A large group of exceptionally clueless souls got together recently and decided to bare their ignorance to the world, just in case anyone was in doubt. They engaged in the one of the great, time-honored practices of puffed-up egos everywhere and wrote an ersatz piece of “model legislation” dictating that anyone who doesn’t understand “The Internet” as they do is bad and wrong and can’t call his product “The Internet”.
Gosh, what would lawmakers do without such expert advice? Here’s their deep insight:
SEC. 3. DECEPTIVE PRACTICES IN PROVIDING INTERNET ACCESS.
(1) Definitions.- As used in this Section:
(A) Internet.- The term “Internet” means the worldwide, publicly accessible system of interconnected computer networks that transmit data by packet switching using the standard Internet Protocol (IP), some characteristics of which include:
i) Transmissions between users who hold globally reachable addresses, and which transmissions are broken down into smaller segments referred to as “packets” comprised of a small portion of information useful to the users at each transmission’s endpoints, and a small set of prefixed data describing the source and destination of each transmission and how the packet is to be treated;
ii) routers that transmit these packets to various other routers on a best efforts basis, changing routers freely as a means of managing network flow; and
iii) said routers transmit packets independently of each other and independently of the particular application in use, in accordance with globally defined protocol requirements and recommendations.
(B) Internet access.- The term “Internet access” means a service that enables users to transmit and receive transmissions of data using the Internet protocol in a manner that is agnostic to the nature, source or destination of the transmission of any packet. Such IP transmissions may include information, text, sounds, images and other content such as messaging and electronic mail.
(2) Any person engaged in interstate commerce that charges a fee for the provision of Internet access must in fact provide access to the Internet in accord with the above definition, regardless whether additional proprietary content, information or other services are also provided as part of a package of services offered to consumers. [emphasis added for laughs]
That’s heavy, isn’t it? There are only about five blatant falsehoods and two obvious contradictions in it.
1. They act like the Internet is a network, and not simply a means of interconnecting networks. The Internet doesn’t actually care what you do on your private network, it only sees the things you pass to other networks.
2. They ignore the structure of the IP header, which includes a TOS field with several levels of priority.
3. They don’t understand the fact that routing depends on commercial contracts, the enforcement of which depends on examination of addresses and labels.
According to this exercise in intellectual masturbation there is no Internet today.
Some of the geniuses involved are:
Susan Crawford, Associate Professor of Law, Cardozo Law School (thinks the Internet is a telegraph)
Bob Frankston, Telecommunications Analyst and Visionary (actually, he’s the Visicalc guy)
David S. Isenberg, Ph.D., Founder & CEO, isen.com, LLC (fired from the phone company and mad about it)
Kevin Marks, mediAgora (has a very thick English accent but no knowledge of network architecture)
Andy Oram, Editor, O’Reilly Media (O’Reilly)
David P. Reed, contributor to original Internet Protocol design (was in the same room with David Clark 30 years ago, on a downhill slide since)
Clay Shirky, Interactive Telecommunications Program, New York University (Journalist)
Siva Vaidhyanathan, Department of Culture and Communication, New York University (wannabe Lessig)
Esme Vos, Founder, Muniwireless (lawyer)
David Weinberger, Fellow, Harvard Berkman Center (former philosophy professor)
Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder of Apple Computer, Inc., Member, National Academy of Engineers (and recently a high school Spanish teacher)
There are some others I’ve never heard of, with titles like “Librarian” and “TV Documentary Producer.”
So you’ve been warned.