Re: [rumori] Re: Burned?

From: Jim Carrico (
Date: Tue Apr 30 2002 - 08:47:39 PDT

I think steev's concern is based on what would have to happen in
order for your scheme to be implemented. In order to "count" the
number of times a given digital object has been transferred, a couple
of basic changes would have to made in the way the internet works.
have you read Lessig's "Code"? If so you are familiar with the
concept of 'intelligence at the edges' - ie. the network itself is
'stupid' - it only knows about the addressing information attached to
each packet, and nothing about what's inside it, or what it's for -
it *fundamentally* doesn't care if it's a bit of an email, a baby
picture, an mp3, or a bootleg video of michael eisner in drag. In
order to 'meter' this traffic in any way other than as an
undifferentiated mass, two things have to happen. 1. there would need
to be some kind of (presumably central) registry for identifying
'countable' objects, along with a scheme of 'unique identifiers' -
which would have to be associated with *every packet* which belongs
to a particular object. 2. every router would have to be capable of
reading this information and reporting to the central agency - in
other words, we would need to introduce 'intelligence' where there
currently is none. in order to avoid spoofing or cloaking of packets
(ie. faking the address and/or UID info), routers would have to be
capable of looking inside each packet and making a 'best guess' as to
what they contain. Needless to say encrypted packets would have to be
discouraged or banned outright.

Note: Lessig's argument is that the 'stupidity' of the network is
exactly what makes it a level and open field for innovation - the
original designers had the modesty and wisdom to understand that they
had no idea what the network would be used for. Steev's point is that
corporations/governments have been maneuvering for this level of
control for some time now, which would, with minor changes, give them
the ability to know absolutely and precisely every detail of
information interchange that takes place - who sends what to whom,
how often, where potentially troublesome ideas originate and how they
spread. Identifying the source and destination of packets is the easy
part - that's the network we already have. But there is currently no
standardised or widely deployed system for 'packet sniffing' on the
scale that would be required - for one thing it would add enormously
to the cost of routing traffic, which means ISPs will only go for it
if they are forced to by law.

Recall the way that the RIAA/MPAA always justify their greed on
behalf of 'helping creators'. Your scheme would necessarily give an
enormous amount of control over the public internet to agencies that
are salivating over precisely this type of control. And once we
give it to them we can never go back...

-Jim C.

>Sure Steev, good ideas are sometimes dangerous, but they're also better
>bets than bad ideas which are also dangerous. Nothing is going to stop
>these very same fears of yours (and mine) from being implemented in the
>present Internet, and in fact that is exactly what is being planned by many
>private interests. So I opt for Gov. oversight in a good idea than no
>public oversight in a bad one.
>Do you object to number recall on your telephone? There are plenty of
>useful and desirable reasons to monitor media traffic without the
>participant's identities being archived anywhere. I'm suggesting we do that
>BY LAW instead of leaving it all up to the selfish and uncontrolable whims
>of private commerce, who will do it for sure under the guise of "marketing
>data" eventually.
>>on Sat, 27 Apr 2002 Don Joyce told me:
>>->My idea has nothing to do with copy protection - there would be
>>->none on-line because all Net content could be free for the
>>->taking. Copying content there would become ENCOURAGED(!)
>>->because the more you are copied, the more you will be paid.
>>->It's a complete reversal of the status quo, eliminating the
>>->entire concept of digital "crime" and effectively removing the
> >->entire concept of copyright enforcement from on-line
>>->activities. As for tracking, I see only a little ugh, not a big
>>->or even important one, because it would ONLY read what you are
>>->doing in terms of content transferrance, NOT that it is you
>>->doing it or why. Neither would it stop you from doing whatever
>>->you want to do, and it
>>that's great if you could get it to happen exactly that way. i'm
>>just saying, it would only take a little bit more to *add*
>>features to the system that would invade privacy and prohibit
>>certain behaviors. so while you're pushing for that, the
>>corporations that want more are pretending to help you and work
>>with you and then at the last minute they're pushing through
>>their big-brother add-ons. it's just too dangerous, IMHO.
>>To be clear: you're talking about a great theory, i agree, but
>>I'm talking about what would (or might) happen if it really
>>turned into public policy. scary. I'd rather just not go there. I
>>don't want my computer or my walkman or my TV sending any
>>information to anything anywhere, for any reason, unless i tell
>>it to.
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