Neutral Charge provides a free list of network ranges that are known to be associated with the US Government. The list includes:
- USG: Network ranges operated by the United States Government.
- GSE: Network ranges operated by Government Sponsored Enterprises and Government Enterprises. These are independent businesses that were created by the USG. They include financial services corporation, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as the US Postal Service.
- FFRDC: Network ranges operated by Federally Funded Research and Development Centers. These organizations are primarily sponsored and funded by the U.S. Government. They include Los Alamos National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the RAND Corporation.
- CTR: Network ranges operated by organizations that are almost exclusively US Government Contractors. (Almost everything they do is done with government oversight and gets billed back to the government.) This includes companies like SAIC, Leidos, and even "US Sprint, Government Systems Division".
Since the US Government is responsible for the lack of net neutrality and for the additional cost of accessing data online, they should be held responsible for any added costs. This is basic business: companies typically pass added costs back to the clients that created the added costs. In this case, the US Government is responsible for all current and future expenses related to the lack of net neutrality, so the government should pay for the added expenses.
The list is provided as a text file containing the start of the network address range, end of the range, country, category (USG, GSE, or FFRDC), and a text field about the range.
- This list comes from publicly available information. It includes public data from WHOIS and ASN registrations. It is augmented with data from MaxMind. (MaxMind requires this statement: This product includes GeoLite data created by MaxMind, available from http://www.maxmind.com.) The MaxMind data is distrubuted under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The US Government registration data is public domain.
- This list does not change often; typically once a month. Automated systems should not download it more than once a week. If you repeatedly and rapidly download the list, then you will be banned for an hour. Repeated bans result in a ban for a few days.
The file uses a variation of the comma separated value (CSV) format, with "|" separating fields. Lines beginning with "#" are comments.
To use the list:
- Download and cache the list. The cache should be good for at least a week; automated systems should check weekly for updates.
- Parse the list. For example, if you only want to penalize USG and not FFRDC organizations, then you can filter the list as needed.
- Depending on how you parse network addresses, you may want to convert these text strings to numeric values.
- When your web service sees a network address, it should consult the list. Any network address that is greater-than or equal-to (≥) the start address and less-than or equal-to (≤) the end address matches the address range.
How to use it
So what can you do with this list?
Well, web site developers can use this list to check if someone from the government or a related entity is accessing their site. Then they can implement an appropriate action. For example, they could:
- Ads: Display many more ads to government users. Since the government's stance on net neutrality is responsible for increases in operational costs, use ads to recoup those fees!
- Speed: Bandwidth costs money. And since the government is responsible for increases in operating costs, slow down their network access in order to reduce the financial impact from their network access.
- Fast-lane: If you slowed them down, then offer the government an option to pay for a faster service.
- Commercial: Government networks are paid for by taxpayer dollars. By definition, they cannot be used for personal use. (Nobody in the Government can legally use taxpayer dollars for personal gain.) If they are accessing a site that is intended for non-commercial or personal use, then redirect them to your paid commercial offering.
- Protest: You have the right to protest. Put up a big banner telling them that you want net neutrality. Make them click through a dozen acknowledgments or solve a bunch of captchas before granting them access to the service or content.
These are not the only ideas. Be creative, but also obey the laws. (Just because they come from a government network does not grant you permission to send them a virus or attack their system or do other malicious actions.)
The idea is not
to stop regular people from accessing government sites. Rather, we want to impact government people who try to access public sites. If enough government employees are impacted, then maybe they will put pressure on Congress or the FCC to reinstate net neutrality.