What to do about companies breaking our terms of service


I joined the pool to provide time to open source projects, non-commercial projects, private persons and small businesses. I must admit that I get annoyed when I see the misuse of the pool documented in various posts by companies such as Blackberry and TP-Link and I think this in part could be the cause of much of the rise in traffic. I see it as they are stealing valuable network resources.
I would like the project to take a more aggressive stand towards commercial entities and make them support the pool and if not, then publicly shaming them. Another approach could be to reward the good commercial entities by keeping a site with a list of “good guys” and how they contributed.

World-wide pool traffic volume

Barring pathologically stupid usage (see Growing requests to http://north-america.pool.ntp.org/ from Android clients for an example of this), I’m much more inclined to believe that the increase in traffic is mostly the result of three things:

  • A general increase in the importance of accurate timekeeping for purposes such as system security (logs and audit trails are essentially useless unless you have a stable accurate clock producing the timestamps).
  • A significant increase in deployment of distributed applications that need tightly synchronized clocks (cluster computing and large scale distributed storage for example).
  • An increase in the general availability of internet access throughout the world (this mostly just compounds the first two).


Hi @Hedberg – I (at least at times) agree with you.

(I moved this to a new separate topic)

A more aggressive stance will be a bunch of (sustained) effort. With my limited time I think it’s better spent on keeping the system working and making it work better. There’s no technical solution to blocking them, so the only avenue is lots of talking and “lawyer stuff” as needed.

I talk to the people at the Network Time Foundation from time to time and they’d like to help us out; this might be something they could help with.

Another thought I want to leave you with is that the NTP Pool was started to help with this issue and all together as a community I think we’re better equipped than any other community or government entity to deal with it.

Of course there’s a limit to what we can handle, so pushing back on the abuse and “not terms of service compliant” misuse is/will be necessary to keep the service possible. (So, yes – what you said, except I don’t have cycles to work on it).