mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

A law for everything...

via Drudge, I come to learn that there is a law that restricts colleges from banning wireless routers and access points in certain dorms. The FCC requirement allows colleges that own their own dorm buildings to restrict the devices, but not those that are leased. The leasing is an issue because many state colleges can't build dorms, because there are restrictions that bonds used for education can only be used for educational buildings, not for dorms. Since the schools need the dorms, they let private companies build them and lease them themselves or lease them to the school. The school will in some cases still provide network access.

The fact that the laws are so specific and convoluted annoys me, but the fact that the FCC can prohibit a voluntary contract between the college and it's students that they can't do certain things in private property annoys me more.

I work at a college, and students with wireless routers in dorms can create a bunch of problems. First of all, we've had students plug them in backwards (plugging the network connection into one of the router ports intead of the WAN port) resulting on the router trying to assign private 192 ip addresses to nearby student computers - preventing them from hitting the network. The second problem is security - we can't easily see machines behind hardware firewalls like those in routers, so we can't always find a machine that is spewing a virus - which can create huge security risks, especially with fast spreading viruses like Blaster.

I'm guessing/hoping that this is an unintened consequence of the law, but it shows you what happens when the government starts regulating every aspect of your life.


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