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Subject: [IP] more on P2P Fuels Global Bandwidth Binge

  • From: David Farber <>
  • To: Ip <>
  • Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2005 19:34:08 -0400

------ Forwarded Message
From: Bob Frankston <>
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2005 19:25:51 -0400
To: 'Brett Glass' <>, <>
Subject: RE: [IP] more on P2P Fuels Global Bandwidth Binge

I'm trying to figure out how to get past talking past each other. Reading
Lakoff's Moral Politics has been very useful in trying to understand the
difficulty in communicating.

I purposely chose questions and words that maximize the differences in world
views in order to get past the misunderstanding that comes from seeming to
agree. I want to try because these issues recur in many policy discussions.

Before I get into the specific issues I don't want to lose sight of my main
point -- the importance of increasing connectivity rather than doling out
scarcity. That's Tom Friedman's point and the big issue in terms of our
economy and our future. Somehow that issue keeps getting lost in some other
concerns. I want to figure out how we get into arguments about policy issues
that I classify as &quot;morality&quot;. Conversely -- how do we manage to not discuss
the &quot;Flat World&quot; issues that leave Jackson Hole disconnected from the world.

I think you are puzzled about what I'm saying because the issues seem simple
and obvious. Your comment about encryption -- &quot;When the primary use of a
tool is to break the law ...&quot; -- is interesting. I think that the primary
purpose of locking a door in NYC is to reduce crime. Along these lines it's
irresponsible of me to send my financial data across the net unencrypted
and, by extension, why should I post any information for the public to read?

What is the difference between encrypting my communications and &quot;hiding&quot;
information in my house? The US constitution is very explicit in saying that
I do not have the onus of posting my information in the clear. OK, if you
want, the Bill of Rights.

But maybe the issue lies in your comment &quot;our Constitution prohibits vague
laws.&quot; Since I view out language as fundamentally vague and ambiguous I
don't know where to even start. If we add political necessity to this then
laws are vague enough to permit agreement as long as people don't ask too
many questions.

This becomes even more problematic when we get technological change the
redefines the concepts and puts a lie to basic assumptions. If you find bits
on my hard disk that represent a movie how do you know if those bits are
legal or not? Given the previous go-arounds I won't try to elaborate on
different scenarios except to emphasize that you can't tell from the bits.

The law might say the legality depends on the path but technically we know
the bits are independent of the path and completely equivalent so we can
argue that it there's a legal path then the bits are legal. Are you saying
that we should judge the probability of the path? What if you don't know
about the legal path? This is all very vague and fundamentally vague.

I did try to give you an option of telling your users there are capacity
limits without resorting to P2P -- you can say that P2P is likely to exceed
the limit. That's not a violation of end-to-end as such -- you are talking
just about the bits.

Perhaps you are driven by fear of the bad things that may happen while I
focus more on creating opportunity and accepting risk. Too bad we've got
this amazing fixation on airplanes -- they create a model of point
vulnerability that's far out of proportion to reality and divert us from
real threats. And the ultimately threat is economic not point attacks.

-----Original Message-----
From: Brett Glass []
Sent: Sunday, April 24, 2005 17:48
To: Bob Frankston;
Subject: RE: [IP] more on P2P Fuels Global Bandwidth Binge

(I've finally gotten a minute to breathe after a solid week of work on
the wireless network. So, I have a limited amount of time to pick up
this thread.)

At 09:57 PM 4/17/2005, Bob Frankston wrote:
>I'm not trying to be insulting -- just using alternative phrasing to
>emphasize the point.

It's not &quot;alternative phrasing,&quot; Bob. Please look back at your earlier
messages. Not only are you imputing to me views I do not hold, but you
are doing so in a way that's very insulting.

>It actually does take a lawyer to figure out what's
>legal and not and then it takes a judge.

No. It takes a judge to decide how the law bears on a particular case. And
it doesn't take a lawyer to figure out a law, even if it's a bad one.
our Constitution prohibits vague laws.

>Common law is about interpretation
>and precedent. It becomes more complicated because lawyers are typically
>technologists and make grievous errors of fact.
>Back in 1970 I did take a joint class with Harvard Law and they were
>for people with a technical background.
>The reason I keep harping on the legal issue is that you keep framing the
>issue as one or morality.

Again, you keep using the world &quot;morality,&quot; which implies some form of
dogma and/or unthinking belief. The fact, plain and simple, is that
illegal copies of music is against the law. And the vast majority of the
we see taking place via Kazaa and similar software are illegal.

>If you simply said that you aren't selling the
>capacity for P2P connections I wouldn't raise the issue at all.

Sure you would. You'd complain that I was &quot;breaking end-to-end.&quot;

>You're the
>one that brought in what I see as an irrelevant issue -- the purpose of the
>bits and the ethical agenda.

In other words, you believe that what you're doing with the network doesn't
matter? This is a very dangerous stance to take, Bob. Because if you cannot
distinguish between legal and illegal uses of a tool, or if that tool
is overwhelmingly used for illegal activity and only occasionally for legal
purposes, it can and will be regulated and perhaps outlawed.

>I feel insulted because as an advocate of those
>activities I feel you're accusing me of pandering to criminals.

In a very real way, you're covering for them by advocating against any
practical way to detect, deter, and/or stop their activities.

>It would be
>no different than if you had told me that I can say anything I want as long
>as it was moral (or, if you prefer, ethical).
>You are simply saying you are selling a certain kind of service based on
>statistical assumptions that are violated by P2P. Does it matter whether
>approve of the use?

If the use is illegal, it doesn't matter whether or not I approve of it.

>Of course everything will be encrypted -- BECAUSE I AM GOING TO MAKE SURE
>THAT IT IS ALL ENCRYPTED. Even though I'm too distractible that's my
>priority at the moment.

This, Bob, would be the worst possible thing you could do. Do you want to
see encryption outlawed? Given the volume of P2P traffic, you would make it
statistical near-certainty that any encrypted connection traversing the
Internet is being used for illegal activity. You will thus create
for strong restrictions on encryption -- or even making it illegal, which is

something which many of us have fought hard to prevent. When the primary use

of a tool is to break the law, that tool is quickly restricted or outlawed.


------ End of Forwarded Message

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