Firewalls set to become illegal in many American states

AN INTERESTING PIECE of news has surfaced that will have sys admins fainting in disbelief. Eight states have put forward bills that would have a devastating effect on network security and even networks themselves if they come to pass. The wording in the bills is dumb enough that firewalls could become illegal.

The news about the bills was brought to our attention by Edward Felten, more famous for having a go at a different Bill. The states in question are Texas, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alaska, Tennessee and Colorado. The proposed legislation is intended to extend the much loathed Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Felten is definitely used to legal issues, having presented evidence against Microsoft in the antitrust trial. According to his news article on Freedom to Tinker, the various states bills all require the banning the use of any technology that conceals "the existence or place of origin or destination of any communication." It doesn't take much to think that firewalls, routers, network address translators and many other pieces of standard kit all do exactly that. Unless the bills are radically changed, the Internet could effectively become useless in those states.

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News source: The Inq

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