Muni network ownership and the Fourth

Scott Brim swb at
Tue Jan 29 17:08:19 UTC 2013

On 01/29/13 12:02, Jay Ashworth allegedly wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Rob McEwen" <rob at>
>> When any government entity desires log files from an ISP, and if that
>> ISP is very protective of their customer's privacy and civil liberties,
>> then the ISP typically ONLY complies with the request if there is a
>> proper court order, granted by a judge, after "probable cause" of some
>> kind of crime has been established, where they are not on a fishing
>> expedition. But, in contrast, if the city government owns the network,
>> it seems like a police detective contacting his fellow city employee
>> in the IT department could easily circumvent the civil liberties
>> protections. Moreover, there is an argument that the ISP being stingy
>> with such data causes them to be "heros" to the public, and they gain
>> DESIRED press and attention when they refuse to comply with such
>> requests without a court order. In contrast, the city's IT staff and
>> the police detective BOTH share the SAME boss's boss's boss. The IT guy
>> won't get a pat on the back for making life difficult for the police
>> department. He'll just silently lose his job eventually, or get passed
>> up for a promotion. The motivation will be on him to PLEASE his fellow
>> city employees, possibly at the expense of our civil liberties.
>> PS - of course, no problems here if the quest to gain information
>> involves a muni network that is only used by city employees.
>> PPS - then again, maybe my "log file example" doesn't apply to the
>> particular implementation that Jay described? Regardless, it DOES
>> apply to various government implementations of broadband service.
> It would, if I were talking about a situation where the muni *was the ISP*,
> supplying layer 3+ services.  I'm not.  I'm purposefully only talking
> about layer 1 service (where the residents contract with an ISP client 
> of the muni, and that client supplies an ONT and takes an optical handoff)
> or, my preferred approach, a layer 2 service (where the muni supplies the 
> ONT and the ISP client of the muni takes an aggregated Ethernet handoff
> (probably 10G fiber, possibly trunked).
> (Actually, my approach if I was building it would be Layer 2 unless the 
> resident wants a Layer 1 connection to {a properly provisioned ISP,some
> other location of theirs}.  Best of both worlds.)
Right, and a public-private partnership model is more common than having
the city actually operate the network at any layer. 

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