[Politicas] Abstract of proposed Internet Draft for Best Current Practice (please comment)
Dr. Jeffrey Race
jrace at attglobal.net
Sun Mar 2 09:01:15 BRT 2003
Interested parties are invited to provide comments to correct, elaborate
or perfect my proposal, abstracted below. I'd also welcome suggestions
for other fora in which to post requests for comments. I plan to offer as
Internet Draft when comments are all in.
Comments or objections to the effect "This is going to be burdensome on
$spam_enabler" are superfluous because such is the precise intention of
the proposed Practice: to move the burden from victims to polluters and
Thanks for all help.
BEST CURRENT PRACTICE FOR DUTY OF CARE OF INTERNET RESOURCES
Pre-release version 1.32 Draft date: February 28, 2003
Drafted by Jeffrey Race <jrace[at]attglobal.net>
Current draft version (4,000 words) available at
This document defines a Best Current Practice to minimize pollution of
the Internet by various types of abuse, using the community's own
measures in the absence of effective legal, regulatory and technical
The Internet's design and management were predicated on voluntary
cooperation, self-imposed good behavior, and the non-profit
motivational structure of participants extant at its inception.
Current experience of constantly rising pollution invalidates these
formative assumptions and demands prompt and effective curative
Present anti-pollution measures fall under four generic headings:
(1) self-directed good behavior; (2) legal sanctions (3) passive
ingress-control measures (principally filtering) and (4) active
egress-control measures (principally blocklisting) intended to
modify the behavior of polluters and enablers. The first three have
definitively failed and will continue to fail for reasons specified in
the document. The fourth is generally completely effective in warding
off ingress of pollution and frequently results in reforming abuse
enablers, but it has two major shortcomings: limited uptake due to fear
of loss of competitive market position by early adopters, and sustained
transmission outages ("collateral damage").
In view of the failure of (1), (2) and (3) and the effectiveness despite
shortcomings of (4), the document proposes to apply to the Internet the
same rules society applies to all other resources to deter antisocial
behavior viz. proper behavior requires clear published standards,
standards entail accountability, accountability entails multiple modes
of enforceability, and enforceability entails traceability. The
document details procedures and implementing mechanisms of behavior
modification, using the only proven effective method: withdrawal
of internet resources of identity and connectivity. Numerous tests have
shown this sanction to work equally well against both the wilful and the
negligent to halt pollution immediately, where prior efforts at polite
persuasion to follow best practice were ignored with impunity.
The proposal thus innovates in three respects to halt Internet pollution:
(1) It makes explicit that every custodian of internet resources is
responsible for preventing emission of pollution
(2) Adopting a simultaneous universal practice of withdrawal of
internet resources means that no provider will suffer competitive
disadvantage. The Practice legitimates withdrawal of internet
resources as the only method proven effective in halting abuse.
(3) The burden of pollution now falls on the polluter and his enabler
rather than on the victim, so conforming to the basic principle
used everywhere else in society to maintain justice and good order.
Well-managed, ethical members of the internet industry already conduct
their businesses, successfully and profitably, according to the
principles specified in the Practice. The proposed Practice simply aims
to raise the entire industry to the level of today's best players.
The Practice is intended to apply at every level of allocation,
registration and usage of internet resources including but not limited
to RIRs, LIRs, ISPs, webhosting firms, backbone connectivity providers,
domain name registrars, and end-users. It defines internet resources,
unsolicited bulk electronic messaging, and abuse, and specifies
procedures progressively to penalize abuse after a period of public
In effect, the proposal implements the "user pays" paradigm in a
completely new and clever way, without requiring any complicated
metering technology all proposals for which have failed on issues of
complexity, backward compatibility, absence of adequate hardware,
and the need for universal adoption to be effective at all.
The document embodies the only set of measures now on offer which will
quickly end the spam menace internationally sans new legislation, with
but small and transitory disruption, by abandoning the discredited
"victim pays" model. Adoption will not only be cost-free for the Internet
as a whole but will substantially reduce the current economic burden of
abuse. It does this by transferring the economic burden from abuse
victims to the polluters and their enablers, which is fair and feasible,
and indeed the system used everywhere else in society.
As such the anticipated vigorous objections to adoption from some
parties may be seen in advance as self-serving attempts to perpetuate
the discredited "victim pays" model by those now profiting from an
Environmental Polluter business model or by their accessories and
Finally, RFCs and Practices are often considered by Courts in
adjudicating the existence or extent of tortious conduct. Therefore
looking to the longer term, adoption of this Practice may be expected
to bring a welcome rule of law to the Internet.
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