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The Internet and Acceptable Use Policies
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2008 13:14:24 -0400

BTW the NLR research network is intentionally AUP free not like .... djf

Begin forwarded message:

From: Lauren Weinstein <lauren () vortex com>
Date: September 7, 2008 12:47:53 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Cc: lauren () vortex com
Subject: The Internet and Acceptable Use Policies


The concept of *arbitrary* Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs) for
network users can often be defended in completely private, internal
operating environments (and of course in specific government
contexts).  However, once these networks move out into the public
space in terms of users -- particularly in commercial operating modes
and taking on increasingly "can't get along without them" public
infrastructural roles -- arbitrary, capricious, anti-competitive, or
purely profit-oriented AUPs can no longer be tolerated.

I well remember the original ARPANET AUP and some of its rather
amusing fallout.  Two of the very earliest ARPANET mailing lists were
a "Wine Tasting" discussion list and a "Mary Hartman" list (this was
all before the first creation of a mailing list digest -- as a
"stopgap" measure for SF-LOVERS later on).  All of these lists
(particularly the former two) were tiny by modern standards.  The
Wine Tasting list got written up in "Datamation" magazine, and ARPA
sent a Colonel around to remind everyone about the AUP.

Yet here's the rub that's particularly of note today.  All sorts of
things were going on in those early ARPANET days that technically
violated the AUP, including some that would have caused considerably
more public outcry if known at the time than a Wine Tasting list.
Yet the amount of important development that was driven in e-mail and
database systems, network communications systems, and many other
areas to support those "forbidden" applications by enthusiastic
users was huge.  If everyone had stuck tightly to the AUP I'm
convinced that the negative impact on ARPANET and Internet
development would have been enormous.

ISPs imposing their own arbitrary AUPs, bandwidth caps, application
filters and controls will likely have a similar stultifying effect.
Not only are current applications that society now increasingly
depends on at risk, but all manner of new Internet services,
applications, and firms may be stillborn as a result.

This is not to say that there shouldn't be policies regarding use of
the Internet.  But I am saying that we have passed the time when
such important decisions can be accepted when they're made in
arbitrary manners without public scrutiny and without appropriate
regulatory oversight.

Lauren Weinstein
lauren () vortex com or lauren () pfir org
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
Co-Founder, PFIR
  - People For Internet Responsibility - http://www.pfir.org
Co-Founder, NNSquad
  - Network Neutrality Squad - http://www.nnsquad.org
Founder, PRIVACY Forum - http://www.vortex.com
Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com

- - -

As the author of the first  formal AUP, at least for the NSF networks,
I can assure you they were strong  and existed. Also Darpa had similar
works. The AUP evolved slowly to face reality  djf

Begin forwarded message:

From: Brett Glass <brett () lariat net>
Date: September 7, 2008 10:37:51 AM EDT
To: dave () farber net, "ip" <ip () v2 listbox com>
Subject: Re: [IP] Re:   Breaking: Comcast Challenges FCC Order on Net
Management Practices


Lest we forget, AUPs have been enforced since the beginnings of the
I remember having to read and follow Stanford's AUP in 1983, and
as a few users who violated it were denied computing and/or network

It's important to remember that the Internet is a "network of networks,"
with the owner of each of the networks maintaining administrative
of his or her "piece" of it. This is one of the key architectural
which distinguishes the Internet from the public switched telephone
(PSTN), which was originally a heavily regulated monopoly under

--Brett Glass

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