Computers unwittingly infected with malware and chained together into botnets are a major source of spam and other annoyances. But should ISPs start blocking machines that have been roped into botnets?
Picture by dancoulter
At ZDNet, Liam Tung reports that the Internet Industry Association will push ahead this year with a plan to allow ISPs to temporarily 'quarantine' infected machines from network access, reducing their impact on others until the problem can be fixed. There had been a legal question over whether ISPs could do that without breaching privacy, but the IIA believes that issue has been resolved by a minor clause in the iiNet piracy decision. The code would be voluntary, and isn't likely to be implemented until June, following a period of public consultation.
The arguments for this proposal are pretty solid: users who aren't aware they're part of a botnet are creating a major inconvenience and supporting criminal activity, as well as potentially opening themselves up to much larger bills if they exceed their monthly download limits. The obvious downside is that it extends the ways in which an ISP might monitor customer traffic, but, compared to proposals to impose a mandatory filter of unspecified content on everybody, that seems relatively minor.