Web caching liability

nbastin at mail-2.wtic.net nbastin at mail-2.wtic.net
Sun Jan 4 07:46:16 UTC 1998

On Fri, 2 Jan 1998, Turnando Fuad wrote:

> On a related note. 
> I would be curious to the liability issues surrounding the use of web
> proxy servers and Cisco Cache engines. ISP/NSPs traditionally only
> forwards packets or are at least responsible to a certain degree for
> resolution of IP addresses from DNS and routers. The use of these web
> cache technologies allows ISP/NSPs to now *intelligently determine* what
> data the requesting client receives. With web proxy server, at least the
> client is aware(we hope) that data is being cached but the Cisco Cache
> engine makes that process transparent. As we are all well aware, these
> intelligent implementations don't always work. It seems that we are on
> slippery grounds making content decisions for end user requests. And
> doesn't it become even messier with the suggested/proposed web caching at
> the MAEs or at the NSP level? 

I think I would have to categorize this 3 ways.  No 1, caching in
principle and, working properly, is probably not breaching any lines of
legality, even as they stand now, and commen sense tells us that's it's a
good thing (not to say that common sense would help you in, at least an
american, court of law.)  No 2, what AOL has is what I refer to as
'caching negligence'.  They run a cache because it's good idea, but they
run it poorly, and fail to notice or respond when it screws up.  Probably
the only people who have any legal recourse here are the AOL members,
and not web site operators, since it's due to the negligence of AOL that
the service for the members suffers.  No 3 would be 'caching with
prejudice'.  This would get you in a whole lot of trouble if a provider
was manipulating the cache, for any of a number of reasons.  Regulating
the content would probably be ok, but is available in many other products.
Manipultaing the content would get you into a lot of trouble.

Just my $0.02.

Nick Bastin
System Administrator - World Trade Internet Communications

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