White House to Propose System for Wide Monitoring of Internet (fwd)

Wayne E. Bouchard web at typo.org
Fri Dec 20 18:31:39 UTC 2002

On Fri, Dec 20, 2002 at 11:12:43AM -0500, David Lesher wrote:
> [This just jumped into the operational arena. Are you prepared
> with the router port for John Poindexter's vacuum? What changes
> will you need to make? What will they cost? Who will pay?]
> <http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/20/technology/20MONI.html?pagewanted=print&position=top> 
> December 20, 2002
> White House to Propose System for Wide Monitoring of Internet
> The Bush administration is planning to propose requiring Internet
> service providers to help build a centralized system to enable
> broad monitoring of the Internet and, potentially, surveillance
> of its users.
> The proposal is part of a final version of a report, "The National
> Strategy to Secure Cyberspace," set for release early next year,
> according to several people who have been briefed on the report. It
> is a component of the effort to increase national security after
> the Sept. 11 attacks.
> The President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board is
> preparing the report, and it is intended to create public and
> private cooperation to regulate and defend the national computer
> networks, not only from everyday hazards like viruses but also
> from terrorist attack. Ultimately the report is intended to provide
> an Internet strategy for the new Department of Homeland Security.
> ..............................

Heard about this on the news this morning and you know, I am so not
worried about it.

IMO, it's so completely unfeasable at every level as to be actually

So they want us to monitor our customers. Okay, define that. You mean
you want me to snarf packets off a fully loaded OC-48 link and analyze
them in real time? No? You mean you just want it at the customer
boundries? So now I have to hook this up to each of perhaps 250
routers? Are you going to pay for this? No? You mean you consider it a
"cost of doing business." So who makes this gear? Thats something that
the router vendors have to do and integrate them into their systems?
And who is going to pay for that cost? "Cost of doing business" again,
eh? And naturally, those costs get passed onto us, the providers and
we pass them along to the customers. What about your cries for
"affordable internet" for the "underprivileged"? Okay, back to the
technical questions... You want me to track the hack-of-the-day and
track it back to its source despite the fact that it takes no small
amount of effort to correlate this stuff? You say you want coppies of
all email meeting certain criteria? You say you want me to keep track
of each web page users visit to watch for patterns? Now you want to
know what they're buying online too? Oh, and while you're at it, you
say you also want to use this convenient access to look into other
areas of potentially criminal activity?

Oh, REALLY? Just keeping track of the gigabytes of data per hour even
a moderately sized ISP can generate poses its own technical
challenge. (And sifting through that borders on impossible.) Not to
mention deploying systems all over the U.S., maintaining those
systems, altering various other systems to permit their use, and
maintaining an open pipeline to Big Brother (probably several) at our
own expense, yadda, yadda, yadda.

The whole thing is just not practical if, indeed, it's even
possible. But it is good for a laugh.


Wayne Bouchard
web at typo.org
Network Engineer

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