[e2e] 0% NAT - checkmating the disconnectors

David P. Reed dpreed at reed.com
Tue Mar 14 05:55:00 PST 2006

Saikat Guha wrote:
> I know this is an antagonistic thing to say, but while you can guarantee
> some "freedom" (of speech) at the transport layer, e2e suggests there is
> little value in doing so.
I don't care about antagonism - I care about careful thinking: Don't 
twist my words.   I was not suggesting (and would never suggest) 
"guaranteeing" anything at the transport layer - freedom of speech or 
anything else.   I was suggesting that the transport layer of the 
Internet was an inappropriate layer to attempt to enforce 
application-level policies.  Note I said the Internet.  Hence my point 
that the structural definition of the Internet is that it is the 
collective agreement of many nets to carry each others' traffic.

I cited the court cases, not to prove any point about the Internet, but 
to illustrate that there are subtleties in the issues we are discussing 
that relate to "rights" which are never absolute, and which are always 
competing with each other in context.  Hushaphone focuses on the rights 
of owners.   Carterfone focuses on social good (antitrust) and the right 
of the public to be protected from bad actions by monopolies (in its 
case a government-controlled and granted monopoly, rather than one 
earned by economic competition).   Our legal system in the US has many 
aspects that are weighed by the courts - since the antitrust argument 
was not invoked in Hushaphone, the Hushaphone company lost its bid to 
offer add-on products (under that portion of the law).

Separate from the law is a set of issues related to desirable policies 
(perhaps implemented by revisions of the law, either by statute or 
common law precedent - but as we computer scientists understand, the law 
is an implementation of policy - the same policy can be achieved by many 
implementation techniques).

The end-to-end arguments are predominantly arguments about architecture, 
and the Internet was designed around an architecture of cooperation and 
moving special functions to the edges as a means to implement the policy 
goals of a single world-wide unified network and of capability for 
incorporating unanticipated innovation (both below the neck of the 
hourglass in AS's and above it in applications).

The "rights" of network owners begin and end at the right to connect to 
the Internet (and to be accespted by the Internet as an AS).   As I 
said, the network owner is not entitled by any rule I know of to be 
allowed to transport Internet traffic - so the remedy for not meeting 
the specs of the Internet should be disconnection (total and complete), 
also known as "routing around damage".

If there were an actual law that guaranteed a network owner the right to 
carry traffic and to earn the related profits, that would conflict with 
the Internet's architectural assumptions.  In the original Internet 
design, we ignored such networks - attempting to include them was a 
waste of time and technical effort.

Perhaps we should revisit that design choice.   But in doing so, it 
would be wise to avoid assuming that such a state of affairs is so 
important that it must distort the Internet architecture and its primary 
goal of providing universal network-of-networks functionality.

The very reason pipsqueaks like Verizon are calling for franchise laws 
that exclude competitors is to disrupt the impact the Internet threatens 
to their business merely by providing competition.  That's because the 
Internet works well, not because it works poorly.

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