What is a "communication" (was Re: sorry, but ...
Caspar Bowden (travelling)
tharg at gmx.net
Tue Jul 31 14:09:48 BST 2012
On 07/31/2012 11:15 AM, Roland Perry wrote:
> That's over-analysing the situation. And in any event a transmission by
> TCP/IP involves a handshake, so the message is provably partly received
> even before the transmission has complete.
>> The RIPA word is "communication" not message (my fault), and I do not
>> think the communication (as opposed to the packets or bits) is received
>> until it has all reached some destination.
> A communication is a flow of information, not a lump of information...
If I may, I wanted to fork the thread here to focus on what we mean by a
communication, in the sense of the logical level of the protocol stack.
It always seemed to me that "communication" had to be interpreted as a
transmission of information at an arbitrary *logical* layer of the
stack(s) - it might mean an e-mail, or a web page, or an IM, or a phone
call, or an SMS etc. If a hacker was communicating by port-knocking, it
might mean a datagram.
So the interpretation of communication w.r.t. to whether something is
internal or external, would not be affected by e.g. whether any dropped
packets as part of an email message were received by a random router
outside the UK (and perhaps "made available" to a engineer looking at a
log file), but whether the (intended) sender and receiver are both in
That was another major motivation for the probing of s.16(3) resulting
in Bassam's letter. The logic is that ECHR would prohibit discrimination
by nationality (unlike US law like FISA), so the discrimination between
mass and targeted surveillance occurs according to the internal/external
criterion. In a packet switched network, that criterion only makes sense
if you focus on the location of the sender and intended receiver, at any
given logical layer. So the S.16(3) probing was intended to force the
govt. to acknowledge "if that's what you want, then this is what is
going to happen"
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