would flatly ban the possession, sale, or use of technologies that "conceal from a communication service provider ... the existence or place of origin or destination of any communication". 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.

And this is just one example of the problems with these bills. Yikes.

UPDATE (6:35 PM): It's worse than I thought. Similar bills are on the table in South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alaska, Tennessee, and Colorado.

UPDATE (March 28, 9:00 AM): Clarified the paragraph above about encrypted email, to eliminate an ambiguity.

Topic(s): Security , Super-DMCA , Technology and Freedom
Posted by Edward W. Felten at 01:04 PM | permanent link | Followups (50)]Link[/url]

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Old 04-01-2003, 09:24 AM   #2
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We have a nation run by a bunch of computer illiterate morons.

The death of democracy: voter apathy and dim-witted politicians.

I'm one step to moving to another nation. I question whether the U.S. is deserving of my talents.


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Old 04-01-2003, 09:28 AM   #3
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Australia will be looking for a new PM shortly melon, you really can't be any worse than our current choices...
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Old 04-01-2003, 04:09 PM   #4
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Come to Europe. The stupid European convent needs people like you.
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Old 04-01-2003, 06:33 PM   #5
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I think Australia is doing a wonderful job of censoring (?????) internet porn, at least. How one 'censors' anything on the Internet is beyond me, but they seem to think they have it under control. Scary stuff.

I suppose those encryption laws will put paid to all those anonymous spam emails promising a longer penis, at least... or perhaps not.
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Old 04-01-2003, 08:51 PM   #6
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april fools?
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Old 04-01-2003, 10:19 PM   #7
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i hope they plan on banning most internet routers too. oh, and doesn't windows xp also have a built-in firewall? i guess that will have to be recalled so to speak, and a free, updated, firewall-free version will have to be given out.

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Old 04-02-2003, 12:23 AM   #8
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I want my PGP.

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