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License to Surf, Take Two

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the do-you-know-how-fast-you-were-going,-sir? dept.

The Internet 503

NaugaHunter writes "A story on Yahoo asks Should [a] License Be Required to Go Online? It appears to be suggested by Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer for Counterpane Internet Security Inc. 'It could be a four-year college degree, a one-month course. It might be a good idea.' The story also details efforts of some schools from simple orientation to threats of fines for spreading viruses, and questions exactly who would be responsible for keeping track of who is and isn't licensed." Not a new idea, but one that's going to keep coming up. Update: 09/13 18:11 GMT by M : Bruce Schneier notes that he isn't in favor of computer licenses.

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Crucial reference for ISP managers... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949801)

"Computers and Internet service providers (ISP) are an integral part of nearly every aspect of modern life and business. In ISP Liability Survival Guide, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Counsel for MCI WorldCom Timothy Casey brings to bear his expertise and experience to provide detailed explanations on the varying laws governing networking and the Internet, and how their technical features impact running a liability-free ISP. He offers critical considerations for adopting effective policies and procedures for effectively structuring an ISP operation. He also gives valuable insight into contracting with users, vendors, as well as sales channels to accommodate the laws and maximize ISP profitability. ISP Liability Survival Guide is critically important, crucial, essential reading for anyone charged with operational responsibilities for providing ISP services in today's technologically driven communications marketplace." - Amazon []

Yeah, I'm sure WorldCom knows a lot about ISP Liability and Survival. HA!

Your Friendly Neighborhood Product Placement Troll

First things first (-1, Flamebait)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949802)

Take a look at the AIDS epidemic in Africa and ask yourself if you really think you could force people to get a license before doing going off and doing things that are as natural as two dogs fucking.

Flamebaity, but not really flamebait (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949922)

The point I think our OP is trying to get at here is that people have been talking about forcing licensing for all manner of things, from Internet licensing to licensing for having a baby.

The solution isn't licensing, it's education. Education isn't something that is achieved through licensing, it's learned through a concerted effort to make people aware of the problems. Licensing only achieves getting people aware of knowing the answers to a test.

All I can say is WOW. (5, Insightful)

LinuxMan (3590) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949803)

That is a bit too much control on our rights, in my opinion. I would think that if that can happen for the Internet, then it could also happen for TV, telephone, and any other type of communication device.

Though education is important, it is the software vendors who are really to blame for a lot of the problems... (i.e. RPC holes, etc) A lot of the propagation of viruses and worms is a result of software accessing flaws in the software, without user intervention.

Apple 10 GB iPod []

Re:All I can say is WOW. (3, Insightful)

Sneftel (15416) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949828)

The TV and telephone are different, tho; nobody ever caught a virus from a telephone (Douglas Adams references aside), and you do in fact need a license to run a TV station. The point is that, as a computer user, you have the ability to unwittingly affect lots and lots of other people.

It's tempting to blame the vendors, and blame for stuff like the RPC holes should of course fall squarely on Microsoft's head, but keep in mind how successful trojan horses have been; some of the worst epidemics have required the uninformed cooperation of their victims.

oddly, enough, in England... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949931)

Oddly enough, in England (and perhaps other countries of the UK), you need a license to own a television set. The government even has special trucks that detect intermediate frequency emanations so that they can find illegal TV receivers!

While we're at it... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949808)

Why don't we start taxing email! Or perhaps data by the megabyte! Think of the revenues!

Re:While we're at it... (1, Interesting)

Serapth (643581) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949842)

Actually, thats not so bad of an idea... well... anyways the taxing email part.

Although, not for the reasons you mentioned... having say a 1 cent tax per email cent, would perhaps be one of the only solutions to solving spam. In a year... I send perhaps... 7300 emails ( figuring 20 per day ) ... so... in the long run, It would cost me about 7.30$ a year...

Now just think about how much money this would cost spammers??? It would cut back *ALOT* on spam, at least IMHO.

Granted... this was an off topic post... but you started it! :)

Re:While we're at it... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949875)

And spammers are fine upstanding law abiding citizens who would gladly pay their taxes accurately and fairly.

Re:While we're at it... (1)

Serapth (643581) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949901)

Well, of course some would have to enforce it... most likely the telcos ( on a global scope ) would be able to enforce a 1 cent tax.

Re:While we're at it... (1)

exick (513823) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949914)

Aside from the fact that this is a stupid idea, 7300 emails per year @ 1 cent per email equals $73.00 per year, not $7.30.

Re:While we're at it... (1)

Serapth (643581) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949928)

Oops... lets go with 1 10th a cent then... same basic idea applies, and truly I dont think its a stupid idea... One of the fundimental flaws with free is that its easily abused... thats why you get 50 times more spam in your email then you do in your snail mail.

Re:While we're at it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949960)

How will the telco's know what's an email. I want them to deliver my packets, not sniff them to the degree where they can identify that.

I hope they do take your idea. It will kill the current mail protocol and make room for a new one that solves a lot of the problems that have developed.

Re:While we're at it... (1)

RackinFrackin (152232) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949945)

It may cut down on spam, but taxing email is a horrible idea. Aside from the basic point that the government just shouldn't be able to do it, it would be nigh impossible to enforce and would introduce a terrible amount of accounting to anyone who runs a mail server. On top of that, the government would have to spend great amounts of money to handle all the accounting involved.

Also, 7300 emails at one cent each would total $73.00.

Re:While we're at it... (2, Funny)

Serapth (643581) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949962)

Yes, I missed out on the math error... I know im going to hear about it... again... and again... and again... :) This is slashdot, right? ;)

In regards to the governement handling it... I agree 110%... in all things, I generally want less government involvement, not more. I would think the only feasible way to "tax" email... would be for the charge to be from the worlds telco's. I should imagine a technology could somewhat equivelant to how phone calls are billed now, could be applied to email. That said... I would never *EVER* want to see the billing structure be comprable to, say, long distance providers now...

Re:While we're at it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949951)

Do you think spammers actually use conveniently trackable means of emailing? hell no! Why do i get spam from addresses that claim to be myself? They use anonymous crap and send their emails through servers in places where that kind of stuff isn't regulated.

It's sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949893)

I meant this comment as a joke. I'm a Libertarian! Don't tax email!

Re:While we're at it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949947)

Very funny post! You are a funny man!

this article should be labeled (3, Insightful)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949809)


Re:this article should be labeled (2, Insightful)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949843)

Yup. Paid by MS I bet.

Its not our fault our software has bugs, it the users for clicking on attachments, or surfing on the Internet with our software. Pass the buck, blame the user.

Lucky it will never happen, nice puff piece. But with all information moving online, you cant require a license to access the information, or read a newspaper.

Re:this article should be labeled (4, Insightful)

Serapth (643581) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949868)

Actually... it is more a linux-esque type article. MS makes its billions off catering to the slobering masses... Linux is the soceity that tends to bash users for being too stupid to do anything... The whole "lets license users" type argument for surfing is a complete tech-elitest typical bs approach. Then again, you idiot proof something, the world builds a better idiot. The real answer is most likely to make a more modern, effective and adaptive education system... both in traditional school years, and there after.

That said, I agree... the article is total flame bait. Oh well.

Can we (2, Funny)

Phosphor3k (542747) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949814)

Take care of revamping drivers tests first? A retarded monkey can pass drivers tests in most states.

Re:Can we (3, Insightful)

enomar (601942) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949889)

Driver's test!? What about having children?

If I need a four year degree to surf the web, what will I need to procreate? A Nobel prize?

Re:Can we (1)

bob65 (590395) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949915)

Maybe not a retarded monkey, but certainly an average monkey can. I really don't know why the won't make driving tests harder - I mean, supposedly, the government could make more money from repeated tests, people would have an incentive to actually TRY to obtain some degree of driving skill before taking the test, and overall the roads would probably be safer. Who loses, exactly? I really can't see *anyone* that would be against more challenging driving tests.

Re:Can we (5, Funny)

Shadestalker (598690) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949933)

I was going to rebut, but my ride is here - gotta go before he starts flinging feces at the neighbors.

World Wide Web or Wild Wild West? (1)

Chief Typist (110285) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949816)

If surfing is outlawed, only outlaws will surf.

Re:World Wide Web or Wild Wild West? (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949949)

And if outlaws are distracted by surfing, then that will leave the rest of the internet free for civilised people.

Blah. Blah and double blah I say. (4, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949817)

First off this whole virus issue is just starting to get really bad. A few years ago it wasn't necisarry for the average user to be so vigiant. As it become necisarry, whose to say that they won't learn by collective experiance. And if you are going require licenses from anyone, lets start with the people writting poor software that is allowing the net to degrade the way it is? (and again whose to say that they won't improve on their own now that it is becoming more necisarry to do so).

But here's my real question. Why post such flaimbait? This article is just some nobody giving his foolish opinion in a non-influential news site. If this was on CNN, then i could kind of see posting it. It this written by a big name in IT, I could see posting it. If there was ANY chance that this guy would be taken seriously, i might understand posting it. But there is none. This article is pure flaimbait, and Bruce Schneier is a Nazi.

Godwin's law! Damn! (3, Funny)

SoTuA (683507) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949850)

Bruce Schneier is a Nazi.

Damn! There I was, putting my finishing touches on my "+5 insightful" comment and BAM! the discussion is ended!

oh well... there'll be other threads...

Re:Godwin's law! Damn! (2, Funny)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949872)

Yes, and he scored triple bonus points, because his very last word was nazi, no less.

I get tired of amateurs that use it in the first sentence of a large paragraph.

Just a quickie response (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949917)

The main reason the average person today needs to be more vigilant compared to a few years ago is that today many people have high speed 24/7 connections compared to a few years ago when only colleges and people who got isdn lines had the same connection types. The result is that with more cable modem subscribers and dsl connections, you get a large class of people who have no clue about their computers and don't know how to handle a 24/7 high speed connection and this is where most of the problems are at. At a typical company, you will have a few people who know lots about handling such connections and they will be given control including firewalling such connections and configuring the systems to handle this. But with a number of people who connect with high speed connections with the generally insecure default options, you get a nice group of systems that are very easy to compromise, always available, and have lots of bandwidth. Generally, these people won't know until someone wipes their hard drive they were even hacked to begin with.

Just had to get that off my chest. :)

Just Hold Responsible (5, Informative)

2starr (202647) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949818)

I help administer an apartment/dorm-ish complex at a university. Basically the approach we're taking is letting people know what's expected: virus checker, etc. If an incident occurs and we find the person wasn't taking adequate precautions, they get fined.
I don't think you can require people to do stuff like take classes, but if they're neglegent, they should be held responsible.

Re:Just Hold Responsible (5, Insightful)

TwistedGreen (80055) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949902)

So if everyone gets infected, does everyone get fined? I think it's ridiculous to get fined at all, let alone getting fined for deficiencies in software /you/ didn't write.

Re:Just Hold Responsible (2)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949956)

You choose to use the software. If you can't judge the risks and take adequate precautions, it's your fault.

If a trojan installs a spam spewer on your system: it's your fault.

The software on your system is an extension of you; it is acting as your agent. It's infractions are your infractions. Period.

Re:Just Hold Responsible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949920)

What's wrong if I live in your dorm and my computer runs a virus? I'm not using more bandwidth than what what the network will allow, and my computer is simply sending packets to some IP addresses, doing exactly what the Internet is all about. What these packets are, their destination and the number of them isn't your business.

Re:Just Hold Responsible (1)

lordkuri (514498) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949950)

What's wrong if I live in your dorm...... What these packets are, their destination and the number of them isn't your business.

Hey sparky.... if it's *his* network, then it *is* his business, period.


Great... (2, Interesting)

G33kDragon (699950) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949819)

So once the users are educated with a basic set of computing knowledge, and when only people that actually know what they are doing are using computers...what's going to happen to lovely tech support?

Re:Great... (2, Insightful)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949840)

We license people to drive, but traffic cops and state troopers don't seem to have much trouble holding on to their jobs...

Re:Great... (1)

Will2k_is_here (675262) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949887)

He still makes a great point. You don't see speeders walk in to a police station asking for a ticket. Tech support depends on people who are willing to admit they don't know. If the user's licence depends on the user "knowing", they will never admit to needing tech support.

On the other hand, this plan opens up a new field which relates to your point. We will then need people who will need to decide which users don't know the rules and to enforce that appropriately.

Re:Great... (1)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949953)

Good point, and one I missed entirely in the parent post. Who WOULD decide? Techies like me? I know some people who definitely don't belong on the internet, but as for actually enforcing that? Frankly I wouldn't want to be the one to tell aging grandparents, "I know you just want to e-mail your grandson, but since you've been propagating viruses I cannot allow you to get on the 'net..."

Re:Great... (1)

vt0asta (16536) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949871)

So once the users are educated with a basic set of computing knowledge, and when only people that actually know what they are doing are using computers...what's going to happen to lovely tech support?

a) Tech support won't have to hear the customer's mouse tapping their monitor screen...

b) Customer will have already rebooted the computer 6 times....

c) Their will be a new breed of idiots, and it ups the bar for tech support workers.

Overall, the more things change...the more they stay the same...

Re:Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949940)

When all the lovely tech support drones are out of work things will be much better for everyone else.

Most tech support people I've seen (both having to get defective products fixed, and working in the industry for a miserable year) are arogant pricks. As a generalization they have an inferiority complex and take it out on their users. Just do a search on google for tech support humour. The people who write that have serious emotional problems, probably from getting beat up too much as kids.

I have a CS degree from one of the top schools in the country (as do most of my co-workers because my employer is in a position to want the best). We have a tech support lackey with a degree from "Last Chance U" who's constantly bragging about how much smarter he is because his school and degree are so much better.

A nice idea, but not too feasible (1)

Jon-o (17981) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949821)

As a help desk worker, I've thought this would be a nice thing to have many a time... but for it to work at all, a license would have to be valid for a year or so at most, at least the way technology changes today. Would an "internet knowledge test" from 5 years ago have a lot of relevance today? I rather doubt it.

To really be a responsible and competent net-user, it's not good enough to write a test once - you have to get some basic knowledge, and then use that to continually learn new things as they appear.

The problem isn't the users. (5, Insightful)

Malor (3658) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949822)

In essence, we are blaming users for things that aren't their fault.

The article talks about the need to install anti-virus software, and keep up on patches, and to read the fine print in click-through licenses to prevent spyware from being installed. All of these things need to be done to operate a computer safely, true.

But why the hell are they required? We are giving users HORRIBLE software that is prone to constant infection. Some companies are taking advantage of click-through licensing to hijack people's computers. And we're blaming USERS for not doing the right things?

That would be like making cars that exploded if you ran them at exactly 62mph for more than 12 continuous minutes, with brake systems on the outside of the car where anyone could walk by, flip a switch, and disable them, as well as aftermarket accessories that forced cars to drive on particular roads at particular times.... and blaming the drivers when cars blow up, can't brake, or cause traffic jams on certain roads.

People mostly just want to do email and read the web. We should be providing them software that does this with absolute security.

We are blaming users for faulty software.

Re:The problem isn't the users. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949874)

Yeah, I have a hard time believing that Bruce Schnier suggested this licensing idea. This [] is what we really need. If software companies have to eat the cost of their screwups, they'll drastically improve their quality or go bankrupt, and frankly I don't care which.

Re:The problem isn't the users. (4, Insightful)

tsg (262138) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949929)

It's not a "black-and-white" issue. No software is 100% secure. No hardware is 100% secure. Users are going to have to patch their systems at one time or another. Users also have to know not to open attachments in email unless they're reasonably[1] sure it's not dangerous.

At the same time, software and hardware manufacturers (closed and open source alike) have to be diligent about shipping reasonably[1] secure products.

And let's not forget the people who supply the pipe through which the lusers with their horrible software are infecting every other computer on the planet. ISP's have to be more responsible for their users. Both in educating them and preventing them from being too dangerous when they do screw up.

All sides need to do their jobs better.

[1]For very large values of "reasonably"

Re:The problem isn't the users. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949936)

This is certainly true, but I think the ISPs could do a lot to help. What if ISPs warned new users about spam? If Joe User were told that buying from a spammer means buying possibly bogus drugs, having his credit card number stolen, and getting even more spam, how much would that cut down on the spam response rate?

Say nay to barriers to entry... (4, Insightful)

Empiric (675968) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949824)

Should License Be Required to Go Online?

No, but perhaps grammar skills should be required to work for the Associated Press...

Seriously, this is a terrible idea. This would open up chicken-and-egg problems across the whole range of learning endeavor computers and the internet offers.

The analogy of needing a license to drive a car is used repeatedly in the article, but I think that's not quite the right analogy; maybe requiring you to know how to rebuild an engine before you ever drive would be more accurate. One of the expectations mentioned is that you must know how to set up a firewall; is this really realistic to require before any unsupervised on-line time?

The internet is growing because it's accessible, reasonably. If I needed a license to buy a book, I might never have started reading--and a book is a more accurate analogy than a car.

Put the responsibility for viruses where it belongs, on the network admins and software vendors, not the newbies. Everybody's got to start somewhere.

Re:Say nay to barriers to entry... (1)

SoTuA (683507) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949898)

One of the expectations mentioned is that you must know how to set up a firewall.

Uh, yeah! Sure! I think whoever had that expectation is smoking some really good weed - SCO good, if you dig. Whoever came with that idea never tried to explain what is a firewall to his mother.

Put the responsibility for viruses where it belongs, on the network admins and software vendors, not the newbies.

Right on! Newbies should not bear the burden caused by sheer idiocy of faulty software vendors and poor administrators.

Windows Server 2003 doubles active sites since Jul (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949826)

Windows Server 2003 doubles active sites since July; 5% were previosuly running Linux []

Why does slashdot keep rejecting my story?

Notably, the number of sites switching from Linux has proportionately kept pace since July when many commentators thought the 5% of sites switched to Windows 2003 from Linux was an aberration

Serious Blow to Minorities (0, Flamebait)

planckscale (579258) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949829)

This is not positive legislation for minorities and would prevent any number of health services, education, and civil services to untold numbers of poor and uneducated. Have these people thought of someone that goes online and can't read the instructions for "aquiring a license"? Just one person denied the freedom of browsing online should be enough to wipe this idea from the planet.

Re:Serious Blow to Minorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949855)

You are insane. If a minority can't read well enough to pass a licensing test, they sure as hell wouldn't be able to understand enough to get useful information off the Internet.

But I do agree with your main point. Minorities are disadvantaged as it is. Adding more anti-affirmative action (negative action?) laws to preclude the under-educated from certain activities is as heinous now as it was for the South to require licensing to vote a hundred years ago.

Re:Serious Blow to Minorities (0, Flamebait)

kaltkalt (620110) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949957)

Unless minorities will be forbidden to get licenses or will have to pay more for them, then any disparate impact is not intentional and, while unfortunate, is too fucking bad. Every idea hurts minorities and children, so we need to collectively get over it.

Gasp! (3, Funny)

Weatherman-au (572907) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949830)

You mean the "Internet Driver's Licence" isn't a real licence for that there Interweb? Bugger, now I have to take it off my resume.

this sounds impossible (2, Insightful)

kaan (88626) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949831)

In fact, this is not only impossible, but unrealistic and rather terrible. Why? Because there will be absolutely no practical way to enforce, encourage, or even suggest uniform "rules" (whatever they might be) in every country around the world.

The article plainly says that we are continually exposed to junk mail, viruses, etc., and this would help to eliminate such things, but one of the reasons that such nuisances exist is because there is no single governing body over the internet. As much as I'd like to see this idea take off and clean things up, I think it will never, ever fly.

Well, you have to have a license... (3, Interesting)

BattyMan (21874) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949836)

To drive a car
to fly an airplane
to use any radio transmitter beyond minimal power walkie-talkies, cellphones or 802.11.

All these things are done to help enhance the safety of everyone using the medium.

The signal to noise ratio of the Internet (maybe I oughta make that noise to signal) is typical of things which are totally out of control...

Re:Well, you have to have a license... (2, Interesting)

BattyMan (21874) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949894)

In order to get a SCUBA tank filled with compressed air you have to flash certification credentials saying that you've the knowledge to use it without killing yourself.

Could ISP's not require _some_ sort of credentials assuring them that you've a clue?

I see an apalling level of ignorance, from modern electronic office workers, whose _jobs_ consist of reading and sending email, building webpages, making PowerPoint presentations, expressing themselves via "desktop publishing" & spreadsheets, doing www research, and on and on. Despite _making_a_living_ off their computer "skills", they're totally clueless.

But then, plenty of the licensed motor vehicle operators I see are clueless, too, and the fact that they had to get a license first does not help them - one bit.

Re:Well, you have to have a license... (1)

Josh Booth (588074) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949930)

Yes, but all of those things you mentioned are priveledges [sp?}, not rights. It is a right for someone to communicate with another person and rights aren't licensed, are they? As long as you protect yourself, you will not be hit with much of the sh*t that flys around the internet, unless you are popular with people who use Outlook :-)

Licensing internet usage is like licensing speaking in a public place. You can say just about anything in a public place (within reason) without restriction -- why is the internet different? Just because there are 300 other people in my HS lunchroom making a massive racket doesn't mean I can't communicate effectively. There is no control in that case, and there doesn't need to be. If you don't want to pick up other people's conversations, don't listen. That's like using a firewall.

Of course I'm almost oversimplifying the situation, but my point stands, and maybe when we develop new protocols some of these problems will go away and we'll have more tolerable problems in their place. We just need Air the Next Generation to communicate over!

Re:Well, you have to have a license... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949954)

The main problem is that everyone is so concerned about viruses and worms and other computer things, but no one is stopping and taking a second look at what the actual problems are.

Here they are:

1) critical systems are hooked to the internet.

That's it.

Who cares that Johnny Schmo's computer is fucked up because of some stupid virus? In fact, who cares that any computer is fucked up? The only reason that anyone would worry is because the computer contains critical information that can't afford to be deleted or disseminated. And if that information is on the computer in question, WTF is the computer doing connected to the Internet?

School (1)

nitrocloud (706140) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949837)

In school, we have a contract stating thatwe must only use the internet for education, as a result, they loaded up X-Stop from 8e6 technoligies, and prohibit us from many required educational sites. They lock the rest rooms during lunch, they inhibit innocent people from eatting lunch, they are a totalitarion government that needs to be reformed ever 40 years. And isn't it due now? For a virus on computers or hacking, you have to pay for every system compromised, then fix it.

I was gonna make a joke... (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949838)

...but this is the dumbest suggestion I've heard in a long time. A security expert recommends more security. Shocking. News at 11.

Ooooo...wait till they approve a curriculum (2, Funny)

JoeShmoe (90109) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949844)

Which includes lessons on how Windows(R) with its WindowsUpdate(TM)(C)(R) is more easy to secure than Linux and even UNIX!

And you thought the evolution in schools issue was a flamefest...

- JoeShmoe

California & Licenses (1)

G33kDragon (699950) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949845)

...and I suppose this means that all the illegal immigrants coming over to California for driver's licenses and free-lunches at community colleges will be the firsts to get e-Licensed? Woo-hoo, way to build up the economy! :/

Before fining people for sending viruses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949849)

Fine ISPs monthly for not converting to IPv6. It will make it actually possible to trace the people who create the viruses, at least within the US.

Considering our current foreign policy, we should also bomb countries who don't start a similar program of taxation.

heheh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949851)

and i suppose M$ would be issuing these licenses?

this idea is so full of moron-holes i can't even
summon the energy to describe them

i just hope the lot of you die from chronic idiocy

or from choking on your own vomit

i hope

in a world without hope

THIS ... i hope

interesting points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949852)

I read the article and found that it contained no interesting, useful, insightful or intelligent points whatsoever.

next thing you know (1)

nuckin futs (574289) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949859)

you won't be able to surf while under the influence.
what will the slashdotters do? ;)

Yet another attempt (0, Flamebait)

alex_ant (535895) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949865)

by self-righteous geeks to lord themselves over the inferior masses. I propose a different test: Everybody who endorses this idea be given one week to get a date with a reasonably intelligent, not-awful-looking female. If you don't pass, you get booted from the net. All the nerdboys would fail it and FINALLY we wouldn't have to put up with their cocksure whining anymore.

Second (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949927)

Now that is goddam funny.

I second it!

The truth hurts, doesn't it, pizzafaces? n/t (1)

alex_ant (535895) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949963)


Better idea (5, Insightful)

rossz (67331) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949866)

I think someone should have to take a course in the Constitution before making stupid fucking statements that would limit people's rights.

Re:Better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949885)

Or better yet... someone should realise the internet is a global venture... and the constitution has "FUCK ALL TO DO WITH IT!". Sorry... just gettin sick of the American government thinking they can legisilate the internet.

That said, I agree with your point ;)

Oh, the irony! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949869)

Send people to school on it? Perhaps I have misunderstood what "the September that never ended" refers to.

The founders of the internet (0, Offtopic)

koa (95614) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949876)

Ever wonder what the people involved with Arpanet would have to say about this? If I was involved in the birth of the internet as we know it.. I'd be questioning the motives for doing it in the first place.. Aside from initially being a military project I am talking about the people who adapted it to the public. As in university folk.

Just take a look at where we are now. It makes me sick just thinking about it.

Freedom... (1)

kchoboter (563770) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949877)

Freedom, isn't that one of the things that the internet allows. Freedom to information, freedom to anonymity, freedom to do whatever you want!

The internet also allows basically anyone, of any age to use it, and reaps it benefits. Obviously proxies and filters should be applied to younger aged net surfers, but only to protect them from age inappropriate material.

The internet is also supposed to be an easy way to get information fast. Requiring a licence removes freedom, makes it more difficult for younger people to access the internet and makes a lot of work for everyone(are we gonna have some kind of internet DMV or something??)

Re:Freedom... (1)

kchoboter (563770) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949890)

er... reap
i need to read slower.....

College degree?? (3, Funny)

bob65 (590395) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949880)

It could be a four-year college degree.

Um, yes. I'm proud to be a Bachelor of Mouse-Clicking.

Re:College degree?? (1)

Sir.Cracked (140212) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949921)

I'm a proud Bachelor who Mouse-Clicks, Does that count?

Is this industry PR to distract people? (2, Interesting)

JohnDenver (246743) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949881)

From considering that maybe companies like Microsoft should be held liable for knowningly shipping an insecure product?

The last thing I want to see is the software be subjected to the same liability/litigation as the aerospace industry, but I don't believe a EULA should protect a manufacturer from not fixing a product that is inherantly secure.

The question we need to ask ourselves, "Has Microsoft knowingly done nothing to fix a security hole?"

Nah! Let's just legislate RTFM!

Our Own Network (5, Funny)

Heem (448667) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949883)

When we, the technologicaly elite, make our OWN network, based on encrypted tunnels on the existing infrastructure - then we can choose what level of certification is required to interact with peers.

I'm serious.

Perhaps... (1, Insightful)

Walker2323 (670050) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949886)

Perhaps we should require a license for AP writers. Or Windows programmers.

keee-rist (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949888)

The internet. Providing access to the ideas of ignorant fucks since 1969. Over 99 billion ignorant ideas served, laughed at, ridiculed, and shat into oblivion.

Consumer Computer and Operating System (1)

Khun Yee (222773) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949895)

If a computer and its operating system is meant for the average consumer and it is more difficult than a VCR to use properly, then something is wrong with the computer and its operating system. Not the consumer.

Oh yeah, great idea (1)

fruity1983 (561851) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949904)

This will help poor people stay a whole lot poorer. The course will cost money. Poor people will not be able to afford the course. Poor people don't go online. Poor people miss out on education, school related studies, employment searches, etcetera. Poor people get less opportunities. Who thinks these ideas up? Republicans?

Re:Oh yeah, great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949967)

Good idea! Yes indeed, let's keep the niggers off of the Internet. They consume too much bandwidth looking up 40oz malt liqour prices, where bees da nearist waddymellon patch, shortest route to the nearest KFC, latest car jacking techniques, bustin caps in whitey's azz, White ho's fo mo fuckN, and sharing mo nigger rap fo bustin whitey's eardrums..

Yes, Licenses and Money for Everything. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6949907)

Yes, Licenses and Money for everything.
Licenses and Money to watch TV
Licenses and Money to listen to radio
Licenses and Money to be in public
Licenses and Money to have children
Licenses and Money to read Slashdot
Licenses and Money to be able to talk to people who think they are smarter and better than we are
Licenses and Money to eat 3 meals a day
Licenses and Money to be able to sleep in a bed
Licenses and Money to get an education
Licenses and Money to travel
Licenses and Money to dream of a future free of Licenses and Money
Licenses and Money to commit suicide to escape all of the Licenses and Money

Licenses.. well.. (1)

DaLiNKz (557579) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949911)

Might as well get one for a gun, and hunt down the people who support this :)

B|A N N E|D C_D (0, Offtopic)

TheVidiot (549995) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949916)

Hi, Slashd0t, I have been receiving emails saying that I'm contributing to the "moral decay of society" by selling the Banned C D. You can track down old flames from college, or you can dig up some dirt on your boss to make sure you get that next promotion! Or maybe you want a fake diploma to so you can surf the net.....

This is too easy (1)

Chatmag (646500) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949918)

The major problem that I see is that over the past years the Internet and computers have been intentionally made so as to be used by anyone with nothing more than "point and click" skills. This is turning out to be a double edged sword. On the one hand, it opens the world to the casual user, and on the other hand, does not challenge the user to learn more about what they are doing online.

I've always believed that education is the key, and where do we start? There should be a multi pronged approach, with computer manufacturers, Internet Service Providers, and third party site's and software vendors all pitching in to educate the "Joe Average" user.

Rather than a "license", why not have a system built with an integrated skill level. As the consumer uses their system, build in a tutorial that if answered correctly, takes them to the next level. With a web browser, this could be that the first time the browser is loaded, the consumer would get a short tutorial automatically, and have to check off a few simple questions in order for the browser to then access the Internet. With other software, it would be simple to set up the same type of tutorial. Email could be set up to give a tutorial with some hints as to not downloading certain files, basic antivirus and trojan/worm information, etc.

The ISP's should have a good basic education package for their new signups. Some do, most do not, all they care about is getting a new signup.

Third party sites such as ours are designed to educate the user in a particular aspect of Internet usage, and it is a vastly under utilized area. We'd like to see more fundamental sites covering the basics. You'd be surprised at how many hits our Help section receives every day, and the emails we get from people asking questions, or just complimenting us on having it available.

Software vendors could build in a tutorial, rather than be optional, it would not allow the program to function unless the user at least had an overview of the particular program. Everyone makes fun of the "Video Professor" type of tutorials, but how much better would it be if all users had to use that kind of a system before being allowed online.

gentility (2, Insightful)

sstory (538486) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949924)

Be gentile in your responses, I read what he said, and he's just sort of hypothesizing, he's not really advocating.

Re:gentility (1)

sstory (538486) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949942)

gentle, obviously. Not gentile.

fines? (1)

CptChipJew (301983) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949934)

to threats of fines for spreading viruses

Are they not already imprisoned, at least in the US?

Hey the Brit's would go for such an Orwellian idea (0)

Shifty_McWriteoff (698909) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949935)

Lets take the most open, free, and accessable medium in the history of all humanity and make sure the government controls who can access it. Woohoo! :( This brilliant idea would go well with their (the UK) video camera's perched on every street top and litterally all through out downtown London. Don't even get me started about the Chinese; someone in their government would probably get a woody if they heard of this nonsence. License This IP!

How about a license to be stupid?? (0, Redundant)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949938)

Get rid of fucking WINDOWS! Damn!
Windows is the NUMBER ONE PROBLEM with computers and the Internet now.

The number two problem is stupid people. Most people have zero concept of what's happening when they click the mouse. They should be using computers on the internet anyway, like drunken bums with TB they bang around the net, spreading germs and disease where ever they go.

Get rid of windows, period and forbid stupid people from going online period and most of the problems will go away.

Seriously, I've sat down and talked to people about security on their systems and they look at you like a puppy that just woke up from a nap. They are clueless. Most of them deserve to have their shit hacked and info ripped off and CC #s jacked, just because they are so freaking dense. One old man I talked to, numerous times, about security leaves his M$ box on 24/7 and his cable (used to be DSL) modem on all the time.

He buys stuff on the internet all the time and it just thrills him and befuddles him into silly bliss that he can click "add to my cart" then "check out" and UPS is knocking on his door a few days later with his book, video or whatever.

No matter how many times I tell him to turn the damn modem off when he's not using it, he just won't do it. He claims his "guru" friend takes care of his computer for him. His "guru" friend is an idiot, I've met him, he's a mouth breather.

Stupid people + M$ spells computer/Internet constipation...

Ok, maybe we could tie it into (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949939)

a nation-wide ID system. Might be crowded if you have to take a drivers test as well as an internet test at the same time; but I'm sure that can be ironed out somehow. Maybe by having different certifications such as we already have for driving.

then what? (1)

SoTuA (683507) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949944)

license to use the phone?

license to use the snail mail?

license to speak?

Ok, that's gross exageration. But seriously, isn't it a little bit unfair to saddle the users with the problems of the Internet providers? (lazy admins, poor ISPs, unsecure SW vendors).

It's kinda like requiring a rally-enduro driving course for a driver's license instead of patching the potholes.

You should have to get a license.... (1)

rune2 (547599) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949946)

To be able to create color schemes this ugly! Seriously, reddish brown and dark yellow do not mix! Ugh..

Must redefine priorities (2, Funny)

MikeCapone (693319) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949948)

People should need a license to have children, not to surf the internet.

Daft punks... (1)

tius (455341) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949952)

A license to go online....only if we require one for nose picking or running for office...

They pay people to come up with sort of thrum?!? No, really? I'm amazed. So, does this imply that it takes a bunch of daft script kiddies to induce mental ruptures in "CHIEF" technology officers of security firms?

Ok, so realistically, this bloke has realized that there is no such thing as a secure system, he's lost his grounding, he's grasping at anything....he needs a career change...

Oh well, funny that one can take daft suggestions from the likes of politicians, but when some supposedly educated or knowlegable individual comes out with this kind of get my incredulous reaction...

Why? (1)

lilricky (632829) | more than 11 years ago | (#6949959)

I would have to concur with the others, this story seems to have been posted to cause flaming within the slashdot community. I wish that these types of "stories" ie, taxing email, paying per meg of downloaded content, etc. would be a thing of the past for sites like slashdot, but I guess anything that brings in the ad revenue :(
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