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Stopping net abuse without regulation

By enterfornone in MLP
Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 04:02:11 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

CyberArmy's Statement of Purpose tells up that they are "a group of netizens who believe in a deregulated Internet, which is free from external control. We believe in providing tools to assist others who believe in a free Internet - we support Open Source. We campaign against those who abuse the free nature of the Internet. We believe that spammers, child pornographers, web based scammers, and malicious hackers are enemies of the Internet. We believe that the Internet can be self-regulated, and that we, as equipped and knowledgable netizens, can control and suppress abusers of the Internet, with legal methods, by consolidating together as a united CyberArmy."


It strikes me as bizarre that a group that claims to believe in a free Internet seeks to "control and suppress abusers of the Internet, with legal methods". Is it possible to stop net abuse without regulation, or do we have to accept that if we want freedom we have to take the good with the bad?

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Poll
CyberArmy
o is good, the net should be controlled by users not governments 9%
o is bad, the government should control the net 8%
o is bad, no one should control the net 33%
o is bad, it's just a scam to sell t-shirts and mouse mats 25%
o is bad, cos they don't have a Beautiful Grey Bar (tm) 23%

Votes: 86
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o CyberArmy
o Statement of Purpose
o Also by enterfornone


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Stopping net abuse without regulation | 20 comments (19 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
These guys sound like idiots (4.00 / 15) (#1)
by _cbj on Fri Jan 19, 2001 at 08:19:19 PM EST

Free from external regulation but not from internal, arbitrary regulation? A totally free net without any kid porn, scammers or malicious (one man's poison) hackers? A manifesto opening with the blithe declaration "[t]he Internet was formed without government help"?

Regulate the teenage wankfests, I say. Embarrassing. Those jerks need to get laid.

On the general question, I'm in favour of government regulation on the simple (defeatist?) rationale that "someone will always regulate it" and I'd much rather it was The People (i.e., elected governments) than Disney.

Regulation (none / 0) (#9)
by Kaa on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 11:11:31 AM EST

I'm in favour of government regulation on the simple (defeatist?) rationale that "someone will always regulate it" and I'd much rather it was The People (i.e., elected governments) than Disney.

Being real simple, I still don't understand how Disney is going to regulate me. I understand that corporations can limit my choices by NOT providing the necessary hardware/software/services (by the way, there is an excellent rant by John Gilmore here, highly recommended). But they cannot prevent me from doing my own thing without government intervention. DMCA, for example, is a very ugly thing, but it is (yes, yes, corporate pushed, etc.) government regulation.

Governments have immeasurably more power than corporations. When a government says "frog" you jump (or men with sticks and guns come to provide sufficient incentive). When a corporation says "frog" you yawn and switch off the TV.

P.S. Yes, I've read Lessig's "Code and Other Laws...".

Kaa
Kaa's Law: In any sufficiently large group of people most are idiots.


[ Parent ]

But that's just because they have a monopoly (none / 0) (#10)
by error 404 on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 12:07:26 PM EST

When a government says "frog" you jump (or men with sticks and guns come to provide sufficient incentive). When a corporation says "frog" you yawn and switch off the TV.
That's only because, if the corporation sends men with sticks and guns, the govornment will (as it stands right now) send other men with sticks and guns. In the past, and in other countries, such is not the case. Ref: "goon" "banana republic". The lack of open use of force by companies is far from universal, and historicaly unusual.

What Libertarians (capital "L") tend to ignore is that there are lots of potential regulators, of which a proper government is one of the least odious. Corporations, organized crime, and your Mom are all ready and willing to run your life, and you can't vote them out.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

DOH! (none / 0) (#12)
by error 404 on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 12:11:56 PM EST

Missing "/" in my code closing the block quote. Sorry. Here are a couple of extra block quote closes:
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
But that's just because they have a monopoly (none / 0) (#11)
by error 404 on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 12:09:10 PM EST

When a government says "frog" you jump (or men with sticks and guns come to provide sufficient incentive). When a corporation says "frog" you yawn and switch off the TV.
That's only because, if the corporation sends men with sticks and guns, the govornment will (as it stands right now) send other men with sticks and guns. In the past, and in other countries, such is not the case. Ref: "goon" "banana republic". The lack of open use of force by companies is far from universal, and historicaly unusual.

What Libertarians (capital "L") tend to ignore is that there are lots of potential regulators, of which a proper government is one of the least odious. Corporations, organized crime, and your Mom are all ready and willing to run your life, and you can't vote them out.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Government least odious?! (2.00 / 1) (#13)
by Kaa on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 12:18:58 PM EST

there are lots of potential regulators, of which a proper government is one of the least odious

It is??? Look at the XX century history, just to stay current. Stalin? Hitler? Mao? Khmer Rouge? Did any of these people run a corporation?

And if you think these were not "proper" governments, then I submit to you that "proper" corporations do not do any of these unnice things, either.

Kaa
Kaa's Law: In any sufficiently large group of people most are idiots.


[ Parent ]

"Proper" is relative (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by error 404 on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 06:37:56 PM EST

A proper tiger will eat you if you look tasty and don't take precautions. A proper dog won't.

A proper corporation makes as much money as it can without violating its charter or violating the laws of the relevant jurisdictions. A corporation is answerable to its shareholders, and possibly the govornments of the relevant jurisdictions. Any niceness to customers or other third parties is ruled strictly by the question of whether it benefits the shareholders. Thus, the tobacco companies, depite their effects on society, are proper corporations. The credit bureaus, which were extremely nasty before the current regulations (which reduce them to just "very nasty") went into effect, were proper corporations. The robber baron companies: proper. Bad, but proper. And some of the badness included, literaly, people with sticks and guns coercing people to work. In the early part of the 20'th century, company goons (with the govornment either permitting it explicitly or just refusing to do anything about it) killed people in the United States, on a somewhat regular basis. Laws were needed to bring "proper" and "good" closer together.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not one of these anti-corporate freaks. That simple basis is neccessary for corporations. By focusing on what is profitable, they get incredible things done. If a company had to answer to every conceivable constituancy, it would never get anything done. We need corporations, and we need them profit-focused. But we need to keep them in their place.

A proper govornment is a bit more complicated. But among other things, a proper govornment is answerable to the entire population. And a proper govornment includes mechanisms by which it can be corrected. None of the examples you mention is, in my opinion, a proper govornment. They did not operate on behalf of anywhere near the entire population, and did not include a correction mechanism.

Obviously, the correction mechanisms and the wide responsibility mean that the proper govornment won't be very efficient, won't get much done. That's fine - we have individuals families and companies to get things done. Govornments are for preventing things from getting done.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

"Proper" is relative (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by error 404 on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 06:38:24 PM EST

A proper tiger will eat you if you look tasty and don't take precautions. A proper dog won't.

A proper corporation makes as much money as it can without violating its charter or violating the laws of the relevant jurisdictions. A corporation is answerable to its shareholders, and possibly the govornments of the relevant jurisdictions. Any niceness to customers or other third parties is ruled strictly by the question of whether it benefits the shareholders. Thus, the tobacco companies, depite their effects on society, are proper corporations. The credit bureaus, which were extremely nasty before the current regulations (which reduce them to just "very nasty") went into effect, were proper corporations. The robber baron companies: proper. Bad, but proper. And some of the badness included, literaly, people with sticks and guns coercing people to work. In the early part of the 20'th century, company goons (with the govornment either permitting it explicitly or just refusing to do anything about it) killed people in the United States, on a somewhat regular basis. Laws were needed to bring "proper" and "good" closer together.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not one of these anti-corporate freaks. That simple basis is neccessary for corporations. By focusing on what is profitable, they get incredible things done. If a company had to answer to every conceivable constituancy, it would never get anything done. We need corporations, and we need them profit-focused. But we need to keep them in their place.

A proper govornment is a bit more complicated. But among other things, a proper govornment is answerable to the entire population. And a proper govornment includes mechanisms by which it can be corrected. None of the examples you mention is, in my opinion, a proper govornment. They did not operate on behalf of anywhere near the entire population, and did not include a correction mechanism.

Obviously, the correction mechanisms and the wide responsibility mean that the proper govornment won't be very efficient, won't get much done. That's fine - we have individuals families and companies to get things done. Govornments are for preventing things from getting done.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

On Freedom And Choice (4.00 / 11) (#2)
by AmberEyes on Fri Jan 19, 2001 at 08:31:47 PM EST

Heya,

Freedom has always been, and always will be, a tool that leads to both good and bad. As you put it, the supression of groups with intents that do not gel with the "status quo" is a typical example of the problems that freedom brings.

This brings up touchy subjects such as how deliberate persecution of unpopular groups (like spammers, malicious hackers, child pornographers, and web-based scammers - at least as far as the overall majorities morality is concerned) can eventually lead into sidetracked persecution (for example, adult pornography, or hackers (crackers?) who do not do malicious things, and just happened to have the wrong "Jolly Roger's Guide To Pinging" sitting on his C drive at the wrong time) to other parties, which, while they themselves are not as morally "wrong" (by the status quo's standard) as their predecessors, they are persecuted under guilt by association.

The more vocal and greater populated members of the status quo, while perhaps in agreement to such things as the CyberArmy's Statement Of Purpose, have a duty to protect the rights of those who are unpopular - since, just as you believe you are right in your viewpoints, so do the people who are persecuted.

A society (Internet or real life) with total freedom would, I fear, quickly slip into a decadent state - there is a lot of anger in the world, and anger is a powerful tool for motivation. Because of this, we place limits on freedom - things like how freedom may not cause physical harm to another's person or property, and how inciting riot is not a protected right. This is why we must carefully balance what is freedom and what is not.

However, the abridged version of all the long-winded text above rests as follows: CyberArmy's freedom can be considered freedom as long as you believe in their ideology - and in fact, this is not freedom at all.

-AmberEyes


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
"consolidating together as a united CyberArmy (4.25 / 8) (#3)
by handle on Fri Jan 19, 2001 at 09:22:28 PM EST

God, this sounds like bad dialog from crappy anime.

Loonies, they are (4.30 / 10) (#4)
by imperium on Fri Jan 19, 2001 at 10:34:57 PM EST

They've got a business plan involving doubleclick, a jesus freak at the wheel, and you gain rank doing weird hazing-style tasks or by giving them loads of money. They even offer the whole site for sale for $650,000. Should we have a collection for them, and convert it into www.h4X0r-h311.org just to drive them insane?

[slips into editorial] However, I don't know whether to vote +1 so everyone gets a laugh, or whether to vote -1 and deny them the oxygen of publicity...

x.
imperium

Deregulated? (4.00 / 1) (#5)
by turtleshadow on Sat Jan 20, 2001 at 01:39:10 PM EST

Hmm... I dont want these guys going through my backyard laying cable to circumvent the Capitalist Pigs over at Qwest.

The Internet is now a very large disconnected business of businesses. I doubt these guys will get very far before selling out and becoming lobbyists. -1
Turtleshadow

Interesting... (4.00 / 2) (#6)
by titus-g on Sat Jan 20, 2001 at 10:48:08 PM EST

Zebulun is the world's most in depth, comprehensive online challenge. Set before you is a series of Zebulun challenges. By defeating the Zebulun challenges, you increase your rank in the CyberArmy. The challenges are personalised. While the first few levels can be beaten in a few minutes, higher levels can take months to de feat - but most of cyberarmy.com is hidden deep within the Zebulun levels. The higer level you are, the more control you have over the actual cyberarmy.com server and website. Higher ranks have almost complete control over this website

Apparently this "Zebulun is an online computer security and logic challenge", so not only are they ripe for taking over, but they probably will be soon by the world's BOFH.

Signed up anyway, can't resist challenges or quizzes, took me months to get out of http://www.emode.com

--"Essentially madness is like charity, it begins at home" --

Internet Specific Rules (4.00 / 2) (#7)
by seeS on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 09:32:32 PM EST

The problem with regulation is usually not what it is suppose to stop, but how it is implemented and the interpretation of the "Bad Things". It is so easy to get wrong, though it often takes a government with serious amounts of incompedence (like Australia's) to get it so bad.

Total lack of regulation would be a bad thing on The Internet. I'd say most people would prefer some form of regulation. However it seems bizzare that there is this need to have augmented rules just for The Internet.

Take the old newpaper's favourite, child porno. Most people say, quite correctly, yes it is evil, it should go away, the wierdos that have it should be locked up. But shouldn't the wierdos be locked up if they have it on a website, a set of videos in the cupboard or even a book of photographs. Surely most countries have some legislation already stating this is illegal in general? What do Internet specific laws give that you already don't have?

Ridiculous laws, such as those in Australia, that don't work are worse than no laws. People get a false sense of security and lower their guard thinking all evil of a specific type has largely gone. Some bad guys know the laws don't work, or can be easily side-stepped and now they have an advantage.

A far more sensible way is for governments to essentially say what is illegal in real life is illegal on the internet. There would need to be some changes made, most likely around the juristiction area (where was the crime committed) and of course similar legislation to a phone tap (which already happens in Australia).

That way the law is a lot clearer; you couldn't do that in your house so you cannot do it on the internet. It also means the law is fairer, with the same punishment for the same crime, as a lawbreaker is charged in the same way.
--
Where's a policeman when you need one to blame the World Wide Web?

Why Trade One Tyrant For Another? (3.50 / 2) (#14)
by Logan on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 04:47:20 PM EST

This group seeks to set itself as the authority in control, rather than bring about the anarchy that it pays lip service to. A truly free Internet would not be concerned with "spammers, child pornographers, web based scammers, [or] malicious hackers," not because we would label them as enemies and attempt to coerce them out of existence, but because we would leave it to ourselves to "defend" ourselves from those activities we find displeasing. We implement our own spam filters. We don't seek out child pornography. We display some intelligence and avoid being scammed and hacked. Those that wish to spam, view child pornography, or scam or hack others, would be free to do so, to the best of their own abilities. This is what a free Internet would entail, and those of you that believe such activities should be controlled are dishonoring the word "free" when you use that word in such a context.

If someone, on the other hand, wishes to organize with the intention of freeing the Internet from any control, not just governmental, I'll be all for it. I wish for an Internet where the only controls over the content of information flowing within a network are imposed solely by the provider of that network, and the only controls over the content of information flowing between networks are imposed solely by agreement between the provider of each network. Otherwise, what will I do when my own personal activities are held to be unsufferable by some authority that is not directly involved with or affected by my activities, whether that authority is a government or simply other users of the network?

Truthfully, I view this CyberArmy thing as an immature, powerless group that will probably never accomplish anything significant, but in general I can never support anyone that attempts to promote any form of authoritarianism under the guise of freedom, which I hold very dear. Does anybody have any idea what sort of group might implement the sort of ideals that I endorse?

Logan

Freedom != No Law (none / 0) (#18)
by Paul Dunne on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 04:39:37 AM EST

"Free" does not mean "untrammelled by law". The Internet you want is an outlaw Internet, or rather one that exists in some strange world where there is no law at all. On this planet, we have legal systems, many of them, and it seems self-evident that the Internet should fall under their sway just as TV or radio does. Nothing to do with freedom: unless, that is, you define freedom as the absence of all restraint.
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]
CyberArmy vigilanteism irony aside (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by jabber on Mon Jan 22, 2001 at 06:23:12 PM EST

The only reason that there are problems on the net is the fact that the "creeps" have no satisfying place to go. Why do children stumble across porn when doing homework (besides the fact that they're looking for porn while they should be studying)? It's because the pornographers have no place else to go, other than the same .com domains that all the search engines include by default.

This can be remedied by (say it with me, won't you?) more Top Level Domains. A .sex, or .porn, set especially aside for those who want to make money by selling blue pics, would both make them easily filtered by those not interested, and easily found by those interested.

Nobody gives porn away for free on a large scale, in an organized manner. Large porn sites are businesses, no two ways about it. They WANT to be easily found since they can't profit in obscurity. If they had a place to go, they would willingly go there. This is a 'self-policing' model. A bunch of opinionated knee-jerkers with port-scanners and strong opinions forming up a posse is just too 'Mad Max' to take.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

But how will you enforce it? (none / 0) (#19)
by teferi on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 08:17:45 AM EST

The problem with the otherwise good idea of putting material such as that in its own TLDs is how do you ensure that providers of such content only -use- those TLDs? With the international nature of the Internet, it becomes difficult or impossible to pass laws requiring providers to do so, and relying on their goodwill and respect for others is...not likely to work. People have been tossing this around since the first pr0n went up on the net (or at least since the Concerned Parents of America found it :P) Not saying it isn't a good idea, just that making it stick would be difficult.

[ Parent ]
Maybe, but it seems the natural thing (none / 0) (#20)
by jabber on Tue Jan 23, 2001 at 11:11:20 AM EST

It's been said here before, probably by me. :)

Pornographers do it for the money. They want to attract customers. They will willingly stick to a TLD which makes their sites easy to find by potential customers - and easy to avoid by people who would like to shut them down for popping up unexpectedly.

If Joe Blow wants to look at nudie pics, all he has to do is go to any site with a .sex in the URL. If a pious moralist wants to avoid porn, all they have to do is NOT go into the .sex TLD. It really is that simple. The pornographers will willingly segregate themselves into an easily managed area of the net, if given the freedom to do business once there.

The only reason porno sites hide behind innocuous domain names or IP address only URLs is to get around usage policies of their hosting companies. They have to sneak around because other customers of the hosting service don't want to be near them, and the end-users will make a big stink about it.

If the 'shame' of porn is confined into a liberal space, the issue will go away. Think of it in terms of Blockbuster. If porn didn't have it's own policed section, it would be on the shelf next to children's cartoons. It would have to blend in and hide, else Blockbuster would lose money and refuse to carry them. Since they have their own little room, they are free to put all the T&A on the cover that they want. They are selling to a willing audience, once they're in that little room.

There is a boon for ISPs here as well. They could provide tiered access, like the cable companies. You can get the 'family' service, with one set of simple firewall rules (no .sex domains, period) or you can get the full access which is unfiltered, or some package in between.. Just like cable subscription.. You can get the Disney package, the HBO package, the Playboy channel.. And it's all willful, so there aren't any shows that throw in explicit sex to entice the viewer - except on channels you specifically requested access to.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Stopping net abuse without regulation | 20 comments (19 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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