1984: We’re Just Behind Schedule

Who ever would have imagined that the same IETF which, in the RAVEN process, fought off a proposal to make the Internet wiretap standards compliant, would turn around only a few short years later and adopt the innocously titled RFC3751: Omniscience Protocol Requirements. S. Bradner:

There have been a number of legislative initiatives in the U.S. and elsewhere over the past few years to use the Internet to actively interfere with allegedly illegal activities of Internet users. This memo proposes a number of requirements for a new protocol, the Omniscience Protocol, that could be used to enable such efforts.

In RFC 3751, issued this very day, we have nothing less than a standard that would determine, as the author so crudely puts it, who is a “bad guy” on the Internet, thus enabling those so labeled to be targeted for the treatment proposed by none other than Senator Hatch (“destroying their machines”). Sounds like a compensible Taking to me…at least so long as the parties doing it can be shown to be state actors (not always simple these days).

And it gets worse: the programs defined by this standard will run invisibily in the background, and will be secretly downloaded to all machines that touch the Internet. And they will need to know an awful lot about you to work.

Of course, compliant programs will have to be optimzed for local law, creating a lot of work for tech-savvy lawyers, so this isn't all bad.

Suggestions for relevant futher reading:

  • RFC 3092, Etymology of 'Foo' D. Eastlake 3rd, C. Manros, E. Raymond. April-01-2001. (Status: INFORMATIONAL)
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