[ISN] Use a firewall, go to jail, *and* send Bill Gates too

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Mon Mar 31 2003 - 02:31:00 PST

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    By John Lettice
    Posted: 28/03/2003 
    The (DMCA) Digital Millennium Copyright Act clearly isn't enough for
    some people. Massachusetts and Texas are - in curious formation -
    considering bills that will extend it to make firewalls (among other
    things) illegal.
    The strange synchronicity is illustrated by a quick look at the draft
    of the Texas bill then comparing it with the Massachusetts one, which
    you'll find in RTF format at Ed Felten's Freedom to Tinker, here [1].  
    The strikeouts indicate that both, for whatever reason, have decided
    not to repress video this time around.
    The repression that remains is however impressive. Felten points to
    this wording:
    (b) Offense defined.--Any person commits an offense if he knowingly:
    (1) possesses, uses, manufactures, develops, assembles, distributes,
    transfers, imports into this state, licenses, leases, sells or offers,
    promotes or advertises for sale, use or distribution any communication
    (i) for the commission of a theft of a communication service or to
    receive, intercept, disrupt, transmit, re-transmits, decrypt, acquire
    or facilitate the receipt, interception, disruption, transmission,
    re-transmission, decryption or acquisition of any communication
    service without the express consent or express authorization of the
    communication service provider; or
    (ii) to conceal or to assist another to conceal from any communication
    service provider, or from any lawful authority, the existence or place
    of origin or destination of any communication
    Over to Ed here, because he puts it so well:
    "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
    "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
    "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."
    Ed points out that this boils down to 'use a firewall, go to jail,'
    but we really think he's not being nearly ambitious enough here. It
    strikes us that, as the proud owner of Internet Connection Sharing,
    Bill Gates develops, distributes and licenses a communications device
    which is used to conceal "the existence or place of origin or
    destination of any communication." So we say, 'use a a firewall, go to
    jail, but also send Bill Gates to jail.' Ah, decisions, decisions...
    [1] http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/ma_bill_draft_26mar03.rtf
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