p2pnet view Security | P2P:- “Microsoft has a cool new way to ream out surfers”, said p2pnet yesterday, going on, “It suggests they could be taxed for ‘computer health care” as a “a new tactic in the battle against hackers’.”
A hoax? No.
Nor was the thought original.
Costly for most ISPs
Hollywood’s claim, via its Australian FACT puff unit, that Australian ISP iiNet had in effect authorised illegal downloading has been thrown out.
As the New Zealand Herald summed it up, the judge hearing the case “cast doubt on the way that the film and TV companies collected and presented evidence of infringement, recognised that questions about whether an iiNETs customers had infringed copyright or not are complex legal ones, and would be costly for most ISP to determine”, adding:
“Also he questioned whether it is fair to expect an ISP to act as judge and jury on these sort of questions, based just on allegations made by copyright owners.
“The Judge also found that iiNet’s policy of not terminating its customers’ internet connections just because it received complaints from copyright owners was reasonable. So, he said, even if iiNet had authorised the infringements (which he said they didn’t), it would still have had a full defence under the so called “safe harbour” provisions in Australia’s Copyright Act.”
Now, under the headline iiNet trial clears way for ‘zombie’ code, Australia’s Internet Industry Association (IIA) will “press ahead with its new internet service provider security code, with plans to launch a ‘quarantine’ proposal for infected computers by around June this year” says ZDNet.com.au, going on:
“The voluntary code for internet service providers (ISPs) will attempt to address the threat of computers that have been hijacked as part of a spam or phishing operation. That is, computers that have been lured into a botnet operation that has command and control functionality.”
Microsoft Trustworthy Computing executive Scott Charney had suggested ‘sick’ computers, that’s to say PCs infected with computer viruses, should be quarantined with taxpayer’s footing the ‘medical’ bill.
“Maybe markets will make it work” via an “Internet usage tax”, PC World had him saying. One “could say it’s a public safety issue and do it with general taxation,” he opined.
‘Walled garden’ approach
Back in Australia, the IIA is thinking along similar lines, although it doesn’t appear to have addressed the issues of who’d pay the doctor.
“One measure the IIA plans to introduce in its ISP code is that a customers’ connection be ‘quarantined’ if it becomes infected, otherwise known as ‘walled garden’ approach to security”, says ZDnet.
“The technique allows the infection to be remediated in isolation from a botnet’s command centre”, says, continuing:
“But to introduce the measure, the IIA wanted clarity over whether permission to carry this out could be granted by a customer in writing, for example, in an ISP’s customer relationship agreement. The agreement would allow the ISP to use information gleaned from specific accounts for the purpose of identifying whether connected computers were zombie machines, and then take actions to resolve the issue.”
IIA boss Peter Coroneos told ZDNet.com.au the federal court ruling on the iiNet copyright case had settled the issue.”
An ‘entirely different purpose’
Hollywood’s Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) “had wanted iiNet to leverage usage information that it held to corroborate evidence of AFACT’s that certain internet protocol addresses were being used to infringe copyright — an entirely different purpose to what the IIA has in mind”, says the story.
But the court had ruled one of iiNet’s defences, “that privacy clauses in the Telecommunications Act would have prevented it from following AFACT’s requests to match a customer’s network activities to a specific account”, was invalid, it says, quoting Coroneos as stating:
“That was the sticking point. It was the lack of clarity around the ability to use customer information in the way that we had envisaged. But I think it can be covered by consent. In this case it’s for network management, so it’s hardly controversial.
“We wanted to ensure that it was beyond any legal doubt, so that we can encourage members to adopt it when [the code] is complete.
“There wasn’t ever going to be disconnection. It will suggest a range of options — a possible escalation process — but as we see it, the highest measure that it would entail would be a temporary quarantining of PC on the network.”
A draft is expected to be released for industry feedback by the end of March, with a view to publish the actual code by June, adds ZDNet.com.au.
..… and identi.ca
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi
New Zealand Herald – Copyright infringement – inside the legal minefield, March 5, 2010
ZDNet.com.au – iiNet trial clears way for ‘zombie’ code, March 4, 2010
PC World – Microsoft’s Charney Suggests ‘Net Tax to Clean Computers, March 2, 2010
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