Network Working Group Internet Activities Board
Request for Comments: 1087
Ethics and the Internet
Status of this Memo
This memo is a statement of policy by the Internet Activities Board
(IAB) concerning the proper use of the resources of the Internet.
Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
At great human and economic cost, resources drawn from the U.S.
Government, industry and the academic community have been assembled
into a collection of interconnected networks called the Internet.
Begun as a vehicle for experimental network research in the mid-
1970's, the Internet has become an important national infrastructure
supporting an increasingly widespread, multi-disciplinary community
of researchers ranging, inter alia, from computer scientists and
electrical engineers to mathematicians, physicists, medical
researchers, chemists, astronomers and space scientists.
As is true of other common infrastructures (e.g., roads, water
reservoirs and delivery systems, and the power generation and
distribution network), there is widespread dependence on the Internet
by its users for the support of day-to-day research activities.
The reliable operation of the Internet and the responsible use of its
resources is of common interest and concern for its users, operators
and sponsors. Recent events involving the hosts on the Internet and
in similar network infrastructures underscore the need to reiterate
the professional responsibility every Internet user bears to
colleagues and to the sponsors of the system. Many of the Internet
resources are provided by the U.S. Government. Abuse of the system
thus becomes a Federal matter above and beyond simple professional
IAB Statement of Policy
The Internet is a national facility whose utility is largely a
consequence of its wide availability and accessibility.
Irresponsible use of this critical resource poses an enormous threat
to its continued availability to the technical community.
The U.S. Government sponsors of this system have a fiduciary
responsibility to the public to allocate government resources wisely