Weekend Gedankenexperiment - The Kill Switch

Charles N Wyble charles at knownelement.com
Fri Feb 4 11:13:09 CST 2011


On 2/3/2011 7:43 PM, Jay Ashworth wrote:
> An armed FBI special agent shows up at your facility and tells your ranking
> manager to "shut down the Internet".

Let's look at this from a different perspective. What level of 
impairment would the feds face if they ordered wide spread
net shut downs.  Do the feds have a big enough network of their own, 
that they can continue to
operate without the commercial nets being up?  I mean they would need to 
declare martial law and coordinate enforcement
activities. Can they do this all via satellite networks?

Also what's to stop the operations staff from saying "no way jose" and 
walking out?


Ok. Let's say they aren't dependent on the net being up. What would the 
scenario look like?

Presumably this would be at a major IX, colo etc? Like say One Wilshire 
or something?
They would show up with several agents, and probably some tech folks. 
One presumes they would have
an injunction or some other legal authority to order you to terminate 
connectivity. This would have to
be spelled out to the letter (terminate all IX traffic, drop all 
external sessions, take down core routers
etc).



> What do you do when you get home to put it back on the air

Put what back on the air? Regional connectivity to let people coordinate 
a revolution? (I'm
dead serious by the way. If things have gotten to the point where the 
feds are shutting down
the net, it's time to follow our founding code:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, 
it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it

Depending on the geography, one could establish some long distance links 
via 802.11/3.65ghz. Hopefully that gear is
already on stand by.


>   -- let's say email
> as a base service, since it is -- do you have the gear laying around, and how
> long would it take?

Well I'm a huge data ownership guy and have been preaching to folks the 
importance of self hosting.
Lots of details are on my wiki at 
http://wiki.knownelement.com/index.php/Data_Ownership
So yes, I have the gear in service already doing my hosting. I also run 
a small neighborhood WISP.
I only offer net access via that WISP, but it would be trivial to stand 
up a neighborhood
xmpp/irc/mail/www server in that VLAN. Maybe I should do that now. Get 
people using it
before hand, so it's what they naturally turn to in time of 
distress/disaster. Hmmm....

> Do you have out-of-band communications (let's say phone numbers) for enough
> remote contacts?

How much phone service would still work, if the feds hit all the major 
IX points and terminate
connectivity? I seem to recall much discussion about the all IP back 
bone of the various large
carriers (Qwest/ATT).  I guess calls in the same CO and maybe between 
regional CO's might work.

Think of this from a disaster preparedness perspective (ie a major 
earthquake or terrorist attack significantly damages One
Wilshire and/or various  IXes in the bay area).  AT&T has a very large 
CO right next to One Wilshire, with something like 1.5
million  lines terminated in the building. It wouldn't take that much 
work for the FBI to shut those places down if they
felt a significant need to.


Interesting thought exercise. Let's keep the conversation going guys/gals!



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