Ed Vaizey, the UK Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries has admitted that he is in talks with ISPs to create a voluntary national firewall. Big copyright companies would petition to have sites they don't like added to the secret national blacklist, and the ISPs would decide -- without transparency or judicial review -- whether to silently block Britons from seeing the censored sites.
Peter from the Open Rights Group adds, "Website blocking is a bad idea, especially on a self-regulatory basis where vital judicial oversight is bypassed.
The good news is that he has promised to invite civil society groups to participate in future discussions on the matter.
You can help explain the problems by writing to your MP at ORG's website."
Minister confirms site blocking discussions
(Thanks, PeterBradwell, via Submitterator!)
Canada's cable-based ISPs have filed regulatory comments on their "Usage-Based Billing" model that caps bandwidth use and then charges high rates for overage. In these comments, they admit that the rates they charge have nothing to do with what it costs them to provide their service, and are instead aimed at punishing their customers for "overusing" the Internet. In other words, they've set out to limit the growth of networked based business and new kinds of services, and to prevent Canadians experimentation that enables them to use the Internet to its fullest.
In order to be effective as an economic ITMP, the usage based price component needs to be established so as to discourage use above the set limit. The price should incent use in excess of the limit only to the extent that the consumer would gain significant value from that usage. If the price is set substantially below the consumer's value, it will have little influence on usage. It follows that the price does not necessarily reflect the cost of supplying the network capacity.
Cable Companies on UBB: No Link Between Cost and Price
[Michael Geist's commentary:] In other words, UBB is behaviour based billing, not usage based billing. Notwithstanding the claims about fairness, paying what you use, or costs to the network, overage pricing is not connected to cost or even value - it is designed to price above the real value to stop Canadians from "overusing" the Internet.
(Image: Girlfriend's aunt network diagram, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from pitel's photostream)
XS4ALL, a fantastic, hacker-friendly ISP in the Netherlands, has thrown open all its modem lines for free use by people in Libya when and if their network access gets blocked by the government. DPCosta sez, "It's expensive (international call), but can be very handy in an emergency. The number is +31205350535 and the username/password are xs4all."
XS4all biedt Libiërs internet/XS4ALL provides Internet Libyans
(Thanks, DPCosta, via Submitterator)
TorrentFreak has some nice technical details on Bahnhof, the Swedish ISP that hosts (among other things), Wikileaks. The firm responded to IPRED, Sweden's batshit copyright spying law, by switching off its logs, so that putative copyright holders would not get anything if they tried to use IPRED's easy-peasy sneak-and-peek warrants. Now that Sweden is about to adopt the EU's rules that require all ISPs to begin logging, Bahnhof will insist that all its customers use an anonymizing proxy, so it can no longer tell what its customers are doing. Customers who want to make it easy to be spied upon can opt out for about $8/month.
Since the service will encrypt user traffic, not even Bahnhof will know what their customers are doing online. If the ISP doesn't know about their activities, then there's not much to log. Nothing to log means there's nothing useful to hand over to authorities and anti-piracy companies.
Wikileaks ISP Anonymizes All Customer Traffic To Beat Spying
"Technically, this is a stealth section, we will store all data up to this point of invisibility," adds Karlung, referring to the first-hop connection the customer makes with the company's servers when going online.
"What happens after that is not our responsibility and is outside Bahnhof. So the only thing we are going to store is very little information, which in practice will be irrelevant."
Steve from Openmedia.ca sez, "As result of a recent decision by Canada's telcom regulator, the CRTC, Bell Canada and other big telecom companies can now freely force Internet usage-based billing on YOU and indie ISPs.
This means we're looking at a future where Internet providers will charge per byte, the way they do with smart phones. If we allow this to happen Canadians will have no choice but to pay more for less Internet.
This will crush innovative services, Canada's digital competitiveness, and your wallet.
Canadians should sign the Stop The Meter petition!"
Stop The Meter On Your Internet Use
Botnet and malware creeps are setting up their own ISPs, with their own IP blocks, so that spamfighters don't have anyone to complain to when they run them to ground:
"It's gotten completely out of hand. The bad guys are going to some local registries in Europe and getting massive amounts of IP space and then they just go to a hosting provider and set up their own data centers," said Alex Lanstein, senior security researcher at FireEye, an antimalware and anti-botnet vendor. "It takes one more level out of it: You own your own IP space and you're your own ISP at that point.
Attackers Buying Own Data Centers for Botnets, Spam
"If there's a problem, who are you going to talk to? It's a different ball game now. These guys are buying their own data centers. These LIRs and RIRs aren't going to push back if you say you need a /24 or /16. They're not the Internet police," Lanstein said...
"This is part of the problem that's causing the IPv4 shortage," Lanstein said, referring to the imminent exhaustion of the IPv4 address space, forecasted to occur in less than two years. "They stop paying the bills, the space gets null-routed and then it's a mess. There's clear fraud going on, but who can do something about it?"