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Court Says Customers May Take IPs Away From ISP 802

Jeremy Kister writes "According to a post on the North American Network Operators Group mailing-list, The State of New Jersey has issued a temporary restraining order, allowing a former customer of Net Access Corporation (NAC) to take non-portable IP Address space (issued from ARIN), away from NAC." The post argues: "This is a matter is of great importance to the entire Internet community. This type of precedent is very dangerous. If this ruling is upheld it has the potential to disrupt routing throughout the Internet, and change practices of business for any Internet Service Provider."
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Court Says Customers May Take IPs Away From ISP

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  • The risks... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Glock27 ( 446276 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:35AM (#9559911)
    of non-technical judges ruling on technical matters become evident once again.

    Reminds me of "average" people voting regarding nuclear power...

  • by nlinecomputers ( 602059 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:36AM (#9559917)
    I don't understand why this was in a court. What use is this to the person that filed the suit. It can't work. Is this just an asshole with a axe to grind who found a stupid/ignorant judge?
  • Question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Soporific ( 595477 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:38AM (#9559935)
    I haven't RTFA yet, but is there any proposal in how this is supposed to happen?

  • by div_2n ( 525075 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:39AM (#9559962)
    If this kind of ruling is upheld, look for public IP's to disappear and for ISP's to provide private IP's or at a bare minimum to do away with statics.
  • Re:The risks... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by n4vu ( 563076 ) <slashdot@n4vu.com> on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:41AM (#9559986)
    This has got to rank right up there with the Indiana legislature deliberating whether pi should be declared to be 3, back in 1897. At least they had the wisdom not to do it.
  • by TheAtomicElec ( 784987 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:43AM (#9560003)
    Well if you consider that recently cell phone numbers have become portable between different cellular carriers, then it seems this judge is just thinking "Hmm, IP addresses are a bunch of numbers... must be like cell phone numbers except for computers..."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:43AM (#9560011)
    This was an april fools on NPR.

    Check it out here [npr.org].

  • In the long run (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Grell ( 9450 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:44AM (#9560024) Homepage
    Assuming this doesn't happen to whole IP ranges, won't IPV6 lessen the potential impact of this?

    One or two small subnets off the huge amount that will be available doesn't seem so bad, and could spur some interesting development/business plans.

    Just a thought.

  • by hitech69 ( 78566 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:45AM (#9560043) Homepage
    This is just another example of attorney's taking advantage of Judge's being malinformed on current technologies. I'd like to see them start advertising /30's on the backbone. Since they don't, should be interesting to see how this customer can take an IP with him, considering that the IP addresses aren't owned, they are assigned. Therefore there can never be a conveyance of ownership.
  • Re:Cool! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by WormholeFiend ( 674934 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:46AM (#9560049)
    Now I can be banned from Slashdot wherever I go!

    Well my home connection is banned from Slashdot through no fault of mine (as is some other people I know across the city who are with the same ISP as me), forcing me to post comments from work. And the Slashdot banning system doesnt seem to have specific provisions from unbanning select users with good karma from a vast swath of IP blocks...

    So since Slashdot seems to have banned my whole ISP, maybe soon I'll be able to find another IP address so I can post on Slashdot on evenings and weekends?
  • by Rob Carr ( 780861 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:46AM (#9560055) Homepage Journal
    This is like taking your home address with you, when you move.

    1. How long before the lawsuit demanding that you keep your physical home address?

    2. Am I just cynical, or will this lawsuit succeed?

    2. When a famous physicist said "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are" I don't think this is what he had in mind.

  • by The Bod ( 18970 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:47AM (#9560058)
    You people who demanded cell phone number portability started this precedent. This is exactly what I was alluding to when I posted this [slashdot.org] and this [slashdot.org]. The second post better explains my point.
  • Can I port my IP? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by krray ( 605395 ) * on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:47AM (#9560065)
    I can just imagine what the routing [IPv4] tables would look like. It's bad enough _now_ as it is. Time for everybody to upgrade their memory otherwise...

    Is IPv6 routing at the core level any more efficient? Or would this just aggravate this problem?

    This is ridiculous -- I've switched core ISP's multiple times for various reasons. The sad thing is reverse lookup on a few very old IP's are still unchanged (and I've even sent them reminders over the years [!]). I've been through controlled migrations where nobody notices anything to cut and switch botch jobs and have had little issue flipping DNS servers over to new IP's (I've always served myself at work, home, other offices I've set up, etc :). Sure, some DNS servers won't honor my short timeout setup, but usually within 24 hours the new information has propagated the Internet as needed.

    I've never been willing to pay what it costs to own my IP block or even [!] a single address. I'm not Motorola or Apple and what's the problem with "renting" my IP much like I've only been able to do in the past with my [US] phone number? I love the fact that I was able to port my 20 year home phone line to VoIP -- and because of it dialing in the future will become very interesting. Am I in LA? Chicago? New York? For the poor sap -- is my next call local, long distance, band-b, band-c and what will it cost? Now off-topic and I digress...

    Hopefully the courts don't see phone number portability as precedence ... can you imagine what the telco's are going through in figuring out routing tables now? Something like this could finally melt the Internet. And ironically my phone line. :)
  • by malfunct ( 120790 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:49AM (#9560096) Homepage
    In some ways I'm not sure how this is different on the surface from cell phone number portability.

    One reason it is different is that the common names (domain names) are portable. Another may be infrastructure though I think that phone numbers were not designed to be easily switchable between phone companies so as far as that argument goes it might be a wash.

    In the end I don't think there is as compelling an argument for ip porability as there was for phone number portability since the IP is not exactly your identity on line whereas your phone number is very definitely your phone identity.

  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:50AM (#9560110) Homepage Journal
    This reminds me of the most recent National Public Radio April Fools' Joke: they claimed, very convincingly, that the USPS is working on portable zip codes. People think there's a prestige about 90210, for example. It's almost a brand, by itself. So when they move away, they want to take that with them. The gag was done so cleanly that there were quite a few people fooled.
  • Re:OK. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by silas_moeckel ( 234313 ) <{moc.proc-cnimsd} {ta} {salis}> on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:51AM (#9560142) Homepage
    Actualy as I have been following the Nanog thread the client willing ended there contract and has IP space to move into but is refusing to renumber. The space in question is a /24 so isn't going ot make it to far especialy is people start null routing the block out of pricible. If they wanted to keep the space they should have kept there contract or at least picked up a leased line for the incomming. The TRO is hazardess to the internet and should be killed by any means avalible otherwise people with a /32 will start getting TRO's when they move providers the internet is NOT CAPABLE of dealing with this on a global routing level if you want to keep an IP lease your own block like verybody else otherwise they are not transferable period.
  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:53AM (#9560171) Homepage
    I was involved in a court case a couple of years ago, where the judge (magistrate?) decided that a circular road feature, with a number of lanes going into it and more coming off, around which you were meant to rotate in a clockwise fashion (UK) and which to top it all had a sodding great sign marked "Roundabout" in front of it wasn't a roundabout. Oh no, it was something else.

    When asked what exactly it was then, he said it was 'an exit circular with many lanes' (exact quote - we're talking about the exit of J29 M1 for any UK readers). When asked to point out where, in the Highway Code, 'an exit circular with many lanes' was defined he refused to comment and suggested we move on. Since the entire case was that someone had incorrectly changed lanes on a roundabout without indicating in time, thus smashing into the rear left-hand side of me, 'moving on' was rather difficult as everything was based around the fact it took place on a roundabout.

    The guy in question fulfilled all the cliches - an impossibly Oxford Don-type accent which was obviously put on (I know some Oxford dons, and besides this guy came from Mansfield which has a totally different accent), absolutely smug in his self-delusion of superiority...the works.

    When my solicitor apologised for losing the case afterwards, my comment to him was "Don't worry. My no claims bonus is unaffected, it's a nice sunny day, and I've managed to see purest legal farce in action. I'm still happy".

    I learned to never underestimate legal stupidity that day.


  • by LilJC ( 680315 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @10:54AM (#9560186)
    It's true, along with congress, the senate, etc...

    Not about everything. They know tons about politics and law, but the country's past the point where these types can make wise decisions about this kind of case.

    As a Libertarian (US), I almost shudder to think of adding the government, but maybe it would be worth it to have an agency tied into the court system for technology cases - almost the way the family court system does so. The problem is that there's an implication that the government would have authority over the internet itself. The truth is that they have do have power in cases like this.

  • by liam193 ( 571414 ) * on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @11:00AM (#9560274)

    Your argument doesn't make sense. The web address is completely different from the IP address.

    The problem is that IP addresses need to be assigned in blocks to keep the size of a full routing table down. Basically this ruling is nothing more than an indirect Internet Tax. The result of this ruling will be that backbone providers have to raise service rates to support the increased memory and processor requirements of their routers.

    The size of a BGP routing table was skyrocketing until about 5-7 years ago. That's when groups like ARIN started saying, "we have to fix this".

    The way to fix it is a logical method of subnetting. Big Blocks assigned to backbone providers...Smaller blocks within those assigned to the ISPs that connect to them...a few subnets givent to the customers that connect to them. If you move, you get new addresses. DNS solves all the problem of moving except the internal cost to readdress your machines. If your intelligent, you use DHCP for everything but servers so most of the work is easy. If your even more intelligent you run 95+% of your devices on internal addresses and NAT at your gateway so the work is even easier.

    The problem is that users and some stupid programmers don't want to do what makes sense (utilizing DNS and NAT properly).

    Plain and simple this ruling is ridiculous. Someone should buy this Judge, and more importantly, the fool that filed the complaint and his lawyer a copy of DNS for dummies [dummies.com].

  • by ka9dgx ( 72702 ) * on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @11:06AM (#9560342) Homepage Journal
    You obviously don't understand routing. In order to have IP address portability like you want, all of the core routers on the internet would have to have an entry for each and every discreet IP address on the internet... 4 Billion+ addresses, lets say 16 bytes each, that's 64 GIGAbytes of RAM, just for the routing table!

    It's just not practical for small networks (class C or smaller) to be portable.

    It sucks when you're a customer who doesn't have a portable address block, but it's not practical to hand them out to small companies. I wish my company could be dual homed, but it ain't gonna happen.

    ... previews submission ...

    May I recommend 192.168.*.* and

    ... changes mind ...

    Oh... You DO get it...

    Well said!
    </Reconsider> --Mike--

  • by ThogScully ( 589935 ) <neilsd@neilschelly.com> on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @11:07AM (#9560356) Homepage
    You don't understand apparently that ip addresses are hierarchical too. They move in blocks and they are routed in blocks. The routers that are up high in the backbones of the internet don't know that your ip address it at your house - they think bigger. They think along the lines of 200.*.*.* is this way or something.

    That's oversimplified of course, but essentially, the precendent this sets is that routers will have to remember every IP address in existance and which direction traffic to it should go. Without being able to trust that larger blocks are largely unbroken, routing will get out of control, out of hand, out of the realm of the processing power or storage of current routing technology, etc....
  • by defile ( 1059 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @11:10AM (#9560391) Homepage Journal

    Set your DNS TTL low and make the switch. Within 15 minutes all traffic should go to the new IPs. It's not like someone you knew ten years ago is going to try to contact you on that IP...


    Every time I've changed the A record which have always had a TTL of 2 hours, I've seen a small trickle of traffic hit the old IP addresses for, I shit you not, at least two-three weeks afterward.

    Some providers completely ignore your TTL entries when they cache them.

    We kept the old IP addresses active for about a month (and had them do HTTP redirects to the new location, by an alternate name).

  • by tod_miller ( 792541 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @11:12AM (#9560407) Journal
    Interesting, phone systems across waters are incompatible, uses different tones and basically seem to have stemmed from several completely different inventions of a telecommunications device :-)

    The internet ip system should be transparent, if anything is working on fixed ip's, then it needn't.

    dns is a layer above. if you register your.ip.in.numbers.com and point it to the same ip, then you can fiddle anything behind it.

    Why does he want his IP? wierd. It is more akin to wanting to keep the same phone number (here I am saying a phone number is like a dns) but also the same phone line and system addressing numbers (the numbers that the exchange sees you as.

    So he should keep his dns, but forget how the ip is running. my opinion.
  • by thomasa ( 17495 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @11:21AM (#9560509)
    I used to work for a Fortune 500 company that
    claimed 2 class B address ranges. They moved
    them from ISP to ISP.

  • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @12:46PM (#9561463) Homepage

    Though the claim about the Alabama state legislature is pure nonsense, it is similar to an event that happened more than a century ago. In 1897 the Indiana House of Representatives unanimously passed a measure redefining the area of a circle and the value of pi. (House Bill no. 246, introduced by Rep. Taylor I. Record.) The bill died in the state Senate.

    As a folklorist, I find this fucking hilarious. Somebody refutes one urban legend only to invoke another urban legend.

    Get this straight, people: Indiana NEVER legislated the value of pi. In fact, the legislation on which the rumor is based actually isn't about pi, per se, but about "circle squaring". Here's a good explanation of what really happened:

    http://www.simonsingh.net/Pi.html [simonsingh.net]

    (One minor mistake on this page, the digits in pi are anything but random)

    You can also check out "A History of Pi" (Beckmann) for a more detailed explanation and a picture of the actual bill.

  • by MrPeach ( 43671 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @01:47PM (#9562243) Homepage
    NAC is brutally trying to shut this guy down, at least according to his side of the story, so they can take over his business. He's trying to move to his own facility, but they are being complete dicks about facilitating the move, so a lawsuit was his only recourse. This is being discussed as if the internet routing structure was being attacked, or that he's trying to steal their old IP range. This is not the case. Read the court filings people.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @01:49PM (#9562280)
    Well actually.. there is a national portage system and the government does own telephone numbers..

    State department of public utilities ring a bell?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @04:01PM (#9563805)
    Beware the cluestick...

    Phone companies buy their blocks of telephone numbers from NeuStar. They have the government contract to manage the North American Numbering Plan. Just like Verisign, but in the telephone world.

    I work in the telecom industry. This is just like Local Number Portability (LNP). The problem is that Slashdotters don't understand the first thing about LNP. I've posted probably a dozen comments explaining how it works, do a search at "Score:0" and you will find them if you really want to know.
  • by fingusernames ( 695699 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @05:03PM (#9564630) Homepage
    NAC's *former* client apparently obtained portable IP space from ARIN over *FIFTEEN* months ago, and is leaving NAC *voluntarily*. Yet, now they want to force NAC to give up some of NAC's assigned IP space, which NAC obtained from ARIN in order to provide services to NAC clients. 45 days may not be a lot of time for a 'truly large network' but how about over FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY days?

    Their former client is an utter asshole. They simply don't want to be responsible and make the effort to renumber their network, and want to use the lack of clue possessed by the legal system to their advantage, to cover up their own incompetence, and to steal from NAC. Their goal is not a "temporary" restraining order but rather a permanent judgement re-allocating the IP space. They are trying to assert property rights in it.

    NAC pays for that IP space. NAC has to handle complaints about it. NAC has to manage routing issues. NAC has only a limited amout of IP space with which to service their customers. And most importantly, NAC DOES NOT OWN that space. ARIN merely assigned it to them, under an agreement which forbids NAC to do what the court has ordered.

    Were I NAC, I would simply do as the court orders because doing otherwise is dangerous. And I would bill the former client for every last second spent on this, as well as a fee for handling any and all potential administration of the netblock (spam and other complaints, administrative email/contacts, so on), and of course a proportional share of the yearly ARIN fees. While fighting this.

    What asswipes.

  • Don't you already? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Fortran IV ( 737299 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @09:22PM (#9566835) Journal
    When 5+4 ZIP code extensions came out way back when, somebody in the national media suggested ditching the entire ZIP system and using the other 9-digit number you already had - your Social Security number - as your mailing address.

    Fortunately for the 3 tons of bulk mail everybody receives each year, nobody took him seriously.
  • Bring on IPv6 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CypherOz ( 570528 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @11:46PM (#9567751) Journal
    We are now seeing the death throws of IPv4. IPv4 is beyond use by date, just that we have not woken up yet. IPv6 will hit in a big bang for the following reasons: 1. Asian address demand, particularly China (population) who are REALLY pissed that they don't have a Class A address 2. G3 Mobile devices Once the need for REAL IP addresses (not NATed) for home use and G3 devices then *everyone* will be screaming for IPv6.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas