[arin-ppml] A Brief History Lesson

Ronald F. Guilmette rfg at tristatelogic.com
Thu May 16 02:19:27 EDT 2019


The events of this week bring up some history that I feel compelled to
mention.

For those of you too young to remember, there was a quite similar situation
that arose about 11 years ago now.  Unfortunately, and for reasons that I
will necessarily have to defer to others to explain, the final outcome that
case was quite dramatically different.  No federal charges were filed, the
perps were allowed to walk, and they were even given an entire ARIN /18 in
return for their time and trouble.
 
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2008/04/a_case_of_network_identity_the_1.html
 
I felt then and I feel now that the final outcome in that case from 11 years
ago was a travesty.  But it was an earlier and more naive time, and the
address blocks involved in that case were "legacy" blocks, which arguably
made the legal situation rather different, and certainly more fraught and
complex, legally speaking.  But the underlying fraud in that case was,
arguably, every bit as egregious as it has been in the present (Micfo) case.
I mean after all, which is worse?  Creating an utterly fictitious "sock
puppet" company in order to fradulently obtain resources, or simply finding
a guy... or a company... who has died and then assuming his identity,
moving into his house, wearing his clothes, and pretending to be him when
you waltz into the bank and try to take control of his bank account?
 
Either one should, if done in conjunction with electronic communications,
result in federal wire fraud charges.  This week it did, which is entirely
gratifying.  Eleven years ago it didn't, which was deeply disappointing to
me at the time.
 
I can only hope, going forward, that ARIN really is now committed to doing
what I feel is -both- it's civic duty -and- also what is in the ARIN own
clear best interests, i.e. to nail all of these bastards that attempt to
defraud it, with neither fear nor favor, and in an consistant and even
handed across-the-board manner.

As we have now seen, vividly, in this (Micfo) case, there are literally
millions of dollars of property at stake here, and ARIN cannot, I think,
continue to maintain an aloof "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil"
attitude on these things.  That attitude, and that legal posture, clearly
amounts to a "kick me" sign taped to ARIN's back.  And as has been well
and truly demonstrated by this week's revelations, criminals everywhere
are only to too happy to oblige.

And for those of you wondering if we have now seen that last of such events
or such situations, let me just say no, this Micfo case is not and will not
be the last such case.

Traditionally, ARIN's strategy for defense of its member's best interests
has heavily favored the avoidance of even the vague prospect of litigation
at all costs.  I believe that the events of this week, and of eleven years
ago, have put that strategy to the test and have found it wanting.  Ignoring
problems like this only fosters more problems like this.  The turtle, with
its ability to tuck its head and limbs into a protective shell is a marvel
of evolution, but it is no match for financially motivated attackers.

In short, I hope that ARIN will, in light of recent events, adopt a more
forward leaning legal posture, and that it will no longer simply allow
things like this to just slide, as it has traditionally done in the past.
The world has changed, the stakes are much different and much higher now,
and just sitting back and turning the other cheek is not, I would argue,
a viable or defensible strategy for the defense of the membership's best
interests, going forward.


Regards,
rfg


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