The Federal Communications Commission has been busy lately attempting to establish a relationship with communications technology providers like Verizon, Comcast (News - Alert), and Cox, pushing a voluntary code last Thursday that would help Internet service providers (ISPs) get rid of botnets. The aforementioned companies, and others like AT&T, CenturyLink, Sprint (News - Alert), and Time Warner Cable, have agreed to make their contribution and stand by the code. It is not clear yet whether the code will make ISPs infringe on their customers' privacy to eradicate botnets or not.
Botnets, as they're called, are giant clusters of computers that have been compromised. These computers can be used at the disposal of a malicious hacker for anything, including flooding a server with packets to bring it offline. Many cases like these have been observed in the past, and it seems like organizations are willing to do everything possible to come up with a way to circumvent this issue and put a stop to it. Our question now: Is it costing ISPs' users their freedoms?
The ISPs who join in the bandwagon have to "take meaningful action" within these departments: education, notification, detection, remediation, and collaboration. By detection, the FCC (News - Alert) wants providers to "identify botnet activity in the ISP's network, obtain information on botnet activity in the ISP's network, or enable end-users to self-determine potential bot infections on their end-user devices." The most curious part of this code involves a "safe list" that the FCC created for all ISPs wishing to participate.
Michael O'Reirdan, a chair of the FCC's CSRIC Working Group 7, said, "It's got a pretty good prospect of being widely adopted. It is in the interests of ISPs to do so. It benefits them to keep their networks free of malware. We are codifying to some extent what they've done already."
Edited by Carrie Schmelkin