Source Directed Access Control on the Internet
RFC 2057

Document Type RFC - Informational (November 1996; No errata)
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Network Working Group                                         S. Bradner
Request for Comments: 2057                            Harvard University
Category: Informational                                    November 1996

             Source Directed Access Control on the Internet

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  This memo
   does not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of
   this memo is unlimited.

1.  Abstract

   This memo was developed from a deposition that I submitted as part of
   a challenge to the Communications Decency Act of 1996, part of the
   Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996.  The Telecommunications Reform
   Act is a U.S. federal law substantially changing the regulatory
   structure in the United States in the telecommunications arena.  The
   Communications Decency Act (CDA) part of this law has as its aim the
   desire to protect minors from some of the material carried over
   telecommunications networks.  In particular the law requires that the
   sender of potentially offensive material take "effective action" to
   ensure that it is not presented to minors.  A number of people have
   requested that I publish the deposition as an informational RFC since
   some of the information in it may be useful where descriptions of the
   way the Internet and its applications work could help clear up
   confusion in the technical feasibility of proposed content control
   regulations.

2.  Control and oversight over the Internet

   No organization or entity operates or controls the Internet.  The
   Internet consists of tens of thousands of local networks linking
   millions of computers, owned by governments, public institutions,
   non-profit organizations, and private companies around the world.
   These local networks are linked together by thousands of Internet
   service providers which interconnect at dozens of points throughout
   the world.  None of these entities, however, controls the Internet;
   each entity only controls its own computers and computer networks,
   and the links allowed into those computers and computer networks.

   Although no organizations control the Internet, a limited number of
   organizations are responsible for the development of communications
   and operational standards and protocols used on the Internet.  These
   standards and protocols are what allow the millions of different (and
   sometimes incompatible) computers worldwide to communicate with each

Bradner                      Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 2057             Source Directed Access Control        November 1996

   other.  These standards and protocols are not imposed on any computer
   or computer network, but any computer or computer network must follow
   at least some of the standards and protocols to be able to
   communicate with other computers over the Internet.

   The most significant of the organizations involved in defining these
   standards include the Internet Society (ISOC), the Internet
   Architecture Board (IAB), Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG),
   and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).   The following
   summary outlines the relationship of these four organizations:

   The Internet Society (ISOC) is a professional society that is
   concerned with the growth and evolution of the worldwide Internet,
   with the way in which the Internet is and can be used, and with the
   social, political, and technical issues which arise as a result.  The
   ISOC Trustees are responsible for approving appointments to the IAB
   from among the nominees submitted by the IETF nominating committee
   and ratifying the IETF Standards Process.

   The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is a technical advisory group
   of the ISOC.  It is chartered to provide oversight of the
   architecture of the Internet and its protocols, and to serve, in the
   context of the Internet standards process, as a body to which the
   decisions of the IESG may be appealed.  The IAB is responsible for
   approving appointments to the IESG from among the nominees submitted
   by the IETF nominations committee and advising the IESG on the
   approval of Working Group charters.

   The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) is responsible for
   technical management of IETF activities and the Internet standards
   process.  As a part of the ISOC, it administers the process according
   to the rules and procedures which have been ratified by the ISOC
   Trustees.  The IESG is directly responsible for the actions
   associated with entry into and movement along the Internet "standards
   track," including final approval of specifications as Internet
   Standards.

   The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is a self-organized group
   of people who make technical and other contributions to the
   engineering and evolution of the Internet and its technologies.  It
   is the principal body engaged in the development of new Internet
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