The InfoSec Blog
1Dec/09

The wedge gets thicker

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10405824-83.html
http://news.zdnet.co.uk/communications/0,1000000085,39909136,00.htm
http://community.zdnet.co.uk/blog/0,1000000567,10014530o-2000331761b,00.htm

The thin edge of the wedge was when pubs were fined or letting patrons get drunk, drunk enough that they shouldn't drive.

Now that wedge is being driven further.

Like so many laws it seemed reasonable.
Gone are the days before personal automotive transport when a drunk patron would have to walk home, possibly stumbling into a ditch here he would cause no harm; where his horse would guide him safely home or where he could even hail a Hansom Cab.

No, now he has a weapon, every bit as deadly as a machine pistol.
Check the statistics. There are more road deaths in the USA than through shootings. The figure in the UK where this incident occurred are even more dramatic.

Its reasonable to assume that a publican can see if a patron is getting drunk. Maybe its too busy to track what each patron consumes, but the public seemed to think its reasonable that a publican can identify someone who is clearly inebriated and reuse to serve him.

So the UK passed a law to that effect. All well and good.
It may be worth looking to see what effect that had on road deaths.

But this case isn't quite the same. The publican can't see an approve each network request patrons make via their 'hot spot' service.
Certainly not in real time.

Its one thing for an ISP to block access to dubious sites, after all, connectivity is the ISP's full time job. But asking this of the operator of a 'hot spot' is a bit much.

The second article is interesting in that it points out that even if the records of activity are kept they only identify the 'hot spot':

Edwards pointed out that, even if the sanctions proposed in the Digital Economy Bill come into force, "no-one will know who [the downloader] was, because the IP address that will show up [upon investigation] will be of the hotspot". She added that the rights holder seeking infringers of their copyright would probably not know that the IP address in question was not that of a subscriber.

Note that last sentence. I may be legally entitled to download some copyrighted material, but if I use a 'hot spot' who is to know?

Well maybe.
Not all 'hot spot' services are truly open-access. Some require a login to a front-end (see http://maps.fon.com). Services at hotels are like that. But pubs?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Posted by Anton Aylward

Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)

No comments yet.


Leave a comment

No trackbacks yet.