[CLUG-chat] (ZA) Illegal Wireless ISP operators put users at risk

Simon Cross hodgestar at gmail.com
Thu Nov 16 22:59:13 SAST 2006

On 11/16/06, Bretton Vine <bretton at hivemind.net> wrote:
> Simon Cross said the following on 2006/11/16 02:14 AM:
> > Or if he lives next door, putting an ethernet cable through his
> > window.
> Yes, but traditionally this wasn't allowed in terms of the
> Telecommunications Act of 96 (plus amendments)

My point was that any of these were legal, but that there exists a
wide variety of equivalent data tranfer mechanisms which while employ
variety means, all achieve the same end effect. Thus outlawing the end
effect (i.e. data transfer across property boundaries) is

> The ECA Act (dealing with conversion/convergence etc) is supposed to fix all
> those little snarfu's that exist. But the only mechanism they've provided is
> for those who are currently legal (as in followed the existing process) to
> convert their licenses under the new process. There isn't really a model to
> start from 'licensing scratch'. This is a major problem. Plus there are
> multiple Acts at odds with each other from FICA stuff to PAIA to RICA all of
> which impact on licensees (and illegal operators) of networks.

No act which doesn't include a TOE (Theory of Everything) is going to
successfully cover data transfer and "those little snarfus".

There are multiple acts precisely because meaningfully legislating
data transfers is an impossible task. So as each act inevitably fails,
it has to be patched with further acts. The best bet is to have acts
which legislate sets of similar data transfer *mechanisms* and don't
substantially overlap.

> > Or using a data projector to put an imagine up on his wall. Or
> > pointing a speaker playing music with an encoded data stream in his
> > direction.
> Technically it's illegal to do that unless the provision of the service was
> done by a licensed organisation. Traditionally Telkom alone, now any of the
> variety of big name licensees who paid fortunes for that right.

See reply to first comment.

> > Until the law reflects these equivalences, the law is not going to make
> > sense.
> Law doesn't make sense anyway. That's why it's so dependant on
> interpretation and precedent, where in fact common sense would generally
> prevail.

Law needs to at least broadly make sense if it's going to be
consistently interpreted and respected. Just because it can't be
perfect doesn't mean we should try to make it good. I barely consider
this kind of point worth responding to.

> > Instead of a grandiose telecommunications act, I'd rather see a bunch
> > of smaller acts, each dealing with a small set of similar transfer
> > mechanisms.
> Yes, but having gone through the process of making legislation in part
> myself, I have a small bit of sympathy for those who do it all day long.
> Less legislation (or more in one Bill/Act) means less work.

Programming wisdom says difficult problems are most efficiently
handled by breaking them up into sensible modules.

I appreciate that there's a fair amount of overhead in order to get a
bill passed into law and that this encourages larger bills, but this
is hardly an excuse for trying to hammer everything into the same
shaped hole. It's perfectly possible to create five different pieces
of legislation, stample them together at the end of the drafting
process and have them passed as a single act while retaining complete
modularization internally.


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