More Sidgemore on per-bit pricing

Rubens Kuhl Jr. rkj at
Sun Dec 6 00:51:30 UTC 1998

> However, as long as we permit people to source traffic without cost and do
> so through proxies, this problem will exist.
> This is the primary argument AGAINST anonyminity on the Internet.  Your
> activities, anonymous or not, are not without cost to others.  The entire
> premise that you have a right to "anonymous speech" is based upon the fact
> that you do not directly harm others economically or otherwise be
> exercising it.
> However, on the Internet, this is simply not true.  "Recipient pays"
> is a part of ALL Internet service, and always has been in one fashion
> or another - even when the majority of traffic was moved via modems
> in the 1980s and early 90s.
> Note that this is VERY different from the phone or postal service
> networks, both of which are nearly 100% SENDER pays.  The exception is
> cellular service, and there it is a CRIMINAL ACT to call a cellular
> phone on an "unsolicited" basis - that is, to cost-shift where there
> is a reasonable probability that the cost is unwanted.  Further all
> phone traffic is authenticated and can be traced to the source;
> "spoofed traffic" (beyond activity which is per-se criminal such as
> cloned cellular phones) doesn't exist.
> If all transmissions had to be identifyable as to their source, and
> chargeback capability was included (ie: if you spam me, I can charge
> the transmission back to you - likewise if you ping-flood me) then
> the problem would go away.  But doing this requires strong authentication
> and non-denyability of the transmission itself, which flies in the face
> of those who scream for the ability to source anonymous traffic of one
> form or another.
> That engineering standards have not already stabilized to prohibit
> sourcing of traffic with spoofed source addresses, enforced by the
> providers themselves, is very much a telling factor here.
> There wouldn't BE a DOS problem on the Internet via-a-vis ping floods,
> SYN floods, etc. if the provider community refused to permit a connection
> to be made without airtight packet source filters which prohibited the
> transmission of data with unauthorized source addresses.
> Add to that a "chargeback" mechanism (that is, refutation of authorization
> for the transmission) and per-bit pricing can work.
> Absent BOTH of those on a worldwide basis and I could never justify
> recommending to anyone that they accept such a pricing system.

Those price mechanisms are possible on connection-oriented networks, such as
X.25 and ATM networks.
On connection-less networks such as IP networks, the source will always have
the right to send traffic; packet filtering and traffic shaping can cut some
of the possibly unwanted traffic, but not all of them.

RUbens Kuhl Jr.

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