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Broad Bills to Protect 'Communications Services'

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the overreaching dept.

United States 550

mttlg writes "According to Freedom to Tinker, MA, TX, SC, FL, GA, AK, TN, and CO have introduced similar bills that would make it illegal to possess, use, etc. "any communication device to receive ... any communication service without the express consent or express authorization of the communication service provider" or "to conceal ... from any communication service provider ... the existence or place of origin or destination of any communication." (Additional legalese removed for the sake of brevity.) This would seem to outlaw NAT, VPNs, and many other security measures. In other words, don't secure your communications, just sue if you don't like who receives them." The bills define 'communication service' as just about any sort of telecom service that is provided for a charge or fee. In effect, they would extend the already-extant laws relating to theft of cable TV services to any telecom service. For example, if your ISP charges per computer connected, using a router/NAT device would be illegal if these became law.

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Ouch (5, Insightful)

DeadSea (69598) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616326)

This law would make it illegal to do several things that I currently do:
  1. Run a proxy server at home and connect to it via ssl so that my employer can't tell what web pages I visit at work.
  2. SSH chaining - Use ssh to log into a remote computer and use ssh to log into another computer since this makes both endpoints unaware of the address of the other.
  3. Use a remailer as a whistleblower. A remailer stips all headers off a message before sending it out to a new specified sender. This provides anonymous mail which is important for people who are afraid of retribution if the note could be traced back.
  4. Post to slashdot anonymously.

Re:Ouch (1)

Old Uncle Bill (574524) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616362)

Not to sound like a newb, but how are you doing #1? I know of a few ways, but have not tried doing that for a while.

Re:Ouch (1)

jon787 (512497) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616410);//www.googl

SSL encrypted proxy connection.

Re:Ouch (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616502)

Posting as an AC since I am in a hurry and at work.

I Moved to Michigan and took the MagusNet Public Proxy offline until I can get some good, fast connectivity.

Should be back in a few weeks or so.

JLF Sends...

Re:Ouch (1)

Troed (102527) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616463)

Put up a socks5 proxy at home, then tunnel port 1080 from your computer at work to 1080 at home. Now run all programs through socks5 at at work - those that don't have native socks5 support can probably run through sockscap.

Re:Ouch (1)

EllisDees (268037) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616563)

This one is pretty simple:

Re:Ouch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616393)

4. Post to slashdot anonymously.

Not at this precise moment though ;-)

Re:Ouch (4, Insightful)

Carbonite (183181) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616405)

While I can certainly see legitimate uses of each of those things, they do seem rather questionable. Even if you're using these methods for the right reasons, I'd suspect that many people aren't. The real debate is whether a law prohibiting these activities is necessary. I believe that in virtually all cases, the answer is no.

Re:Ouch (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616444)

Anonymous posting will still be legal. You aren't hiding where you are coming from, as all your packets indicate your source IP. It's just that the receiver (Slashdot) chooses to ignore this information. Your IP could easily be displayed along with your anonymous posting, but it's just not done.

Re:Ouch (3, Insightful)

diablobynight (646304) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616515)

I think this bill is probably not so much directed at us, IP geeks, as much as it is directed at people stealing sattelite TV, and people stealing cell phones

Re:Ouch (4, Insightful)

jgerman (106518) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616599)

It doesn't matter who it's directed AT. What matters is that it can be used against anyone that it covers. Which include people doing the things the poster suggested. Things that should not be legislatable (matbe I just made that word up). I contantly ssh from box to box in what may be a long chain of ssh sessions. This bill is ridiculous and has no business even being up for a vote. It's nother example of how current lawmakers get involved in things they have absolutely no comprehension of.

Re:Ouch (4, Insightful)

warmcat (3545) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616612)

The DMCA wasn't aimed at printer cartridges. But there it is.

Read these *drafts* more carefully (5, Informative)

Gudlyf (544445) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616602)

The key words in these draft bills is that these are in regards to the user acting "with intent to defraud" and is written to imply that it is the use of technologies "to defraud" that is the crime, not simple possesion. The bigger risk is that this bill could be used to tack on additional charges to some other crime (e.g. if you submitted a fraudulent tax return via an encrypted channel). Unfortunately, some cable vendors have very restrictive usage agreements so it may be quite easy find yourself technially guilty of "fraud".

3rd post! (-1)

thr0d ps1t (641973) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616334)

This thr0d ps1t is brought to you by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation's Model Thr00 Thr0d Ps1t Generator.

Share and enjoy!

Dear Slashdot: Why does religion suck? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616339)

Why are mindless humans still drawn to religion? Shouldn't it have been eradicated by now?

Answer: Religion is for the weak minded. They seek answers to questions that cannot possibly be answered. Religion gives them answers and makes them so arrogant that their answers are right that they criticize everyone else, bash other religions, and try to push their shit on everyone else.

CmdrTaco recommends we nuke all religions ASAP.

Re:Dear Slashdot: Why does religion suck? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616370)

I totally agree with you, religion only brings war (even nowadays...), hatred, and obscurantism !!

I'll clue you in on something... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616434)

I'm not trying to be mean or anything,you're gonna be fucked without God.There,I said it.
And I hope I don't have to spell it out for you..

And do you remember this? United States Under God? Relearn it if you have to. Dig it. It's for real.

Re:I'll clue you in on something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616483)

You need the clue. He did not mention anything about God. Just about religion. The fact you equate God with religion shows how blinded you have been.

Re:I'll clue you in on something... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616596)

Choice! I criticize religion for basically doing what they all do best... damn anyone who doesn't follow them. You did exactly that. "you're gonna be fucked without God."

Sorry but I would rather think on my own than be told what to believe and forced to follow it.

Doh... (1, Redundant)

}InFuZeD{ (52430) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616341)

"any communication device to receive ... any communication service without the express consent or express authorization of the communication service provider"...

Now my computer is illegal to own too =/

Re:Doh... (4, Interesting)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616422)

What about phones, radios, etc? As long as you don't have "express permission" from the service provider, you're in trouble. I am glad we in Holland have a law called the "Right to reception", which basically means that if something is transmitted into the ether, it's fair game for anyone to receive. This law is quite fundamental, almost constitutional, and has even be used to uphold the right to use radar detectors to avoid speed traps. The law grants you the unconditional right to receive anything, including the radar signal.

Re:Doh... (1)

qqtortqq (521284) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616496)

The FCC, the government organization that deals with radio transmissions, gives us the same right you have, that it shall not be made illegal to recieve a radio transmission. That will probably just get stomped on and ignored, the new laws will stand for 3 or 4 years until someone gets charged with violating it, appeals all the way to a court high enough to have some authority, then the law will be overturned. Theres no planning ahead or common sense among the people who make the laws.

Glad I don't live in those states! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616347)

And, goog thing laws never jump from state to state!

Boy! (2, Redundant)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616348)

Boy I'm glad the network I secure behind a NAT firewall is not in the USA!!!

People in the specific states that get the law (1)

diablobynight (646304) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616439)

should all just up and leave, taking there companies with them. These idiot states will suddenly notice huge declines in tax revenue and remove the law. (Wishful Thinking)

Re:Boy! (1)

FilthPig (88644) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616449)

Boy I'm glad the network I secure behind a NAT firewall is not in the USA!!!

Securing a network outside of the USA? Sounds awfully suspicious to me, isn't there some law against that?

By the way, please don't hog me.

in other news... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616353)

Rep. congressmen will renameCommunications Services as Freedom Services

This is frightening (4, Insightful)

joebagodonuts (561066) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616364)

"In effect, they would extend the already-extant laws relating to theft of cable TV services to any telecom service."

It does more than that. The language of the bills uses the word "harm" instead of "fraud". The language is vague enough that it could be twisted to be used against anyone. Just having a firewall that does nat translation is a violation of these bills.

All brought to us by the friendly folks at the MPAA. Jerks

Re:This is frightening (2, Interesting)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616461)

Actually, I'm not sure if this is a result of MPAA lobbying or if it's something different at work. Consider that at least three of the states listed (CO, FL, GA) have Republican governors IIRC; and the MPAA's strongest influence is traditionally within the Democratic camp.

No, this is just as likely some harebrained "antiterrorism" measure designed to render all networks wide-open to government surveillance. And since the lobbying is occurring at the state level, it's going to be more difficult to stop than if it occurred at the Federal level--it's a lobbying effort that more resembles a hydra than a snake.

Re:This is frightening (1)

joebagodonuts (561066) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616525)

Nope, MPAA is the culprit, according to "Freedom to Tinker".

Of course, it is posted on the internet, so I supose I should verify it else where before casting blame.

Re:This is frightening (1)

druske (550305) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616536)

"Just having a firewall that does nat translation is a violation of these bills."
Which is why I'm not too worried about them passing as they are. If these were enforced, the ISPs themselves would lose business. And there are exceptions: the Texas bill notes an intent to defraud the service provider, and the Massachusetts bill uses the phrase "without the express consent or express authorization of the communication service provider". My guess is service providers won't be anxious to keep legitimate businesses from using their services. And if my ISP tells me I can't use my wireless router, they'll simply lose my business. Many bills are stupid in their infancy, but I have some hope that it'll make more sense by adolescence. (Of course, after the DMCA, that may simply be naive, unjustified optimism on my part...)

Or go back to dial-up (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616614)

And if my ISP tells me I can't use my wireless router, they'll simply lose my business.

And if both the local DSL monopoly and the local cable monopoly include such a restriction in their acceptable use policies, your Internet connection will become ten times slower.

Re:This is frightening (0, Troll)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616589)

Just having a firewall that does nat translation is a violation of these bills

OH REALLY. Mind quoting the section of what bill that says, or suggests, or whatever, this? A bill that even BEGINS to HINT at making it illegal to have a firewall? Please, I'd love to see some links. It certainly wasn't in bills in the links in the post.

Now its Illegal to (1, Interesting)

Qapf (661291) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616365)

1. Run a colocated server 2. To post to a blog from any pc not hosting it 3. SMS, does not contain who it is from most of the time 4. Web access at libraries, or starbucks, or in any public setting that the user need not submit personal info

Watch out end users (1)

Lerxst Pratt (618277) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616368)

This would cover people running FTP servers from home when their ISP disapproves. Also, along the same vein, what about people running web servers from home on a port other than 80 because it is blocked by their ISP? It seems like this would give ISPs recourse against their end users. This is just a start... there are many more possibilities that target home network enthusiasts such as myself.

Wind Waker (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616371)

You know it is just another Zelda rip off.

Where is your Freedom going? (3, Insightful)

ShwAsasin (120187) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616374)

Is it just me, or are these new laws being passed over the last couple years seem to really deprive the average citizen of regular rights and freedoms?

With a country that seems to tout freedom at every corner, it's unfortunate that many rights and freedoms are being destroyed by people who have no clue about the general consequences of their actions.

Re:Where is your Freedom going? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616420)

uh "last couple years"?? uh stupid it actually dates to March 4, 1933 when that repugnant Franklin DELANO Roosevelt took power

fear causes pussies to bitch (4, Insightful)

diablobynight (646304) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616481)

You see all the pussies that can't get over the fact that our towers came down. Are using there fear as an excuse to pass thousands of laws, that don't affect them because there non-technical ninnies, and sadly the rest of America is dumb enough to let this crap happen under the guise of patriotism I bet it was patriotic to kill a jew in Germany during world war II, patriotism isn't always a good thing.

Earlier laws (2, Informative)

willpost (449227) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616547)

There was also the cellular law enacted in the 80's. Instead of encrypting the cellphone signals, they made it unlawful to listen to the 800 Mhz radio spectrum and illegal to manufacture or import any radio capable of doing so.

Ridiculous interpretation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616384)

Wow, what a great interpretation. Let's read before we comment this time, please???

( Read More... | 386 comments ) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616392)

Well, the 386 was a nice machine, but I didn't like the fact that the SX had a crappy 16-bit external bus. At least the DX had a 32-bit bus. And the fact that for a mathco you needed to add a 387. That sucked too.

Yeah, but the cow's already out of the barn... (4, Insightful)

Bonker (243350) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616394)

While not having quite the range of people using services in violation of these statutes as say, people downloading mp3's, there are already so many people doing these things, and profiting on them, that it will be pointless to try to enforce this law.

Imagine for a second Bestbuy's reaction to the fact that it's popular cable-modem routers and wireless access points have all become illegal. I don't exactly see them pulling millions of dollars of hardware off the shelves without a legal fight. Nor do I see the manufacturers of those devices just giving up either.

I NAT and I'm proud of it!

Re:Yeah, but the cow's already out of the barn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616464)

That is a non issue! I am not for this legislation, but, from what I can tell, it doesn't outlaw NAT, it just compells you to disclose how many machines are behind that NAT device. As with any of this legislation, IMHO, the real motivation is the Bottom Line.....

Re:Yeah, but the cow's already out of the barn... (4, Insightful)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616619)

Not to mention that SBC *provides* routers for home DSL users that have multiple computers.

I also NAT as do many others. The PTB still don't have a fsck'n clue when it comes to home networking. For some reason they believe that home networks are costing Large Corps money, when in fact, most people doing NAT at home probably have a clue and actually reduce problems (ex: CodeRed) due to firewalling.

A proud member of the NAT terrorist group!

I Am Not Sure How To React (5, Insightful)

Jerk City Troll (661616) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616399)

It seems to me that the likelihood of these bills getting passed is next to nothing (of course, one can never be so sure). They were clearly introduced by technology-clueless law makers, but once they are subject to a vote, their silliness should become obvious. So I am not entirely afraid that they will succeed. If they do pass, other states are likely to pick up and follow the trail.

What is really scary to me is that, even though these bills were introduced by the ignorant, the fact that lots of legislators had the mind to introduce them in the first place is shocking. Particularly on the note of encryption, this is largely unconstitutional and hopefully, if ever passed, these bills will be challenged by (financially) enabled individuals.

How can such a thing even hold up when it not only criminalizes most existing telecom infrastructure, violates the 4th Amendment by tangent? Of course, we do live in a DMCA-cursed USA...

Re:I Am Not Sure How To React (3, Insightful)

jonabbey (2498) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616512)

Wow, is the weather very nice on your planet?

This kind of legislation could easily pass. If something like this is proposed in your state, you need to write your legislators and let them know that this language could potentially criminalize a lot of straight-forward Internet gear, if a communications provider decides to require a per-CPU charge, or the like.

Re:I Am Not Sure How To React (4, Interesting)

Cpt_Kirks (37296) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616551)

It seems to me that the likelihood of these bills getting passed is next to nothing

In TENNESSEE? Dude, up until a couple of years ago, you could hire a contractor to work on your house. Your agreement was with him. If the contractor did not pay HIS suppliers, the supplier could put a lean on your house. And it was LEGAL!

Bad law, crooked as a dogs hind leg, right? It took YEARS AND YEARS to repeal that shit. The building material suppliers said it would bankrupt them. God knows they shouldn't have to do credit checks on fly-by-night contractors...

Double ouch (2, Insightful)

pupsterCA (411342) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616401)

And guess who's [] out front waving the flag of support [] for this?

Relax, John Ashcroft will help you.. (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616403)

Just wait for John Ashcroft to announce the only legal services after these laws take effect:
http://www.fbi. gov/freedom-remailer/

Makes no difference to me... (1)

ajuda (124386) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616404)

My ISP blocks ports, and does not allow me to run servers (email/web/irc/anything) of any kind. If most ISP users are not allowed to run ANY servers, why should we care if they put additional restrictions on running servers?

Re:Makes no difference to me... (3, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616535)

Just because your ISP is stuck in the 90's doesn't mean you need to drag everybody else down with you. Personal servers are what make the internet great, not giant media conglomorates feeding you exactly what their advertisers want. You'll note that the most useful webpages are usually the ones put up by some devoted guy on some particular topic in his spare time, not the multi-million dollar popup/flash/trendy keyword extravaganzas that big companies bought into.

of course you can just run your server on your ISP's website (if they offer one), but that's usually rather limited if you have a large number of infrequenty accessed files or dynamic content, and lord help you if your website needs a database backend to keep everything convienent yet manageable.

Sorry about the rant, but I just hate when people get suckered into thinking they're nothing more than "consumers" that aren't allowed to contribute to the public good.

Re:Makes no difference to me... (1)

elmegil (12001) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616537)

Most ISPs don't block these things,and a significant portion of those don't care unless you're eating huge bandwidth. Are you saying that law should be made for the most restrictive case because it doesn't hurt you? So I guess if you're some ethnic group, it's ok if other ethnic groups get rounded up in quarantine camps, since it doesn't effect you, right?

DMCA? (3, Insightful)

Limburgher (523006) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616409)

Wouldn't it be illegal for ISP's to bust SSL users?

Depends on Definition (4, Insightful)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616411)

From the article:

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.

I'm not concealing the origin or destination of communication, in any of these cases. If I'm using a router to share my network connection, the origin/destination of my ISP's communications is whatever box is doing the routing. After that, if my router routes a copy of the data from my ISP to another PC in my home, that's okay: the transmission between my router and my ISP is complete, and the new transmission is between my router and one or more PCs on my network.

I've always held that, as far as ISPs are concerned, they're responsible for supporting their network until it reaches the access point of my network--whether that's a single PC, a PC that shares its internet connection, a router, whatever. After that, I can accept the liability of supporting my own equipment. This should be handled the same way.

Actually, better yet, it should be shot down outright. But that's more optimistic than I tend to be about such things.

NAT (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616414)

If your provider charges per computer, and you use NAT to host multiple PCs, then it is ALREADY ILLEGAL. You are violating the contract which outlines your terms of service, and can be sued or have your service terminated.

Re:NAT (4, Insightful)

AmigaAvenger (210519) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616470)

my linux pc IS a single PC... it routes traffic to other machines internally, but that is my own business and no one elses. I only have one machine connected to the internet, but have 6 more connected to that machine.

But isn't that a civil matter? (1)

lordpixel (22352) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616495)

Define illegal?

Certainly you could have your contract terminated. You may even be sued for some kind of damages.
That's not the same as breaking the law.

It sounds like this would make even possessing the equipment a _crimal_ offence...

Re:NAT (2, Insightful)

emag (4640) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616545)

The way I always read the ToS for various cablemodem ISPs I used before ditching them for service I could *use* was they always specified one computer connected to their cablemodem. Fine, I did that. I had exactly 1 computer connected to it. The fact that there was another NIC in it, connected to another network entirely, was immaterial.

True, it likely violated the "spirit" of the ToS, but quite frankly, having every useful port blocked, and then being dinged for actually *using* the bandwidth they advertised on TV and radio and the "always on" capabilities they keep hawking, well....I was able to sleep at night.

This is intended for Radio.... (4, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616418)

This bill is intended for radio, and is to prevent you from having a scanner.

However, unless they change the current law, having an Amateur Radio Operator's license trumps this - being a ham I can have a scanner, due to hams' role in emergency communications.

However, this is just like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1987 - it may be illegal to eavesdrop on cellular communications, but it did'nt really stop anybody from doing it. Going from an insecure system (AMPS) to more secure systems (GSM, CDMA) did that.

However, the point of the /. post is valid - the law of unintended consequences comes to play - VPN, NAT, proxies all could be banned by wording that broad. Perhaps that is a good thing - overbroad wording might just get it thown out.

Yeah, and moderators on /. will grow a clue. Time to start adding comms gear to my armory.

Re:This is intended for Radio.... (3, Insightful)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616534)

This also seems alot like something to prevent people from stealing satelite TV. People that broadcast TV realised there's no way to charge for that so they found alternative revenue in commercials. People that broadcast radio realised there's no way to charge for that so they found alternative revenue in commercials. People that boardcast satellite TV realised there's no way to charge for that, so they did it anyways and manipulated the government into policing it for them.

When I say radio.... (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616587)

When I say "radio", I mean it most literally - any radio transmission, be it land mobile comms, cellular, TV, broadcast FM, WAN - if it involve tossing photons through the air, it's radio.

But yes, that is exactly my point - this is not (as much) for wireline comms as for wireless.

Re:When I say radio.... (1)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616628)

Oh indeed. My mistake then for the narrow interpretation. :]

What does it matter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616428) live in "The Land Of The Free" when the goverment uses every freedom to get onto their citizens nerves? I mean even taking this shit serious (by posting it at /.) is FUBAR.

Hmmm.. (1)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616429)

Anyone know what ISP(s) serve those states, or have a lot of users in those states? This sounds kinda fishy that it would just HAPPEN to appear around the same time, and each bill is almost exactly the same. Sounds like a bit of corporate manipulation. Whatever happened to fair rights/users rights? Whoever is in those governments mobilizing this needs to be voted out! Can someone explain to me how ANY end user would want this kind of legislation? I thought this country was for the people, not the corporations. And no, corporations aren't like people. If you kill a person, they're dead. If you try to kill a corporation, it will just reform. Corporations are not people. (Why is Enron still around? A normal person would be in jail if they had done the kind of misdeeds they did)

amputation to ensue? (1, Funny)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616437)

I hope eyes, ears, and mouths don't count as commuication devices or services...

But then again, the next time I get dragged into HR for "inappropriate discussion", I'll sue whoever was offended, as the conversation was not meant to be stolen (ooh, how about pirated?) by the offendee.

Let's just agree on one thing (0)

nial-in-a-box (588883) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616438)

In most cases, ISPs limit the bandwidth provided to each customer. Therefore, it does not matter whether I have one computer directly connected to their network or if I have 200 sitting behind a NAT router device. Either way, I can use the same amount of bandwidth and the same single IP address. Beside the fact that it would be difficult to regulate use of routers, it is also foolish and unnecessary. This applies especially to home users, since ISPs and phone companies are not exactly leaping to provide multiple connections to one home, and it is hardly justifiable from any viewpoint to pay double for (usually) two computers that get little to moderate use.

Re:Let's just agree on one thing (0)

Qapf (661291) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616500)

ISP's rely on the fact that you are not going to be using all your bandwidth all the time to make their money off you. If you have 200 computers behind nat odds are one of them is going to be doing something at sometime. Your isp is going to come down on you faster than a catholic priest

this is hopeless (1, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616440)

They're going to keep trying and keep succeeding in various places until such time as all right to use information technology by the home user are taken away.

The common idiot in the streets couldn't care less, so I can't see as anything can be done about it.

It's a losing battle. I haven't seen a single advocate who had a decent plan for mobilizing the public, which is what is going to be needed to defeat this crap once and for all.

We'd have to demonize the MPAA/RIAA types and make their motives suspect -to the general public- to gain any traction. I'm open to ideas.

Revised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616446)

It looks like items related to "MULTICHANNEL VIDEO OR INFORMATION] SERVICES" have lines through them, should we assume that they've been revised out of the bill?

Introduction of a bill in Massachusetts (1)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616448)

...has nothing to do with it ever becoming law (other than it could become law).

This is because any number of crackpot bills get introduced because Massachusetts law requires a member of the General Court to file any and all bills given them by their constituents. If I were to give Steve Brewer [] or Anne Gobi [] a bill to prohibit drinking, dancing, and anything that a reasonable person might consider fun, they would be required to file it.

Protecting communication services... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616451)

... banning firewalls, privacy, and even accesibility? Is like avoiding spam banning the use of email.

meaningless, but harmful law (1)

bigpat (158134) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616453)

If such a dastardly law came into effect I would argue that no device can conceal the orgination of a communication, because it is always the originiation of the communication. No more than a computer conceals the fact that the message really came from the keyboard, which first came from a person.

Unfortuneately, we all know that lawyers will selectively apply this law to just those things that the mega corporations don't like, such as internet sharing devices and home networks. But really it should be applied to all electronic or mechanical communication devices, since to be consistent they all conceal who the communication is coming from. So no more telephones, computers or cell phones either... just face to face communication is allowed from now on.

Sounds like we are going back to the good old days when people could go to jail for hooking up a modem to a phone line.

And how do you implement this? (1)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616486)

I mean, I know you can probably detect a NAT box by looking at all the packets, but how many ISPs are going to do this? Honestly?

I mean, running your own server or sharing your 3l33t broadband connection between several machines are (AFAIK) the big interests -- or killer aps -- of broadband. (That, and mountains of pr0n and "FP!" on /., of course...) ;-)

If you can't do this, why not stay with 56K dial-up?

Er... wait, I have 56K dial-up and I can't stand it. Never mind me, carry on... =)

No violations (4, Insightful)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616487)

The endpoints of a connection are specified by IP addresses. If NAT is illegal because the "source" is disguised, they're really dictating what software you can use and what you can do with it - the source is obviously the machine doing NAT. They need to understand that they operate at the packet level - they sure don't offer any higher level capabilities that I care about. If they want to regulate what's in your packet, then they can be responsible for kiddy Pr0n and any other illegal activities taking place over "their" network.

I used to work for a small ISP/Telco, and my boss always liked the Common Carrier status because it exempted them from liability. Apparently big ISPs don't understand this yet. If you monitor it, you're taking some responsibility for what's in it.

Reducing Security and Utility == Profit & Just (4, Insightful)

HeelToe (615905) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616488)


This is really bad.

I hope the states where I run networks aren't next.

This allows companies to make more money off us by the threat of lawsuits or report to the authorities. If someone sells me internet access at a specific bandwidth, they should expect I can and may use up to that allotted bandwidth. They are selling me bandwidth, not individual ethernet ports.

Things like ssh-tunneling to hide IM and WWW traffic while I'm at work, as well as improving the security of my networks by hiding the endpoints of my ipsec tunnels behind nat boxes also becomes illegal.

So, in summary, we're trading utility (let's face it, a lot of these vpn/nat apps make things easier to handle - voip tunneling, smtp tunneling, very nice stuff handled with both vpns and nat), AND security (why should all my network devices sit exposed?) so that companies can make more profits, and we can be hauled to jail for making it harder to snoop our communications?

This is ludicrous. Where will the fascism stop?

Buying laws (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616489)

This is what happens when companies are allowed to buy politicians.

YANAL? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616504) the alarmist rhetoric in the parent true, or just "IANAL, but here's the truth!" rambling?

home networking (1)

igotmybfg (525391) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616506)

if i use a redhat box as a router/gateway with ipmasq, then they can't see that i've got several computers connected to the dsl line, right? in the contract that i signed with earthlink, they specified that only one computer may connect at one time. of course, they sell some sort of kit that allows you to network all your pcs and share your connection... basically the same thing i am doing already, but it costs like $20/month extra. i thuoght the whole point of ipmasq was that it looks like all the traffic is coming from one computer? is this true/viable?

All companies I've ever been at use NAT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616511)

I'd guess the MPAA itself uses NAT, no?

What company of say 200 people + servers, so possibly more than 253 computers using a crappy DSL connection to the net does not use NAT?

Permission? (1)

PetWolverine (638111) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616521)

This is disgusting. It sounds like, from the wording given in the headline, it would be hard for an ISP to give someone permission to use an NAT, even if they wanted to. Of course, maybe that's what all that extra legalese was for, and someone will tell me to RTFA.

Either way, this isn't something that should be illegal, it's something that should be a matter of your ISP's terms of service. My university doesn't allow routers in the dorm rooms, but I have one anyway; without this law, if I'm discovered, my service could be terminated. With the law, I could face some massive fine, which would probably be totally out of proportion to the "crime" committed. Shenanigans!

What about Freenet? (5, Insightful)

Lockle (61177) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616522)

to conceal ... from any communication service provider ... the existence or place of origin or destination of any communication.

I believe that this item is probably not intended to go after NAT'd computers, but to try to cut back on spammers using broadband connections.

If this is the reason, they should be applauded for trying something new. This law WOULD make forged headers illegal.

One problem is that this also constrains anonymous peer-to-peer systems such as Freenet. One of it's strengths is that when you receive a request for a file from an IP, you don't know if that IP origionated the request. If you don't have it, you pass on the request and the node you pass it onto doesn't know if you requested it.

This does make it impossible for a "communications service provider" to determine the origin or destination of the file or information request.

If this is the intended outcome, it is a major violation of a civil liverty we have been appreciating lately.

This is nuts (0, Flamebait)

abhisarda (638576) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616528)

Dude My Congressman sucks Ass

When they outlaw firewalls... (4, Insightful)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616539)

...only outlaws will have firewalls. If this bullshit spreads to California, damn straight I will keep my ipfw/nat firewall up!

Time to make this a very uncomfortable time for your state assemblypersons and senators if you live in the affected states. Geek power stopped the Berman Bill, geek power is forcing the feds to revisit the DMCA, geek power is a pretty amazing thing when unleashed.

The one thing that makes the least sense about these bills is that firewalling+nat is one of the tools needed to combat worms and exploits. Everyone is so damn interested in "protecting our Internet infrastructure from exploits, worms and viruses" yet these same clowns are taking away a very important tool that real people can use to make a real difference against these problems.

And what if you are still running Windows NT4, for whatever reason? The workaround Microsoft gives people for the recent RPC vulnerability is to keep the server in the private IP space and firewall off the ports in the 13x range! You can't do that without a NAT!!!

Time to fight this and fight it hard. Whatever you think about whatever other issues are going on around us, this is serious shit.

Wardriving (2, Insightful)

Chester K (145560) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616541)

In effect, they would extend the already-extant laws relating to theft of cable TV services to any telecom service.

You didn't really think wardriving would stay in the gray "no laws" area for long, did you?

At the risk of sounding level-headed in what's sure to be a discussion filled with reactionary "how can they do this?!" sorts of comments, I guess I don't really see the problem with this law. You have to take a pretty loose interpretation of it to apply it to NAT and other legitamite sorts of technologies -- unless of course you're using it on an ISP that specifically forbids NAT, or wants you to pay extra for multiple computers on the same line; but in that case you're at least ethically bound to pay what they're asking, or find another ISP.

It would seem (2, Insightful)

SuperJ (125753) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616546)

I haven't read the bill, and I'm not a lawyer, but from the description, it sounds like NAT and VPN would be ok. It says you cannot conceal the transmission of the "communication" to the "communication service provider", nor can you receive a "communication" without the permission of the "communication service provider."

Now that sounds to me like if I pay for broadband, I'm paying for IP communication. My provider is selling me IP communication. So if I'm somehow tapping into Verizon's network, somehow stealing an IP connection, that's banned. But anything above the IP layer (VPN, tunneling, whatever) is ok. I guess NAT might be disallowed under this.

What other option do they have? (4, Interesting)

Musashi Miyamoto (662091) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616552)

I would estimate that most persons with a NAT gateway is not using their internet connection any differently from a person with a direct connection. One machine surfing at any one time...

Why can't the cable and DSL provider settle on a reasonable limit, such as "no more than 4 computers from the same household"? That way, it allows 99% of persons with routers to do what they want to do (allow multiple family members to surf the net, or allow them to surf the net from any of their computers).

The problem is that most cable companies are accustomed to charging more for multiple connections. They are similar to the telephone company (ATT) before the government had to step in. What they refuse to realize is that most customers know that it does not "cost" the company any additional money when they watch cable on another TV, or surf from the livingroom instead of the home-office.

Though, they currently have every legal right to demand that only one device is attached to their line, most persons know that there is no legitimacy to the demand. It is pure greed.

what the bills actually say (5, Insightful)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616554)

Does anyone actually read things anymore?
From the texas bill []

(a) A person commits an offense if, with the intent to harm or defraud a communication service provider, the person:

(1) obtains or uses a communication service without:

(A) obtaining the authorization of the provider; or

(B) making a payment to the provider in the
amount normally charged by the provider for the service; or

[(3)] tampers with, modifies, or maintains a
modification to a communication device provided by or installed by the provider

That is the entirity of the definition of a bad guy in this bill, as it is currently proposed as of the time I'm writing this.

So, you have to, with "intent to harm or defraud," "[use] a communication service without""obtaining the authorization of the provider; or making a payment to the provider in the amount normally charged by the provider for the service; or tampers with, modifies, or maintains a modification to a communication device provided by or installed by the provider." I put it all together for ye who don't want to link.

So, to be even MORE clear, this only effects people who are trying to harm or defraud an ISP, etc, by using service without authorization.

Does a VPN "harm or defraud" an ISP? NO

Does ssh "harm or defraud" an ISP? NO

Does posting anonymously anywhere, or any of the other things being complained about, "harm or defraud" an ISP? NO

I don't have the time to quote and translate each and every bill out there, but I do certainly recommed actually reading them before deciding the bills will make it illegal to brush your teeth. Knee-jerk, anyone? Know what you're having an opinion about, before forming that opinion.

Texas Bill (1)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616555)

Found this damn interesting, especially the stuff stricken out. SB 01116I.HTM

For the record (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616568)

Mods - I cannot speak officially so I have to do this anonymously. Please mod this up.

I am a chief engineer for SBC's ISP, and believe it or not, we oppose these sorts of laws. We really don't care what someone does with their IP, and in most cases actually encourage the use of NAT devices.

Most of this cruft comes from the cable companies, who are still stuck in the pay-per-jack mentality.

Can't be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616572)

If I connect my Zaurus via infra-red or wireless should I first file a motion with the ISP? I don't think the intention of this bill is as stated in the article.

IPv6 (0)

EclipseU (576373) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616577)

Here's a thought. How about they implement IPv6, so that my ISP can acctually sell me some IP addresses so I dont need a NAT.

Freenet (1)

lylum (659581) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616579)

What they target are probably more networks like FreeNet. That's stuff they really can't control.... As for NAT they would either prosecute the administrator/organization running the NAT router or - in bigger corganizations - they would have logs to trace traffic down anyway.

Please write (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616582)

If you are a resident of any of those states, please write all your representitives and tell them what is wrong with this bill.


Mo money (1)

chrismacmahon (644645) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616588)

I wonder if other cable/broadband companies are doing this... In maine (portland) RoadRunner is offering for an additional charge a month, to install a wireless network in to their customers house, and share one internet connecition thru-out. Kinda like shooting easy money away, (i heard have heard a bunch of poeple do use this). Also would'nt this make the proxy/firewalls kinda obsolete...i guess schools, the goverment and also companies are going to screwed!!!

Coming soon... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616594)

...a law requiring our brains to be modified to reduce memory retention to, say, 3 hours, which will prevent the storage of any significant data. This will benefit the industry by causing the population to repeatedly consume material for a nominal fee, and the government will benefit as they will be able to revise history on a daily basis.

/sarcasm, or cynicism?

I hope they have IPv6 ready if NAT is illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5616598)

If they outlaw VPN's and firewalls with NAT/PAT we wouldn't have enough IP's on the internet....

After this, and the congressman from California pushing CDMA for IRAQ because GSM is a "European" technology, I honestly have to wonder why we let these airheads into office in the first place?

use it again spam (1)

lfourrier (209630) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616611)

to conceal ... from any communication service provider ... the existence or place of origin or destination of any communication

Illegal to own TV?? (1)

WaxParadigm (311909) | more than 11 years ago | (#5616615)

So does this mean it would be illegal for me to own a TV if I cancelled my cable subscription (since a TV is able to recieve cable signals)?

Buying stock in Comcast today.
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