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Introductory Remarks from Innovation '08

Here's my opening remarks from Media Access Project's Innovation '08 in Santa Clara this morning. A DVD will be available shortly. This was a lively discussion, with Google and Vuze on the case. Good morning and welcome. My name is Richard Bennett and I'm a network engineer. I've built networking products for 30 years and contributed to a dozen networking standards, including Ethernet and Wi-Fi... I'm opposed to net neutrality regulations because they foreclose some engineering options that we're going to need for the Internet to become the one true general-purpose network that links all of us to each other, connects all our devices to all our information, and makes the world a better place. Let me explain. more»

Comcast is Right, the FCC is Wrong

A fellow named Paul Korzeniowski has written a very good, concise piece on the Comcast action at the FCC for Forbes, Feds And Internet Service Providers Don't Mix. He manages to describe the controversy in clear and unemotional language, which contrasts sharply with the neutralists who constantly use emotionally-charged terms such as "blocking," "Deep Packet Inspection," "forgery," and "monopoly" to describe their discomfort. more»

Whither DNS?

The Domain Name System is often though of as an integral part of the Internet. Without it, how can you ever locate anything? Well, quite easily, thank you very much. DNS is used implicitly for many services, such as web browsing. It also includes explicit extensions for a few applications such as e-mail. (I'm talking here about DNS the system, not DNS the technology that can be re-purposed to things like ENUM.) But the most notable thing about DNS is its receding importance... more»

No Fines for Comcast

Note: this is an update on my earlier story, which incorrectly said that the AP reported that Chairman Martin was seeking to impose "fines" on Comcast. In fact, the story used the word "punish" rather than "fine," and a headline writer at the New York Times added "penalty" to it "F.C.C. Chairman Favors Penalty on Comcast" (I won't quote the story because I'm a blogger and the AP is the AP, so click through.) Much of the initial reaction to the story was obviously colored by the headline. more»

Another Wrong-Headed WSJ Editorial

Those wacky editorial writers at the Wall Street Journal just cannot seem to get the facts straight about network neutrality and what the FCC has done or can do on this matter. In the July 30, 2008 edition (Review and Outlook A14), the Journal vilifies FCC Chairman Kevin Martin for starting along the slippery slope of regulating Internet content. The Journal writers just seem to love hyperbole, and are not beyond ignoring the facts when they do not support a party line. Here are a few examples from the editorial... more»

FCC's Comcast Ruling Inconsistent and Incoherent

After voting on the Comcast order today, Kevin Martin and his Democratic Party colleagues issued press releases telling us how they saved the Internet from Comcast's discriminatory practices, but they've failed to release the actual order they adopted and subsequently re-wrote. Commissioner McDowell wasn't allowed to see the revised order until 7:00 PM the night before the meeting. Rumor has it that high-level spin doctors are still trying to remove all the rough edges, inconsistencies, and factual errors. more»

Comcast's Network Management Practices: A Brief Analysis

Late last week, Comcast officially disclosed to the FCC details of its network management practices which have been a subject of considerable discussion here on CircleID. (My thanks to Threat Level from Wired.com for providing a convenient copy of Comcast's "Attachment A" in which this disclosure is made.) There's not a lot of startling disclosure in this document, but it does provide some useful concrete facts and figures. I'll quote the more interesting parts of the document here, and offer comment on it. more»

Net Neutrality Is As Silly As So-Called Internet Governance

From the perspective of Internet security operations, here is what Net Neutrality means to me. I am not saying these issues aren't important, I am saying they are basically arguing over the colour of bits and self-marginalizing themselves. For a while now I tried not to comment on the Net Neutrality non-issue, much like I didn't comment much on the whole "owning the Internet by owning the Domain Name System" thingie. Here it goes anyway. Two years ago I strongly advocated that consumer ISP's should block some ports, either as incident response measures or as permanent security measures... more»

On Comcast and Net Neutrality: Shouting Fire in a Theater

The Comcast traffic shaping case has stirred up passionate debate. Net neutrality proponents are calling for Comcast's head on a platter. The common argument is that Comcast's policy may stifle innovation and competition. If a service provider is allowed to exercise unregulated discretion in how it treats subscriber traffic, it is a slippery slope toward anti-competitive practices. Net neutrality says keep your hands off. Some are preaching net neutrality as if it were an inalienable human right like freedom of speech... more»

Lights Going Out on the Internet? Not Just Yet

In his article titled, "End of Life Announcement", John Walker (author of the Speak Freely application) makes a few arguments about Network Address Translation (NAT) that are simply not true: "There are powerful forces, including government, large media organisations, and music publishers who think this situation is just fine. In essence, every time a user--they love the word "consumer"--goes behind a NAT box, a site which was formerly a peer to their own sites goes dark, no longer accessible to others on the Internet, while their privileged sites remain. The lights are going out all over the Internet. ...It is irresponsible to encourage people to buy into a technology which will soon cease to work." more»

Why Isn't Mobile Malware More Popular?

This is a followup to Wout de Natris' as usual excellent piece on the Enisa botnet report -- pointing out the current state of mobile malware and asking some questions I started off answering in a comment but it grew to a length where I thought it'd be better off in its own post. Going through previous iterations of Mikko's presentations on mobile malware is a fascinating exercise. more»

FCC and Comcast: Reasonably Vague

So, the FCC will recommend that Comcast be "punished" or receive "sanctions" for its peer-to-peer throttling practice. And the network neutrality debate goes on, as does its ambiguities and vagueness. Even if you hate Comcast and agree with the net neutrality argument and the FCC's decision, one thing Comcast is correct in saying is that "reasonable network management" specified by the FCC in network neutrality policy set in 2005 is vague. Actually, the term "network management" by itself is broad before you even try to interpret what is meant by "reasonable", and it is not exactly correct in its application here... more»

Revision3 and Media Defender

Lots of coverage in the last two days about a Memorial Day weekend attack that took down the servers of Revision3, an Internet video network. This story has a lot of ingredients -- P2P maneuvering, DDoS attack, copyright vs. piracy, talk of laws broken and the FBI investigating. What's the CircleID take? Revision3's descriptionmore»

Is China Preparing to Go its Own Way with its Own Internet Root?

Interesting things happening in China. An article in the English edition of the People's Daily on line is headlined, Decimal network security address begins operation: "China's decimal network security address was officially launched. China has made a fundamental breakthrough in its Internet development; and actual use has been successful. The birth of decimal network technology makes China the only country able to unify domain names, IP addresses and MAC addresses into the text of a metric system..." Someone asked whether this was a rumored IPv9? It appears IPv9 is a project name, not a new protocol. It lumps together several activities, including at least... more»

Study Finds Spammers Use P2P Harvesting to Spam Millions

A recent study conducted by Blue Security reports how Internet users can unknowingly expose their contacts' emails addresses to Spammers while sharing files, music, games and DVDs over Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks. The study has uncovered hundreds of incidents where files containing email addresses were made accessible in P2P networks. more»