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The Courts Government The Internet United States News

Who Is An ISP? 208

happynut writes "Last Friday there was an article about the new anti-spam U.S. legislation that might become law. Within this bill, the only non-government party that can sue for damages is an 'Internet Access Service' (Page 44, line 1 (Sec 7(g)), and Page 8 line 15 (Sec 3(11)) of the bill). Some reports have treated 'Internet Access Service' as the same as an ISP. But if you follow down the definition listed in Sec 3(11) (see 47 USC Sec 231(e)(4)), it defines an Internet Access Service as: '(4) Internet access service -- The term 'Internet access service' means a service that enables users to access content, information, electronic mail, or other services offered over the Internet, and may also include access to proprietary content, information, and other services as part of a package of services offered to consumers. Such term does not include telecommunications services.' My question is: isn't this definition so broad as to cover all of us who run a mail server? It doesn't mention commercial, or for money, or to the public; it just says 'as part of a package of services offered to consumers.'"
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Who Is An ISP?

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  • haha, my woody box is an "Internet Access Service" !

    SCORE!

    • Re:hey, that's me! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Frymaster ( 171343 )
      haha, my woody box is an "Internet Access Service" !

      i wouldn't go spouting off about that if i were you. if your isp finds out that you are running as an "isp" they're likely to cut off yr service.

      read the t&c of yr bandwidth provider!

  • by gorilla ( 36491 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @06:22PM (#7573148)
    I suspect that the answer to this is something which will only be decided by high paid lawyers standing before an appeal or supreme court.
    • by js7a ( 579872 ) *
      the answer to this is something which will only be decided by high paid lawyers standing before an appeal or supreme court.

      Yes, where the definition will probably turn on whether "consumers" include noncommercial clients.

    • by SkArcher ( 676201 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @06:29PM (#7573205) Journal
      As with most things in American law, it isn't what is right that matters, it is who has the most money.
      • by reallocate ( 142797 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @08:53PM (#7574170)
        You don't have to be a business to generate spam. All you need is a single mail server.

        Are you arguing that your right to operate a personal mail server trumps my right not to receive spam?

        Well, maybe you're right, maybe you're wrong.

        So, welcome to the land of politics and the courts. That's how things work around here. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Living in a democracy obliges you to accept the outcome, or keep on fighting for what you believe in and be willing to accept the consequences.

        The alternative is to anoint someone to decide what's right and wrong. I don't like that option.

        As James Madison argued, the U.S. Constitution is a means to balance conflicting interests to the benefit of the most people most of the time. It isn't a means to determine moral correctness.
    • Since the proposed law does provide for recovery of attorney's fees as part of the damages (most laws don't provide that), hiring a high-cost lawyer is not completely out of the question.
  • by wierdling ( 609715 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @06:23PM (#7573154) Homepage
    The way I read it, this would cover a home page as well, as it offers customers (family) access to information (your pictures of the kids, blogs, whatever). Does this make sense to anyone else?
    • Yes! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by twitter ( 104583 )
      The way I read it, this would cover a home page as well, as it offers customers (family) access to information (your pictures of the kids, blogs, whatever). Does this make sense to anyone else?

      You run a "server". It provides service through the internet. You are an internet service provider. What is the difference between your computer and any of the boxes at Google? None. You should expect and demand all the rights and privleges that your "ISP" expects and demands.

      The problem is that your don't hav

      • So, what about me? I pay for web hosting, and I provide services to my wife. The hosting account is in my name, charged to my credit card. I allow her access to email hosted on that server. Am I an Internet Access Service?

        • what about me? I pay for web hosting, and I provide services to my wife.... I allow her access to email hosted on that server.

          Yep, you are providing a service and there's not much difference between what you do and what any "normal" ISP does. Everyone has help, no one writes all of their software themselves and everyone purchases or leases someone else's equipment somewhere, only the scale changes.

          Don't listen to people who would infring on your rights by pidgon hole you into a "consumer" with a machine

          • Don't listen to people who would infring on your rights by pidgon hole you into a "consumer" with a machine that is not alowed to do what it can on an internet that was not designed to have master and slave machines. What they are telling you is stupid and outrageous.

            I believe strongly in an open internet, where everybody has a chance to be heard, where everyone has opportunity to do what they want without hurting anyone else. I oppose any effort to turn the internet into television, i.e. a one-way medi

    • It's all up to interpretation, but simply having a web page somewhere probably doesn't qualify. If the page is hosted on .mac or geocities, then surely they are the Internet Access Service, not you.

      If you have your own server (or probably even a hosted domain on a shared server at Rackspace, or wherever), and you host email, web, etc on it for yourself and your family, then you could probably argue pretty convincingly that you are an Internet Access Service. In that case, Rackspace is merely providing yo
      • So the only question is if your family counts as "consumers" (which I think they do).

        This is going to be a fun one and I hope it gets tested. Had the phrase included "customer" instead of "consumer," then it would be very clear that you would have to sell the services to have any rights under the law. But "consumer" can simply mean "user," and at that point my cat, who likes my screensavers, is a consumer of my computer (if not my internet connection).

        Methinks they worded the law in a way they didn't in

        • Yeah, its a very interesting distinction, and a loophole that will still allow most telecoms to sue spammers, even under this law.

          What do SBC DSL customers pay for? Is it the 5 free email accounts or the 10MB free web space? No, those are free. They pay for the telecommunications service that connects them to the internet. So SBC is excluded from being able to sue spammers by this law.

          But anyone with an @sbcglobal.net email address is a consumer of SBC's Internet Access Services. Woohoo! SBC can sue
  • Count me in then (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @06:23PM (#7573159) Journal
    Definitely covers me - I have a co-located server with clients websites running on it. I rent all my bandwidth though - would never really have thought of myself as an ISP, although I guess I fall under the auspice of "Internet Service Provider" - the typical image is either a dial-up merchant, or someone like Colt/BT/Level3/(insert huge company here)

    Simon
    • Well, realistically all ISPs rent their bandwidth from their upstream providers as well. Except for the boys on top, of course.

      Gotta love legalese so vague that it turns every Slashdotter into an ISP :)
    • Definitely covers me - I have a co-located server with clients websites running on it. I rent all my bandwidth though - would never really have thought of myself as an ISP, although I guess I fall under the auspice of "Internet Service Provider" - the typical image is either a dial-up merchant, or someone like Colt/BT/Level3/(insert huge company here)

      You RENT your bandwidth? So, let me ask you this - after you are done, do you have to give it back? How do you rent a service?

      You *always* buy bandwidth. T
    • this is why you need to make sure that you not only have an acceptable usage agreement with them, but also a bunch of stuff indemnifying yourself from being responsible for their actions both knowingly and unknowlingly.

      I too have a dedicated server with clients and friends renting space. I am very nervous about their mailing habits, being an internet marketer. I know how much email looks like spam even when the sender is completely innocent. And unless they have their own mail server running (cause then
  • Consumers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phroggy ( 441 ) * <slashdot3@phr[ ]y.com ['ogg' in gap]> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @06:25PM (#7573177) Homepage
    The term 'Internet access service' means a service that enables users to access content, information, electronic mail, or other services offered over the Internet, and may also include access to proprietary content, information, and other services as part of a package of services offered to consumers.

    How are "consumers" defined? Members of the general public who pay money to receive these services? If it's something like that, then those of us who run mail (etc.) services only to non-consumers shouldn't be affected. Right?
    • How are "consumers" defined? Members of the general public who pay money to receive these services?

      That's the question. Answers vary. [google.com] For example:

      any persons who use goods and services....

      -- www.consumerdirection.org/glos.htm

      people whose wants are satisfied by using goods and services
      -- www.mrc.twsu.edu/economics/passwordlessons/Lesson0 1/lesson1printgloss.htm

      individuals, households, organisations, institutions, resellers and governments that purchase the products offered by other organisatio

      • Re:Consumers (Score:3, Informative)

        by brianosaurus ( 48471 )
        IANA Economist, but if I recall from my few Econ classes in college, and "economic good" doesn't necessarily mean that you pay for them. It has more to do with scarcity and "opportunity costs" than with money. Here's a definition:

        ECONOMIC GOOD [amosweb.com]:
        A tangible item produced with society's limited resources for the purpose of satisfying wants and needs. As a general notion, the phrase economic good also commonly includes intangible services produced with society's limited resources for the purpose of satisfyi
    • How are "consumers" defined? Members of the general public who pay money to receive these services? If it's something like that, then those of us who run mail (etc.) services only to non-consumers shouldn't be affected. Right?

      Right, so AOL, M$N and all can spam you to oblivion and you can't do anything about it. Don't even think of mailing your AOL using mom, though. If you get through their "spammer" blacklists, you will be fined. Expect the disparity between the computer you run and the one that M$-Mc

    • Read carefully. Its not that those of us running mail servers only to non-consumers (ie. ourselves?) aren't affected. Instead its that those of us... do not qualify to sue for damages.

      It means that unless you have "consumers" using your "Internet access service", you're powerless against the spammers according to this law.

      ONLY the goverment and "Internet Access Services" may sue for damages. So let's all play lawyer and figure out how to interpret that to include us!
      • Re:Consumers (Score:2, Informative)

        by Tackhead ( 54550 )
        > It means that unless you have "consumers" using your "Internet access service", you're powerless against the spammers according to this law.

        I have a NAT box and a router. My roommate/parents/grandmother pay me $1/year to administer it. I have a contract proving that.

      • I'm running a copy of SAproxy on my home computer. For a lifetime fee of $1, I will filter incoming e-mail and mark suspected spam, if you are able to connect to my computer. I guess that'd make me an internet access service.
  • by orthogonal ( 588627 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @06:26PM (#7573182) Journal
    ...access to proprietary content, information, and other services as part of a package of services offered to consumers. Such term does not include telecommunications services.

    As I (IANAL) read it, it seems narrowly tailored to include AOL ("proprietary content") and exclude DSL-providing Baby Bells and possibly cable companies ("not... telecommunications services") (I'm not sure whether cable companies are "telecommunications services".)
    • IANAL either, but I would read that differently.

      The quote starts "...and may *also* include proprietary content..." suggesting that this might be offered, but is not a required part of the definition, which is more about providing access like an ISP.

      I think the reference to "such term does not include telecommunications services" is simply meant to stop companies and lawyers from twisting the definition to apply to telephone or cable operations. But if they also run an ISP, that operation would still qua
    • You missed a few important words: "and may also include access to proprietary content" - *may* include. Any isp is covered, regardless of whether they have proprietary content. I read the provision of not including telecommunications services as meaning the people who provide the actual cables. So if someone uses AOL dial-up, AOL qualifies as an access service, but their phone company doesn't. If the phone company also provides internet services, then they would qualify. If the phone company qualified
  • Well, actually... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Faust7 ( 314817 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @06:26PM (#7573184) Homepage
    as part of a package of services offered to consumers.

    It doesn't mention commercial, or for money, or to the public; it just says 'as part of a package of services offered to consumers.'

    Consumers = the public in this case.

    Internet access packages = typically non-free.

    Selling it on any appreciable scale = often commercial.

    I believe these are the interpretations they're aiming for, and the ones that will be upheld should they ever be taken to task.
  • Me, too! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @06:26PM (#7573185) Homepage Journal
    Hey, I run the linux box that is the firewall between our home LAN and the cable modem. I provide internet access to my wife (and our parrots, when they play with the keyboard). I do all the troubleshooting of things like email and web-access problems. So can I am obviously qualify as an ISP, right? It'd be fun to be able to sue the spammers for DoS of our cable modem and wasting our time.

    • Unless you have a business account with your cable provider, it is very doubtful that you would fall under this category. Cable providers tend to have very specific TOS that prohibit home users from reselling their bandwidth or even sharing it to anyone outside of the immediate contract (i.e., you). Additionally, they have the habit of prohibiting users from running servers of any kind, which sorta nixes the IAS idea.

      IOW, in order to meet the requirements of an IAS, you'd most likely be in breach of your
      • Yeah, I was shocked at the TOS I read on Cox cable in NOLA. I have been pissed at Mindspring/Earthlink DSL...they can't seem to get their act together to give me a static IP. I was going to switch, however, I went to look at all their restrictions on the cable broadband.

        -No network translation? Guess that kills my NAT/Wireless Linksys router setup.

        -Looks like they want to charge for home networking...they only offer 4 hooks. Does that mean they'll want me to take down and charge me for my home network

        • It probably has to do with cable providers REALLY overselling bandwidth, and running into problems when someone starts up a file repository which (if not capped) can eat up all the upstream bandwidth for a neighborhood (the whole shared header thing.) It probably also has to do with the lack of tech-savvy people to do support for cable broadband, AND the desire to charge business-class prices for the privilege of a static IP.

          I have to say though, my DSL provider (Speakeasy) has been remarkably cool about
    • I'd guess the opposition would jump on your TOS agreement, and say you were out of order for providing these services (depends on your ISP, of course). I hope anti-spam legislation doesn't ricochet into tougher TOS agreements, and tougher enforcements thereof.
  • I RTFA but i'm not sure if I qualify. I supply a cable modem connection to 12 students in rental rooms. If I use a switch and charge a monthly rate, does this make me an ISP. Does there have to be a server involved? Does reselling access count?
    • If I use a switch and charge a monthly rate, does this make me an ISP.

      Perhaps.

      If you want to claim ISP status, so you can sue spammers, start charging a fee. Then provide "free" beer to your students every month for roughly the cost of the fee. You get the right to sue spammers, your students get beer. Everyone wins!
  • by itsnotme ( 20905 ) * on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @06:28PM (#7573192) Homepage
    Time for me to declare myself as a non-profit organization since they make ANYBODY running a server sound like a business or an organization in itself.

    Should be proud of a 5 year old kid now, he runs a quake server, he's a businessman in his own right. Go government! Doing their job to encourage my kids to get into business!
  • how I see it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrUnknown ( 663166 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @06:28PM (#7573201) Homepage
    "a service that enables users to access content, information, electronic mail, or other services offered over the Internet"

    reword it to...
    "a service that enables users to access...the Internet"

    I think the list of "things" confuses the definition. but it only says things that ALLOW this access, not the services themself.
  • does this mean.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    does this mean it includes MS as an IAS since they provide IE6?
  • IANAL, but I have considered an ISP to a company that provides access to the Net with or without Mail or Usenet. If you, provide Mail or Usenet without Net access, you are not an ISP in my book.

    PS: I hope my comment makes sense now. I posted the first version of my comment without previewing first!

  • Especially if you provide useful information.
  • So offer it! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 )
    So go ahead and offer it to consumers! It doesn't have to be a realistic offer; $10,000/mo for a POP account should be sufficient. This will enable you to sue spammers.
  • by forevermore ( 582201 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @06:34PM (#7573255) Homepage
    I asked this exact same question [slashdot.org] the other day, and received an informative reply that was quite disturbing. Basically, even if I'd be allowed to sue as an ISP, I'd have to prove no less than $75k in damages before anyone would even bother to look at my case. Does this mean that I turn off my spam filters and create a bill of $50 for each spam email (at $50 per hour/partial-hour per message verified as spam)?

    Granted, I still haven't even been able to find the full text of the bill anywhere in order to verify this.

    • Any ISP of any size would have no difficulty showing that spammers cause more than $75K/year in damages. Have one full-time person on staff to run your spam filtering operation? Your damage is roughly double this person's salary (cost of a full-time employee in the US is roughly double the salary after you figure in taxes, benefits, and overhead).

    • You don't have to "prove" no less than $75,000 in damages. That amount has to do with whether a federal court has "subject matter" jurisdiction over a case. The $75,000 floor applies in federal "diversity" jurisdiction [cornell.edu] cases (i.e., cases that are in federal court because the parties suing each other are citizens of different states). Since this is a federal law, "federal question" jurisdiction [cornell.edu] attaches, which doesn't have that "amount in controversy" limitation.

      Even if this were a diversity case, the $7
  • "Such term does not include telecommunications services."

    That's all of it, since moving bits around on the Internet is a telecommunications service. No wonder spammers love this bill. Everyone who would give a rat about it can't sue them.
  • by ScottSpeaks! ( 707844 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @06:43PM (#7573315) Homepage Journal
    "It doesn't mention commercial, or for money, or to the public; it just says 'as part of a package of services offered to consumers.'"

    Why should it make that distinction? A university providing access to its students, or a "free" (i.e. advertiser-supported) dial-up provider differs fundamentally from AOL or Earthlink or MSN or your local independent ISP only in its economic model.

    "it seems narrowly tailored to include AOL ("proprietary content") and exclude DSL-providing Baby Bells and possibly cable companies ("not... telecommunications services")"

    Broadband services usually provide e-mail service to residential accounts and assorted other services (e.g. DNS) to business accounts. I think this phrase is intended to single out the backbone operators, folks whose customers are all other ISPs.

  • is to allow people who are directly affected financially by spammers to sue them. These people are generally ISPs who need more storage and bandwidth to deal with receiving and storing spam. It reminds me of the fax laws since there was concern there that advertisers were making their targets pay for ink and paper to distribute their ads via fax.
    • The spirit of the law is that the DMA and other such groups want Spam to be classified as "every bulk unsolicitied mailing that we didn't send".

      The problem is that you pay just as much as your ISP does, in agregates. If they could avoid upgrading, they would probably end up charging less to compete with "the other guys", thus passing the savings on to the user. If you go over your allocation of storage space and get billed for it, you are the one who gets charged.

      The problem is that your average ISP is
  • by The Spanish Ninja ( 726892 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @06:47PM (#7573351)
    a service that enables users to access content, information, electronic mail, or other services offered over the Internet, and may also include access to proprietary content, information, and other services as part of a package of services offered to consumers.
    You could consider a protocol (such as HTTP or FTP) to be a service that offers these very things, so could we possibly glean from this that only a protocol can sue? Damn sneaky if you ask me...

  • My impression of the "anti-spam" legislation is that it is pro-spam, and one more example of U.S. government corruption.

    Dave Letterman said, "When you make out your part of the check for $87,000,000,000 to help Iraq, remember that there are two Ls in Halliburton." (Halliburton is Vice-President Dick Cheney's company.)
  • If you read a law and can't understand it, it is by that very fact a corrupt law. The reason you can't understand the "anti-spam" law is that they don't want you to understand it. It is intended to accomplish some hidden purpose.
    • Adding to my parent post: It is very common that people who comment on Slashdot call each other idiots. However, it is likely that almost all of those who read Slashdot are of above average intelligence.

      Those who have commented on the parent post have said I don't understand the law! Whoa! Such a big need to find that someone else is less intelligent!

      The law is meant to be owned by all of us. If the average people of us cannot understand a law, it should be re-written. Generally, when a law is diffi
  • by Tacoguy ( 676855 )
    is it possible that if a spam relay gets placed on a public access terminal in a public library (and many rural ones don't have expertise to handle this) ...

    I understand the accountability issues with this but can we deprive the public of access to information they would not otherwise be able to get.

    We are at a point it seems to me of having to make hard decisions but are looking in the wrong places.
    TG
  • IANAFJ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spiritraveller ( 641174 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @07:20PM (#7573605)
    The term 'Internet access service' means a service that enables users to access content, information, electronic mail, or other services offered over the Internet, and may also include access to proprietary content, information, and other services as part of a package of services offered to consumers. Such term does not include telecommunications services.

    If your service enables users to access content over the internet, then you are an IAS. That service can be part of a package that includes a dial-up/broadband internet connection, but if your only service is a "telecommunications service" then you are not an IAS.

    The reasonable interpretation of this is that you have to provide something more than a mere connection to the internet. If you provide email, newsgroups, your own web portal... or any other of your own content, then you are an IAS.

    This likely includes all the baby bells, all the cable companies, AOL, MSN, Yahoo, etc... It probably also includes anyone running a mail server, website or usenet server if they allow other people to use that service.

    Note that it only says "package of services offered to consumers." It says nothing about charging a fee or being a publicly traded megacompany.

    I am not a federal judge. What I say is only what a reasonable human being would think the statute means. As we know, the law is not always interpreted by reasonable human beings... look at that 10 Commandments guy in Alabama for instance... D'oh! He's not a judge anymore though is he?

    • Re:IANAFJ (Score:4, Insightful)

      by brianosaurus ( 48471 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @08:17PM (#7573967) Homepage
      Another reasonable interpretation is that the owners of the wires that support the internet cannot dictate what content is sent across them. That is a good thing.

      I do disagree with your example of unreasonable human beings. That judge was not an misinterpreting the law. He knew what it meant. He didn't agree with it, he challenged it, and he lost. I applaud his integrity, even though I disagree with his stance.

      Laws are not the final word. Congress can pass all the poorly-written, ineffective laws they want, but they still have to stand up in court when challenged.
  • Who Is An ISP?

    This reminds me of those "What kind of man reads Playboy?" ads in Playboy.

    -kgj
  • by utlemming ( 654269 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @08:01PM (#7573865) Homepage
    As I have been reading the above comments people have said, "HEY! I am an ISP!" But there are certian legal problems with that statment. If you happen to be under a Terms of Service, like I am, they prohibt such things. So even if you do happen to get yourself declared an ISP then you are opening up yourself for a law suit from your ISP or being disconnected from the internet.

    From Cox Communications acceptable use policy: "Servers. You may not operate, or allow others to operate, servers of any type or any other device, equipment, and/or software providing server-like functionality in connection with the Service, unless expressly authorized by Cox. "

    Further invesitagtion revelled simular acceptable use policies. So thus the problem remains -- you claim your an ISP, your connection provider says you must not be, and then your in a quandry.

    Some things to think about...

  • If you are an ISP and want to sue, you can only sue violating spammers. But this bill defines what "spam" and "spammers" are, and it's probably not the definition you or I would use.

    According to this new bill, so long as the email has an "opt out" link and is not sent to anyone on the Do Not Spam list, then that email message is not, according to the proposed law, spam.

    In other words, nothing will change. And, if you live in California or Virginia, this new bill has less protection than state laws, an
  • by Ricin ( 236107 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @08:26PM (#7574007)
    from what I've gathered the law can also easily be used against grassroots political campaigns through email. E.g. postal address must be present, all headers must be correct (you sent the mail from your laptop through your gateway PC.. well.. you seem to have been forging headers..., think about NAT, ...).

    It's full of traps and not in our favor. Was on DemocracyNow (dot org) with a guy from EFF yesterday. Guess most of you freedom fighters here are not very active in informing yourselves let alone fight (err, for?) freedom.

    And those who now start elaborate threads about headers and all, I'm shorting the tech fluff down because it's about the POINT I'm trying to make. Discuss the point.

    A part of you ("Might be a good idea", "Any law better than none", "Kill the spammers", etc) have fallen for the same propaganda that got people to accept the patriot barbe wire thing cheered at and approved of. They play on your (often righteous) complaints or fears and sneak in a traversy of a solution. Which is not designed in your interest but delivered as such surely it is.

    One would think people wisen up, but it appears that "we" as "intellectuals" are actually much more susceptable to this kind of honey smearing. That should be some food for thought.

    The devil is always in the details but people seem to not be able to shake off the idea that details == small things.

  • I am an ISP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yourlord ( 473099 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @08:33PM (#7574050) Homepage
    Well, since I have my linux machine, which is always connected via DSL, set up to also provide dialup ppp service, I am an ISP.. I set this up so that if I'm out and around town and need dialup access, I can dial into my machine and NAT through my DSL connection while also having direct access to resources on my network.. It works very well.. Since I also have accounts on my servers for my friends and family, and all of them can dial in and use this service, even under a more strict interpretation I would be an ISP..
  • The way it's worded, it might define "Radio Rentals" (they rent out computers as well as fridges and TVs) as an ISP because they provide a service that lets people connect to electronic content. Heck, it might even include power companies as without power most desktops aren't much use.

    It may also include anyone who's enabled Internet Connection sharing under Windows and almost definately includes any closed Wi-Fi networks like Perth's free hobbyist wireless network (despite the fact that there's no bridge

  • by anagama ( 611277 ) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @08:55PM (#7574179) Homepage

    Look at pg 47, line 16:

    This law kills all the state's remedies that have been developed to provide recipients a way to sue spammers. This law has lower fines. This law frekin' sucks!

  • The big move these days, spearheaded by content providers such as cable and telecom, is to clearly divide consumers and commercial service providers. This is a business thing, and it has nothing to do with technical matters.

    For instance, many of us geeks have run our own web sites and mail servers for several years. Now we're running into increasing problems with ISPs that are blocking incoming and outgoing TCP ports, and entire netblocks getting tagged as consumer class (dynamic blocks) so that some doma [pc9.org]

  • And it seems to me there is an in-between category as well, such as myself.

    Out of my house I run a few web sites for money. They are small sites, Linux/Apache/PHP/MySQL, by companies that get a few hits a day and a few emails a day. I do this to hone my sysadmin skills and to earn back the cost of the SOHO commercial cable connection. But does that make me an ISP? Should I, if I do business with people in the UK, keep logs for years? Should I install a government spy box? Surely that cannot be the intentio
  • ...considering that the only thing I depend on from my upstream is six static addresses and my bandwidth. I take care of everything else, DNS included.

    By that measure, and the language referenced, I could indeed sue for damages if I chose, since I am running an entire bank of servers and providing "Information Services" to myself and others (my life-mate and a close friend in another state -- he gets in through a VPN tunnel).

    However, I find it much more fun simply to block spammers out of our network, and
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @03:22AM (#7575704) Homepage
    It looks like anti-spam services like Spamcop can use this law. It could even be a big profit center for them.

    Clearly SpamCop is a service provider. No problem there.

    Services like Spamcop see many copies of the same spam, so they can aggregate them up to the $1 million limitation. They see enough addresses that they can detect dictionary attacks (an "aggrivated offense"). If they use spam trap addresses, they can detect mining, another aggrevated offense.

    Because SpamCop routinely informs spammers that they're spammers, they can even meet the high standard under the "special definition of procure" that places liability on advertisers only if they have "actual knowlege, or by consciously avoiding knowing,whether such person is engaging [in spamming]".

    But none of this will stop the coming flood of "legitimate" spam. That, though, can be automatically filtered.

    So what we need now is a service like SpamCop that sues spammers aggressively.

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