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Weekend Gedankenexperiment - The Kill Switch

No - at least some links were still up. I saw both IPVPNs and leased lines still working during the event.


-----Original Message-----
From: "Ryan Finnesey" <ryan.finnesey at HarrierInvestments.com>
Date: Sat, 5 Feb 2011 23:58:35 
To: Fred Baker<fred at cisco.com>; Hayden Katzenellenbogen<hayden at nextlevelinternet.com>
Cc: NANOG list<nanog at nanog.org>
Subject: RE: Weekend Gedankenexperiment - The Kill Switch

Does anyone know when they took down connectivity in Egypt did they also
bring down the MPLS networks global companies use?


-----Original Message-----
From: Fred Baker [mailto:fred at cisco.com] 
Sent: Saturday, February 05, 2011 9:43 AM
To: Hayden Katzenellenbogen
Cc: NANOG list
Subject: Re: Weekend Gedankenexperiment - The Kill Switch

On Feb 4, 2011, at 9:49 PM, Hayden Katzenellenbogen wrote:

> Not sure if it has been said already but wasn't one of the key point 
> for the creation of the internet to create and infrastructure that 
> would survive in the case of all out war and massive destruction. 
> (strategic nuclear strikes)

Urban legend, although widely believed. Someone probably made the

> Does it not bode ill for "national security" if any party could take 
> out a massive communication system by destroying/pressuring a few 
> choke points?

You mean, like drop a couple of trade towers and take out three class
five switches, causing communication outages throughout New England and
New Jersey, and affecting places as far away as Chicago?

Nope. Couldn't happen.

More seriously, yes, one could in fact take out any connectivity one
wants by withdrawing routes (which is reportedly what Egypt did), and if
you hit enough interchange points that could get serious.

At the risk of sounding naive and pollyanna-ish, we have a few more of
those interchange points in the US than they have in Egypt. In theory,
yes. Making it actually happen could be quite an operation.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: JC Dill [mailto:jcdill.lists at gmail.com]
> Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 11:39 PM
> To: NANOG list
> Subject: Re: Weekend Gedankenexperiment - The Kill Switch
>  On 03/02/11 10:38 PM, Paul Ferguson wrote:
>> And as an aside, governments will always believe that that they can
> control
>> the flow of information, when push comes to shove.
>> This has always been a hazard, and will always continue to be so.
>> As technologists, we need to be cognizant of that fact.
> In the US, by accident (surely not by design) we are lucky that our 
> network of networks does not have the convenient 4 chokepoints that 
> the Egyptian network had, making it easy for the government to shut 
> off the entier internet by putting pressure on just 4 companies.
> Where we *really* need to be fighting this battle is in the laws and 
> policies that are producing a duopoly in much of the US where 
> consumers have 2 choices, the ILEC for DSL or their local cableco for 
> Cable Internet.  As theses companies push smaller competing ISPs out 
> of business, and as they consolidate (e.g. Cablecos buying each other 
> up, resulting in fewer and fewer cablecos over time), we head down the

> direction of Egypt, where pressure on just a few companies CAN shut 
> down
> the entire internet.  Otherwise we end up with a few companies that 
> will
> play Visa and PayPal and roll over and play dead when a government 
> official says "Wikileaks is bad" - and equally easily will shut down 
> their entire networks for "national security".
> If you *really* believe that the TSA is effective, you would be in 
> favor
> of an Internet Kill Switch.  If you understand that this is really 
> security theater, and despite all the inconvenience we aren't really 
> any
> safer, then you should equally be very concerned that someone ever has

> the power to order that the internet be "shut down" for our safety.
> jc