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ISP Restrictions Based on Hardware/Software?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the government-always-knows-what-is-best-for-me dept.

Security 387

An anonymous reader writes "IT Architect magazine is reporting that ISPs are working towards a greater restriction of a customer's right to run what may be 'insecure' software. From the article: 'A greater threat is that ISPs may try to restrict the customer's side by denying access to machines based on their hardware or software configuration. [...] former head of cybersecurity, White House terrorism advisor Richard Clarke even said it should be made mandatory to quarantine malware.' Something that may also come as a surprise to some is that Microsoft is completely against this censorship of internet access. 'According to Chief Privacy Officer Peter Cullen, Microsoft is against ISPs doing anything that would restrict customers' choice of software. And he says this isn't just about the impracticability of demanding that data centers patch everything on the second Tuesday of the month. Laptop and home users also have the right to run an insecure PC.'"

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Of course Microsoft is against it... (2, Funny)

Whafro (193881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349021)

Depending on your definitions, banning malware could mean banning Windows!

Re:Of course Microsoft is against it... (5, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349080)


Depending on your definitions, banning malware could mean banning Windows!

Or if the RIAA/MPAA have their way: P2P traffic. Be careful what you wish for.

Re:Of course Microsoft is against it... (5, Insightful)

N3Roaster (888781) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349082)

While true, I really doubt ISPs are going to start blocking Windows users from accessing the Internet. Not only because they'd be blocking somewhere between most and all of their customers (Why yes, we'll sell you Internet access, we just won't let you use it.), but I've also encountered a lot of ISPs that would get really freaked out (for no good reason) if they heard you planned on connecting with anything but a Windows PC.

Re:Of course Microsoft is against it... (1, Funny)

born_to_live_forever (228372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349087)

Hmm... I was going to say something clever about "malware" and "Sony BMG's rootkit", but never mind.

Well... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349099)

I have nothing against blocking those who *are* infected--they're lagging the rest of the net with their crap and they need to shape up.

The real problem is banning those who "might be" infected because they don't run an approved version of Symantec or Norton Antivirus. What software I run is none of their business.

Re:Of course Microsoft is against it... (2, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349121)

Actually, when I was reading the summary, I was thinking something along the lines of this: ISPs are legislatively mandated to have a set of software that protects customers and that customers have to run to connect. ISPs then make said software available -- only for Windows. This, of course, indirectly bans any other operating systems from connecting, even when they (almost certainly) are better protected.

Re:Of course Microsoft is against it... (5, Interesting)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349158)

That'll actually not work for most ISPs. If you call my ISP (Cox Cable) for a new installation these days, the installer will show up with a home router/firewall along with the modem. You have to ask to get a direct computer-modem hookup, or do the installation yourself. Windows-only access agents don't play well with that setup. Cox went with it, BTW, because it's cheaper and easier for them to manage the firewall and router than it is to keep dealing with malware/virus-related support calls from clueless Windows users.

Even if... (4, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349193)

...you are generous and don't define Windows as malware, you can reasonably define it as insecure, so it would certainly be bannable under the proposal. Especially early versions of Windows. And that's important, as a very large number of Windows users haven't upgraded and won't upgrade. (Windows 98 is still a very common OS and Windows 95 is still far from dead.)


The other concern Microsoft may well have is that if you can only run "approved" OS' on the Internet, it will kill their beta programs and may well make it harder to roll out service packs. After all, it changes the version ID, so won't be an "approved" OS any more. If nobody patches their system, for fear of being disconnected from the Internet, it will be Microsoft that suffers.


What about Linux users? Well, there's always the IP Personality patch. This disguises your OS, so that common methods of fingerprinting your computer will return the OS identity that you choose. You can always make a Linux box look like Windows XP or whatever.


That's probably another concern of Microsoft. Linux distributions can be easily modified to fool such restrictions and existing Linux users will likely install the necessary patches. This could make Linux more attractive to the Walmarts of the world (fewer customer complaints) and also to corporations (no risk of unexpected downtime, due to ISPs not keeping up).


I'm all for these restrictions, because they don't apply to Open Source software - masquerading as other software is already quite standard. Only closed-source vendors and closed-minded customers have anything to be scared of, and I've no problem with them being scared silly by Homeland Security.

Re:Even if... (3, Insightful)

Stripe7 (571267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349262)

They will probably pass a law to make it illegal for you to mask your linux OS as windows.

Re:Of course Microsoft is against it... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349300)

This is what happens when the internet gets too big. Too many people try to control it for "the greater good". This is not a good thing. Let users be stupid. Let them have to hire someone to fix their mistakes and let them make choice whether to use microsoftCrapware or Linux. Government regulation is always a bad thing.

FCK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349023)

fist FUCK

OUTGOING (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349029)

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Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349090)

The preceeding message is a dupe.

Agents: Please do NOT perform the requested actions again. You will seriously hurt yourself!

Re:OUTGOING (-1, Flamebait)

ettlz (639203) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349126)

Is Slashdot now being used as a ruddy numbers station or something?

Fuck off back to 11545 and 12603 kHz.

Microsoft's involvement (5, Interesting)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349031)

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, but - does it surprise anyone that the maker of the #1 target for malware writers is actively campagining against ISPs downthrottling infected users' PCs? I mean, if customers found out that Microsoft Windows = your ISP cuts down your rate, are people more or less likely to buy Windows? Their actions seems like obvious good buisness practice to me.

Re:Microsoft's involvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349151)

Yea because switching to another OS is easier than isntalling some sort of anti-virus/firewall...

Re:Microsoft's involvement (4, Interesting)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349153)

Unless you install a client piece on the customer computers, it would be pretty easy to thwart such bandwidth limiting, service limiting restrictions. You can cloak the client PC's with a linux box, and chances are good that there would be little linksys-like routers available to do the same for the less technically savvy. I wouldn't be surprised if it became a check-box on common for-home devices, and that it would be enabled by default.

Of course, they could also monitor traffice in and out of an IP and watch to see if there's spy/malware type things going on, which a cloak wouldn't mask. In which case, they should notify the end-users, not restrict them without doing so.

We'll see how this plays out. The trend is toward more speed, more speed, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. If a malware infected PC's user doesn't know he/she has it, and internet service becomes slower because the cable company reduces the speed, the user will just think the service sucks and switch to DSL or whatever else.

Re: Microsoft's involvement (3, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349165)

> At the risk of pointing out the obvious, but - does it surprise anyone that the maker of the #1 target for malware writers is actively campagining against ISPs downthrottling infected users' PCs?

Of course, our idiotic "security" bureaucracy would probably put Windows on the short list of approved systems, since it's a Legitimate Product (tm) from a Legitimate Business (tm).

Re:Microsoft's involvement (1, Insightful)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349198)

That's a bit kneejerk isn't it?

R'ing TFA, and a vague FA it was, the whole system would work by running a client agent that spies on the user and reports to the ISP, allowing the ISP to determine how to manage traffic (based presumably on draconian laws that further US govt ends).

Now, Microsoft will, realistically, be opposed to this simply because they don't control it. Absolutely they have every right to tell the govt they're not interested in them bundling software onto every Windows distribution. Only MS is allowed to bundle. But at the same time, MS has been reasonably anti-DRM and reasonably pro-freedom lately (it seems they are on the end of more patent litigation than they're causing lately, for example). A lot of this is simply going to be MS trying to prevent others from controlling the market in the same way they try to. Either way, take it as given that corps are evil, at least don't complain when they do something good.

Likewise, I am amused to think of what the Linux kernel owners would say about a mandatory bundling of a linux client agent to spy on the end user for the government.

Personally, I can't see it being popular anywhere outside the USA. And you try tell an ISP they need to increase their operating costs so they can enforce government policy for the government by running servers to monitor mandatory government spyware installed on client PC's.

Re:Microsoft's involvement (2, Informative)

suitepotato (863945) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349251)

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, but - does it surprise anyone that the maker of the #1 target for malware writers is actively campagining against ISPs downthrottling infected users' PCs? I mean, if customers found out that Microsoft Windows = your ISP cuts down your rate, are people more or less likely to buy Windows? Their actions seems like obvious good buisness practice to me.

What percentage of all Internet users are on Windows versus everything else?

Okay, so this is NOT a good business practice. Disenfranchising 90%+ of all Internet users is just plain stupid. Right up their with a multitiered Internet where big carriers can throttle your traffic if it comes from IP addys other than in their blocks or is aimed at ports they believe signify what is in their opinion unimportant traffic.

This is plainly a stupid idea on multiple levels.

Re:Microsoft's involvement (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349271)

Let's not pretend that any ISP actually has a choice of cutting off MS users. I think what is more telling here is that MS is not yet a media company. Media companies are the ones from whom we expect a statement that only the producers of products (i.e. the artists) should have a choice as to how the product is used and that the consumers of products (i.e. listeners, watchers of movies, etc.) should not have such choice. MS is still a traditional company, so they can only muscle their partners on how their product gets packaged. MS does not yet control the message -- only the media. I am not saying that they are not trying, but I am saying that since they are not a media company yet, they still have to worry about consumer rights.

Err.... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349033)

What if the user is behind a SOHO router? It will be hard to figure out what the client's OS/version is. Try using www.grc.com and their ShieldsUp.

Anyways, this being the US, such practice will be considered discriminatory especially if poorer families cannot afford the latest M$ tax.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349040)

couldn't Microsoft's ISP (MSN) claim any open source software was "insecure"?

Wow (2, Interesting)

LordoftheLemmings (773163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349042)

I think this is the only article on slashdot, that had anything positive to say about microsoft. This is the problem when you try to protect people. ISP regulating what I put on my computer and run online is not what we need. People should be allowed to run whatever they want to on their computers.

Wow-Standard Rights. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349085)

"Laptop and home users also have the right to run an insecure PC.'"

Apparently running an insecure PC is now a right. That's the funny thing about rights. So many to pick from, and more on the way.

Re:Wow (2, Insightful)

syzler (748241) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349265)

It is not a matter of the ISP trying to protect the individual, but a matter of the ISP trying to protect the ability to provide service to others. I work at an ISP in Alaska. We are having to take preventive measures to ensure that our entire network is not black listed by larger ISPs such as AOL.

We may be inconveniencing a small minority of our users, but we trying to maintain access for the majority of users. If we allowed our network to be in a perpetual blacklist, we would eventually not have any subscribers since they would transfer to providers that take measures to allow most of the subscribers to use services that the subscriber pays for.

Hah (2, Interesting)

matr0x_x (919985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349044)

The real question is, is the open source community against it?

Re:Hah (2, Insightful)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349068)

Answer: Does it really make any difference?

How much power does MS wield? How much power does the OS community wield?

Microsoft is completely against this censorship... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349050)

....or they are afraid that most Windows machines will eventually be shut off from the internet and OSX/Linux will run free

Re:Microsoft is completely against this censorship (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349162)

Oh really? How will open software get on the "trusted" list, and will the required client-side agent run on the particular distro of Linux/OSX/BSD/x that you happen to be running?

Re:Microsoft is completely against this censorship (1, Informative)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349178)

Argh, this was a reply to the post above the one my big fat mouse clicked reply on.

Re:Microsoft is completely against this censorship (2, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349273)

How will open software get on the "trusted" list,
And, as pointed out in the article, how will custom proprietary apps get on?

The whole thing sounds like a ridiculous idea when you start thinking about the repurcussions. ISPs have no way of knowing what percentage of their customers are running software that's not on a particular whitelist --- until the day they implement the policy, at which point all hell breaks loose and some of their best customers run to the competition.

It also isn't obvious how they can really detect all the software on a computer. Are they really going to look at every file foo.bar on my hard disk to see if it would really run if you did a `perl foo.bar'? And remember, malware authors are specialists at hiding their software.

It would make a lot more sense to analyze traffic. If a certain user starts sending 10 million e-mails a day all of a sudden, just shut off his access and wait for him to get on the phone and talk to you. Another, possibly complementary option would be just to impose upstream and downstream traffic limits (maximum peak and maximum monthly?), although a lot of ISPs don't want to advertise that they have limits or reveal what they are.

The article sounds very suspect to me. Lots of vague statements like "the required technologies are now becoming available." Oh yeah? What are they called? Who's selling them? Which ISP's have tested them?

Re:Microsoft is completely against this censorship (2, Insightful)

TeraCo (410407) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349309)

And, as pointed out in the article, how will custom proprietary apps get on? Easily - They rock up to the bureau of certification, pay the X thousand dollar testing fee and wait for the results.

Of course MS would object (4, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349053)

Of course Microsoft would object to this proposal. Any objective analysis (which the ISPs are certain to do) would put Windows high on the list of vulnerable systems. No matter how much Microsoft tries, it's always hard to configure a Windows system to be both secure and capable of easily running the software most users want to run without glitches. Putting a hardware firewall in front of it's just as bad from Microsoft's point of view: you're still telling users they have to spend more money and do more work to use Windows on the Internet. By contrast, many of the competing systems (Max OSX, *nix) are at low risk and would pass most security checks easily out of the box. No way does Microsoft want ISPs making it easier to put a Mac or a Linux box on the Internet than a Windows box.

Re:Of course MS would object (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349175)

Boy, if this isn't a complete load of bullshit. I run Windows XP SP2, Outlook 2003, Access, IIS (HTTP, FTP, and SMTP), IE, MS AntiSpyware, and Windows Firewall and I also have an MN-700 Router/Firewall (Microsoft -sadly discontinued) and I've only ever had one "intrusion" on my system. I forgot to close off anonymous FTP and someone decided to use the open server to dump their warez and moviez. I am not a techie by any stretch of the imagination, I'm a graphic designer who likes to have a little more control over my web site than your average bear. None of this stiff was terribly difficult to lock down nor were picking up a few good habits of surfing the internet or reading e-mail (one of the reasons I have Outlook 2003 but still have older MS Office software despite the constant crap I hear about MS forcing people to upgrade Office with each and every version). And before anyone asks, I run IIS because I can develop small web sites using Dreamweaver that target ASP, ASP.Net, and PHP.

Re:Of course MS would object (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349222)

Any objective analysis (which the ISPs are certain to do) would put Windows high on the list of vulnerable systems.

So what? With at least 90% of their customers running Windows, there would be absolutely no chance whatsoever of refusing access to PCs running Windows. At the very, very most they could refuse access to sufficiently old versions, but even that would risk them losing customers.

No matter how much Microsoft tries, it's always hard to configure a Windows system to be both secure and capable of easily running the software most users want to run without glitches.

Not if you know what you're doing - I run AV software, a third party firewall and keep up to date with patches. So far, the AV has caught precisely 1 virus that I might otherwise have fallen foul of (an infected jpeg). I only run the third party firewall because I want to be able to do egress filtering - if Windows firewall did that I wouldn't bother with it at all.

I don't care why... (3, Insightful)

ChowRiit (939581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349054)

Personally I don't care why Microsoft is against it - I'm sure they have their own agenda, but the enemy of my enemy is still my friend. If Microsoft are against it, it almost certainly won't happen - they have enough clout.

Anyway, such a law would be pandemonian, it would require international standards etc etc - it would never work...

Re:I don't care why... (1)

ltbarcly (398259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349312)

The "enemy of my enemy ..." comment is really stupid. I mean, it isn't even transitive.

For example, A, B, AND C are all pair-wise enemies. According to the "enemy of my enemy" theory, A and B are friends, because they are both enemies of C, A and C are friends because both are enemies of B, and B and C are friends because they are both enemies of A. So everyone is both friends and enemies.

A better statement is: "The enemy of my enemy is helping me so long as he causes my enemy to expend resources, which might have been used against my interests, without improving his own position with respect to myself in an amount greater than the gain in strength of my own position with respect to my enemy, although situations such as this do not lend themselves to so simple an analysis, and are often very nonlinear and chaotic in their behavior."

Problems with this (3, Insightful)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349055)

1. It's impractical -
I can see how the White House might deal with this sort of restriction, but an ISP dealing with thousands of customers that don't WANT to cooperate - not to mention, there would be an absurd number of software and hardware iiterations, hacks, etc, all of which they'd have to deal with.

2. It's unfair -
I should be able to run the software I want on the hardware I want, as long as I'm not producing malware. A restriction on rights for security is inconsistent with democractic ideals, especially with the qualifier that the security doesn't necessarily protect rights.

Re:Problems with this (1)

jon855 (803537) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349110)

How could you see that the White house might deal with this type of restriction? I would think that White House doesn't needs an ISP's restriction. More likely the White House IT Staff're in control of this restriction. It's totally unfair I agree with ya, once the ISP does this the free internet as we know will collapse.

Re:Problems with this (1)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349148)

You bring up an interesting point - but I think the two are the same. I assume the government is its OWN ISP in most situations - ergo local control IS ISP control.

Smoke and Mirrors (1)

Durrok (912509) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349056)

"Cable Tech Support, John speaking. How can I help you?" "Yeah... I can't get my internet connection to work" "I'm sorry, you have a p2p client on your PC. Please uninstall this program to enable your internet connection." Not that I'm concerned about it, I'm sure 15 seconds after they do this someone will have a work around but still... don't try to say that you are doing it for "malware" purposes

Re:Smoke and Mirrors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349334)

"Cable Tech Support, John speaking."

      Ahh that's where you are wrong. It's more like:

      "Cable Tech Support Amritsar speking. Be help me?" "Yeah I can't get my internet connection to work" "We not suporting internal conection sir" "Huh? No, my internet cable connection, it's not working!" "Internal table sir we not suporting dat" "What are you talking about?" "Can I help you?" "Huh?"...

Sign me up. (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349058)


I want on the OpenBSD-only ISP.

Bend us over and Shape our Bandwidth... (4, Insightful)

xoip (920266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349061)

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the large ISPs are out to put a strangle hold on the "Services" they deliver. There will be problems with VOIP caused by port restrictions, Others will stop offering basic services like nntp access. They have taken the view that the network is theirs and that they will dictate what is run over them with consumers being and endless cash cow that can be milked for access to "Premium" applications.

Re:Bend us over and Shape our Bandwidth... (2, Insightful)

HairyCanary (688865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349290)

Taken the view that the network is theirs?

It is.

Like it or not, an ISP does own the part of the network you traverse to get to "the rest" of the Internet. So it should be no surprise that they wish to control it, and consider it their right to do so.

And I cannot say I entirely disagree. Vote with your wallet. Where a large enough market exists (i.e. people who want no restrictions placed on their access), there will be an ISP to fill that need.

And besides, I doubt that all ISP's are heading in this direction. I work for an ISP (part of a CLEC) and I know for a fact that we are not considering anything along these lines, and I'd be sincerely surprised if we ever did. Our marketing people, while occasionally dumb, are not nearly stupid enough to try and make it fly.

Software Free-Choice (1)

spatenbrau (926486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349063)

Microsoft is against ISPs doing anything that would restrict customers' choice of software.

That is a right they want to reserve for themselves (via their "Trusted Computing" DRM and similar).

Re:Software Free-Choice (1)

NotBorg (829820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349317)

Microsoft is against ISPs doing anything that would restrict customers' choice of software.

Realistically that should read: "Microsoft is against ISPs doing anything that would restrict customers' choice of MICROSOFT software."

If anything, ISPs will restrict that which no major money player has any stake in. Follow the money. The average user will not notice as long as their IM, web browser, and e-mail still work. Most users is where the money is. Most computers running windows is where the money is.

Also politicians lack the vocabulary for describing what and what isn't a secure system. Their idea is ban all insecure systems. We don't know what one is so we'll leave that up to whomever. So as long as your ISP can say "Yup we did something." they are in the clear.

Not really that amazing (2, Insightful)

ltbarcly (398259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349066)

that Microsoft would want to prevent people from being punished for using an insecure OS...

It's because they're for choice right? I mean, every time I turn around I hear about a new Red-Hat exploit which has allowed a worm to spread into millions of computers around the world, causing massive amounts of bogus traffic and driving up costs for ISPs.

Re:Not really that amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349182)

I mean, every time I turn around I hear about a new Red-Hat exploit which has allowed a worm to spread into millions of computers around the world, causing massive amounts of bogus traffic and driving up costs for ISPs.

Don't kid. That would never happen. Red Hat simply doesn't have enough users for that!

Re:Not really that amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349248)

The above comment was meant as a joke. And it is in some way partly true.

Forgot to add a :P. :)

Durrrrrr ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349072)

Durrr, let's all bash "Micro$oft" in the traditionally predictable Slashdot way, and then let's all masturbate while installing Linux on our PCs!

Wanker Linux kiddies.

Terms of Service (4, Insightful)

saikatguha266 (688325) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349074)

> Laptop and home users also have the right to run an insecure PC

Absolutely. But do they have the right to abuse the ISP's network by sending spam/DDoS attacks etc?

Run what you may on your PC, but if you are using the network infrastructure owned and maintained by your ISP, you have to adhere to their Terms of Service, and they should have the right to enforce those terms of service.

If you don't like your ISP's TOS, find a different one. But don't confuse you right to run an insure PC with your right to abuse your ISP's network -- you do not have the latter.

Re:Terms of Service (1)

LOTHAR, of the Hill (14645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349127)

I don't like my ISP's TOS, but it's the only one ISP I can get. I can't go without because my work requires an internet connection.

Re:Terms of Service (1)

saikatguha266 (688325) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349202)

While I sympathise with your situation, Internet connectivity is not a fundamental right (yet?). If it ever were to become one, you could argue that the government would be required to provide an ISP service without any restrictions (much like State run TV channels).

But as long as Internet access generates revenue, and is a commercial service, consumers will be at the mercy of capitalistic competition. ISP's will compete on laxer ToS, lower price, better service, less spam and guaranteed bandwidth etc., which will ultimately benefit the consumer in some sense, and inconvinience them in another. Ofcourse, this argument breaks down where there is a monopoly (as seems to be the case with your ISP); at that point you are pretty much hostage to their whims. And until network connectivity is a fundamental right, they are quite free to give you the take-it-or-leave-it spiel.

Re:Terms of Service (1)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349206)

AOL has dialup numbers just about everywhere... so, you are an AOL user?

Terms of Service-Rights. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349180)

"If you don't like your ISP's TOS, find a different one. But don't confuse you right to run an insure PC with your right to abuse your ISP's network -- you do not have the latter."

"When everything's a right, nothing is a right." [stgeorgepress.com]

Well... (0, Redundant)

Trip Ericson (864747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349076)

I can understand why Microsoft would be against it.

Imagine if people suddenly got booted off and told it was because their computers needed repair, then they'd find out what's wrong (spyware/viruses) and why (holes in Windows), and then some of the more intelligent ones would investigate alternatives like Apple and Linux.

Personally, I'm all for quarantining computers that are spreading spam/worms/problem-of-the-month, so long as these restrictions don't spread to keeping people from using Linux and Apple.

Companies that institue such a policy would also have to be responsive, so that if an account that is kicked off performs the needed repairs, they are quickly given service back. Even better, the users in question should be warned prior to a service shutoff and given x number of days to repair it.

Re:Well... (1)

rideaurocks (840805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349289)

My ISP does this. It makes sense. People using cheapo residential internet shouldn't be able to infect the rest of us when they can easily be cut off for abuse, call in, and have the situation explained to them calmly. Assuming of course that they didn't see the 3 emails from the ISP warning them in the first place. Many won't clean up unless they're forced to.

The obvious question (3, Insightful)

rewt66 (738525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349078)

Laptop and home users also have the right to run an insecure PC.

Yes, but do they have the right to run an insecure PC connected to the Internet? When their insecure PC, if it gets 0wned, is going to have adverse consequences for others on the Internet?

An analogy: I have the right to drive a car that fails safety inspection - on my own land. I do not have the right to drive it on the public roads, where it can endanger others. (Of course, this analogy breaks down, because the government mandates the safety inspection, and the government owns the roads, and in the Internet case, it's not the government that mandates the safe PC, but rather the ISP... and the ISP owns the "road" that I'm putting the unsafe PC on, or at least the road I use to access it... hmm, maybe the analogy isn't that bad.)

Re:The obvious question (1)

Cipster (623378) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349120)

The only problem is how do you define "unsafe". When does unsafe become "the product of a competitor" or P2P software or something the government decided you shouldn't have on your computer etc. Also do you want your ISP to install some software on your box that will be scanning your memory for dangerous software and will cut your connection off if it finds any? The ultimate irony would be that the software will not run on Linux or BSD etc. effectively knocking offline the most secure boxes.

Re:The obvious question (1)

rewt66 (738525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349174)

Hey, I didn't say that the idea was good. I just said that the quoted reason why the idea was bad (that people have a "right" to be online with unsafe boxes) was a really bogus reason.

There Will Be Alternatives... (2, Interesting)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349093)

I can see why ISP's would want this (less zombies, etc.), but I don't believe they'd all be able to sit down and agree on standards. Likewise, if my current provider makes say running Windows XP SP2 a requirement, there's no doubt I can go elsewhere and find some other provider that would let me run Linux. Now when we reach the point where there's only a handful of ISP's (esp. if they're regional), we will have a problem.

Does this mean... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349095)



...someone must be required to provide service somewhere, some time? Looking back, think about the people who lived [1] Way,way out there, are these people going to be SOL? Connection over power lines? Maybe that is the solution?


[1] at the corner of 40th and Plum: "40 miles out in the middle of nowhere, plumb out in the sticks..." If this isn't familiar to you, try "out where God lost his shoes". If these don't mean anything to you, you probably can't drive down a state highway and identify the type of animal based on the smell of the building they're housed in.


Re:Does this mean... (1)

Dominic Burns (673810) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349137)

"...identify the type of animal based on the smell of the building they're housed in."

I don't know why, but that sentence made me want to drink more.

Glass shape has nothing to do with it.

+-5 Off/On Topic

Re:Does this mean... (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349203)

you probably can't drive down a state highway and identify the type of animal based on the smell of the building they're housed in.

Not if God's shoes are close by. *phew*!

MS jokes galore (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349109)

But, remember this. FTA:"Worse, ISPs might base their lists on commercial considerations. So while custom enterprise applications are locked out, Sony's rootkit gets through.". It would appear to me that MS has nothing to worry about here. This is more of an attempt to lock out OSS and other nonDRM'ed software.

plus 3, Troll) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349113)

Rights? Huh? (2, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349114)

There is no right to do anything with anyone else's property or for them to provide a service they don't want to.

On the other hand, an openly competitive market generally won't see companies trying to reduce services or increase fees -- competition is what gives consumers what they want at the price they're willing to pay.

If we allow our government to regulate the Internet, you better believe the market will be disturbed by enough regulations that we WILL see restrictions such as these -- regulations always serve the interests of the now mandated monopolies instead of the end consumers.

If a few big ISPs decide they want to restrict services for certain users -- let them! The little ISPs will gain enough business to give them a nice profit. Seems like a win-win to me.

Re:Rights? Huh? (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349291)

There is no right to do anything with anyone else's property or for them to provide a service they don't want to.

Hmmm, on the surface your comment sounds reasonable and very patriotic. Underneath though, most everything seen as having some kind of national interest is, one way or another, eventually usurped by the gov't. The recent 911 service for VOIP providers requirement is one example of how they start. Regulation is their controlling mechanism.

On the other hand, an openly competitive market generally won't see companies trying to reduce services or increase fees
You are assuming the market you are describing is competitive. Many are not. Most mature markets are an oligopoly. This kind of "perfect" market thinking is politically expedient. Practically, it only builds greater wealth for the priveledged few at the expense of many by maintaining an illusion of "infinite opportunity."

-- competition is what gives consumers what they want at the price they're willing to pay.
No. A business finds a price at which there are willing buyers. Competition has nothing to do with it and is avoided at all costs. This kind of political rhetoric is very patriotic, but hijacks basic economic principals to serve some political need.

The little ISPs will gain enough business to give them a nice profit.
No. They typically will not. Either they will be regulated into oblivion or be sequestered into tiny non-threatening businesses. Again, this kind of political rhetoric sounds really good and is supposed to be what America is all about, but it is not reflected in reality. Please get involved in local politics and you will see that your ideals come nowhere near the reality.

Re:Rights? Huh? (1)

Theovon (109752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349310)

Either that or the little ISP's will take this as a cue to add restrictions of their own. The smaller ones generally make less profit, so anything they can do to reduce your cost to them, they'll do it.

Removal of choice... (1)

Omeger (939765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349117)

Wouldn't the OSS and Mac people be against this because they're supposedly for CHOOSING alternatives to Windows and not FORCING people to change (unless you count Apple's weird advert campaign to get peopel to "change" to OSX).

While I don't agree (1)

sallymetharry (941740) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349122)

I rather see this coming from people that know and are actually involved in the telecomunications industry, instead of being imposed by some clueless senetors that barely know what the Internet is.

Right to run an insecure PC? (1, Redundant)

Caspian (99221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349124)

As Libertarian types are fond of pointing out, "your rights end where my rights begin". By definition, your "rights" cannot involve the unconsented participation of others, nor can your "rights" tread upon mine.

You have every right in the world to run an insecure PC. But as soon as you plug that insecure PC into the Internet and it starts spewing spam and viruses to my computer (and my neighbor's, and my company's, and my ISP's...), you've just crossed a line. You've infringed upon everyone else's right to not pay bandwidth fees for your viruses and spam, and you've also infringed upon everyone else's right to not spend their time dealing with viruses sent out by your zombified Winbox.

Saying that one has the "right" to run an insecure PC on the Internet essentially boils down to saying that one has the "right" to spam and send viruses willy-nilly. Since that, of course, is what insecure PCs end up doing!

Re:Right to run an insecure PC? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349232)

See, this is why I hate liberals...

Re: Right to run an insecure PC? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349249)

> You have every right in the world to run an insecure PC. But as soon as you plug that insecure PC into the Internet and it starts spewing spam and viruses to my computer (and my neighbor's, and my company's, and my ISP's...), you've just crossed a line. You've infringed upon everyone else's right to not pay bandwidth fees for your viruses and spam

If ISPs could charge individuals for the bandwidth they use, those who own spew hosts would either fix them or drop off the net due to inability to afford the fees.

> and you've also infringed upon everyone else's right to not spend their time dealing with viruses sent out by your zombified Winbox.

Huh? Against everybody else's right to run an insecure machine???

Merry Xmas Linksys, Netgear, And Friends !! (1)

frohsinn (863955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349129)

It'd just force everyone to replace the firewall they already have with one that is capable of running the ISP's agent. Nice multibillion dollar, perpetual entitlement from the network Santa Claus.

"ISP" == Inherent Stupidity of People (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349132)

Look, make a mesh. Decentralise. No-one should consider themselves part of the internet unless they've got at least 3 independent paths to neighbours with at least 3 independent paths etc.

ISPs, Telcos, are symptoms of antiquated centralist thinking.

This is the real world. (3, Interesting)

Caspian (99221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349139)

In the real world, restrictions like this will be used to keep people from running Linux (or *BSD, or anything but Windows).

Mod me down, but you know it's true. They'll say that GNU/Linux systems are not "trusted" (as in "Trusted Computing"), and that will be that. Only niche geek-friendly ISPs like Speakeasy will continue welcome *nix users.

Linux ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349145)

So what happens if you run Linux? How would they check? It cannot happen; any *nix like OS is screwed if this comes to fruition.

And no, I don't think that this will happen.

Policy vs Mechanism (1)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349152)

I would hope that the ISP would set the policy, and not mandate mechanisms.

E.g. don't send spam, but run whatever you want to run.

In any case, I would think that if you want to run stuff badly enough, you'll find a way to spoof.

Until we get DRM, trusted boot and Palladium-like technologies everywhere --- then you won't be able to spoof your OS or software.

datacenter (1)

jchawk (127686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349155)

"And he says this isn't just about the impracticability of demanding that data centers patch everything on the second Tuesday of the month."

But yet that's what they demand... And we're stuck doing it every Tuesday night in a maintance window between mid-night and six am...

In retrospect we have to patch our FreeBSD boxen like 2 times a year.

The two sides of this issue: (5, Insightful)

crazyphilman (609923) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349166)

Side #1: Microsoft is terrified of this because it will set a precedent whereby an ISP will be able to cut people off based on the ISP's view of their software configuration. So, ISPs will be able to threaten to kick Microsoft in the balls unless they get favorable treatment (RE: cheaper prices), and home users will be able to demand that tainted machines get knocked off the web until they're fixed (which will mostly affect MICROSOFT). Microsoft, God bless 'em, is naturally against the whole thing.

Side #2: The TRUE result of this will be that lazy ISPs (read: most ISPs) will just lock out anything that doesn't match some piece of shit filter they put in place. So, a fully patched Microsoft or Apple box will probably be able to connect, but my Slackware box will NOT. And when I call tech support, the retard who takes my call will say "SlackWHAT? You can't run that on our network, for, uh... SECURITY reasons. Why don'cha run Winders like everyone else?" And I will be forced to resort to cruel, mocking language, upsetting his supervisor and getting me absolutely NOWHERE.

So, naturally, I'm against this bullshit too. ;)

Right to an unsecure PC? (1)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349167)

Laptop and home users also have the right to run an insecure PC.

When you sign on with most of these services, you agree to some sort Terms of Service, which usually include "I will not hack other people". It seems that they could just fall back on having snort hanging around, and if it recognizes a significant amount of trips from a single machine, that it throttles the upload/blocks the port/etc. That would take care of most services.

The owner of the account should be contacted regarding this, and if they can't get in touch with them for some period of time, you block all traffic from them. (Which should get a call pretty quickly)

Now, the ISPs need to have a very simple page describing what they are blocking and how to not get blocked. ie, get patched, leave your firewall on, etc... you follow these you're good to go... you don't follow these, you put yourself at risk of violationg your TOS

I'm normally against these sorts of things, but if it can be kept transparent, I'm not sure I see a problem.

THE INTERNET IS NOT SECURE (2, Informative)

blair1q (305137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349169)

I've said it before, I'm saying it now, I'll say it every time someone tries to enforce security on The Internet:

THE INTERNET IS NOT SECURE

By connecting to it you must expect to be probed, attacked, sniffed, decrypted, spammed, hacked, and denied service. In order to avoid these things either you must not connect to it, or you must take measures that degrade its performance in order to eliminate some of these possibilities. But you will never make it secure, because it is not secure.

If you want a secure network, you will have to start over from scratch.

Re:THE INTERNET IS NOT SECURE (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349244)

By connecting to it you must expect to be probed, attacked, sniffed, decrypted, spammed, hacked, and denied service.

it's just like being abducted by aliens, thrown to their dogs while being showered with pamphlets and held in their jail... for more probing.

Capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349181)

Don't these guys compete with each other? This is capitalism for godness sakes!! Shouldn't competition be able to keep ISPs from neglecting your rights? If they all do it, would it be possible to change that?

How can you be your own ISP? All you need is to be able to connect to real internet, with speed for enough people. Could a community of geeks pool money together to get their own? Or mabey start your own ISP company?

I don't know....wish someone was proactive.

the have invaded! (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349187)

i for one, welcome our new internet overlords.

blah blah blah (4, Insightful)

Transcendent (204992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349196)

...blah blah blah, of course Microsoft is against it blah blah blah...

But this IS a horrible practice? Restricting people's internet access based on their computer? Does anyone see what is wrong with this or are you all going to complain about MS?

And people wonder... (1)

wesmills (18791) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349212)

...why I pay Speakeasy [speakeasy.net] almost $100 per month for an Internet connection. It's exactly for stuff like this. Speakeasy has made an entire business around giving people a completely open pipe with no restrictions, and it's the ISPs like this that I will patronize. Sure, $14.95 as a teaser rate sounds wonderful, but not to me when I consider the PPPoE travesty, port blocking, draconian ToS and the returning attitude of "we're the phone company; we don't have to care."

IE (1)

ottffssent (18387) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349213)

Well, Microsoft is no doubt concerned about ISPs who include branded browsers as part of their install kit restricting or blocking access to the 'net from IE (which is 98% insecure [scanit.be] ). A wholesale switch to either Moz or Opera isn't the answer (but abandoning IE can't hurt), but both could use somewhat increased market share. A 3-way race with no eventual winner is probably the best possible outcome.

Government - approved internet terminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349220)

...Is the one argument that prior post seem to be hitting around.

The internet is cool, popular, necessary for communication, and all of those things. (2^99999999 more words to confirm this statement can be found by googling) There also is plenty of paranoia regarding spyware, the identity of persons / bots listening to your ports, when why, et cetera. There have been in the past, wide paranoia about hidden microphones that were "required" to be installed in the PC.

There are plenty of ISPs that are ready, willing, and able, to turn over your communication habits to any requesting government agency, patriot act or USA Act or not. What is to stop these ISPs to require that you install a software / hardware combination that is, (though sold as a firewall / antivirus package) in effect, a local "carnivore"?

apropos: in order to prove I wasn't a script, I had to type the word "prophecy" in the text verification box.

What would be grounds for blocking a customer's PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349230)

Virus/trojan/spyware infected pc? i doubt they'd care
Using an OS not supported by the ISP? same
Running a website that criticizes the ISP? definately
Running IRC? nah
Running a webserver that contains unpopular political views? possibly
Getting any kind of legal threat regarding a customers pc? sure, who needs proof anyway
Using NAT? yes if they thought you might get a bigger connection otherwise
Running p2p software? maybe
Running any kind of server that might be in competition with the ISP? yup
Using VOIP from another company? now we're getting somewhere

Its probably more about restricting services to protect their income than protecting their customers or any other bullshit they claim is the reason.

Danger to Linux users? (2, Insightful)

srk (49331) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349247)

This idea can be a potential danger to Linux users. Yes, Linux is much less susceptible to malware than Windows. However, Windows will be always defended by Microsoft but there is no body to protect Linux users. Any minor public doubt in Linux safety for ISPs has a chance to result in a major action to ban access from Linux boxes.

More than just rights at stake here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349250)

Google: A Patriot's Letter

Client-side official spyware (4, Insightful)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349272)

Vendors call them by different names, but all use an agent on the client to verify its configuration. If the agent reports software (or in more advanced versions, hardware) that isn't on a white list, access is denied.

Access control agents have two big practical problems on a private network, both of which are more serious on the wider Internet: Not all clients can run the agents, and new programs not yet certified malware-free won't be on the white list. Worse, ISPs might base their lists on commercial considerations. So while custom enterprise applications are locked out, Sony's rootkit gets through.

Okay, it's not quite spyware, but it does raise a few questions, doesn't it? The above misses a few like: (a) What if you develop software? (Software which isn't on anyone's list?) (b) And what's this about hardware? Are haxors leaving trojan hardware on people's doorsteps now? (Hmm...) (c) Lastly, I'm not going to open my security to let their untrusted agent software phone home to tell my ISP that everything is okay. Sorry. If need be, I'll haul out an old box to run their agent to tell that that everything is fine--but it'll be isolated as much as possible from everything else on my LAN.

really retro style (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349274)

screw it all... im going back to smoke signals.

Stupid ISP's will ban Linux (1)

Theovon (109752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349277)

What's bound to happen is some morons at an ISP will declare that you can't run a computer unless you run their prescribed antivirus and firewall software. Since Linux and Mac users can't run it, they'll be disqualified.

Regulations will make it so. (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14349311)

Just like the safety/efficiency regulations for automobiles, computers will fall into the same category over time.

Accept it and find another way to keep it free.

The great debate over who's rights are greater: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14349320)

"Laptop and home users also have the right to run an insecure PC."

Which raises a great philosophical question, one which has raged since the beginnings of civilization: Where do you draw the line between personal freedom and rights versus the rights and good of the whole of the people?

For example- I'm a car nut and I would LOVE it if I could drive whatever I feel like welding together!! But in my state, and most of the US, cars have to be inspected and insured. It's a filter for what we as a society allow to be on the network of roads and highways. (makes for safer but boring driving...)
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