ISPs need more oversight and regulation

The Internet service provider industry is a rats and mice business that needs greater regulation and oversight said Alastair MacGibbon, former director of trust and safety at eBay, and prior to that, the former director of the High Tech Crime Centre.

Speaking at this week's AusCERT security conference, held on the Gold Coast, MacGibbon says that ISPs have gotten away with "blue murder" for too long.

"They have gotten away with it without caring who they are dealing with, or what is transmitted across their networks," he said.

"The Internet should not be a wild west."

According to MacGibbon, ISPs should be subject to know your customer legislation, just as banks and telecommunications companies are required to know who they are dealing with.

"They need to know their customer, and take more responsibility both on a registration level, and also on a technical and educational level," he said.

He said that it is not acceptable that the Internet is such an unregulated place, a statement that is in stark contrast to comments made by ICANN CEO and president, Paul Twomey.

During his keynote, Twomey said that the greatest threat to the Internet isn't cybercrime, but excessive legislation by nation states that what to apply the laws of geography to a network that is essentially based on topology.

MacGibbon acknowledged his difference of opinion with Twomey, saying that ICANN does a good job, but that it takes too long to do it.

The recent moves to add new top level domains, for example, have taken several years, and guidelines are unlikely to be established for several months yet.

MacGibbon said it's unreasonable that anyone can become an ISP.

"If I was running a food store the local council would inspect my operations," he said. "But there's no one overseeing ISPs."

"The system needs fundamental change, and the time for that change is now," he said.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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