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October 11, 2010
I Wish I Was a Little Bit Taller
By Michael Marr
Steven Vaughan-Nichols recently published an article on ZDNet entitled You must be at least this secure to ride on the Internet. It is Steven's position that there should be denial of access to the Internet for those users/computers found to have malware, bots, or other malicious code. This denial would continue until the aforementioned user could prove that they are no longer infected. At first glance, this idea sounds good. However, upon further inspection, it violates the key Internet principle of openness.

Mr. Nichols' suggests that ISPs should take the initiative and restrict access to those users who appear to be infected with malware, viruses, etc. He points out that Comcast has begun to notify their users when suspected of being infected. However, Comcast is the poster child for what happens when you impede the openness of the Internet. In case you missed it, they got into hot water when they restricted peer-to-peer file transfers on their network. Thus, it comes to no surprise that although Comcast may be thinking in parallel with Steven. Unlike Steven, Comcast knows firsthand the ramifications of going beyond simply notifying users of their infection.

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