Honestly, I agree. The penalties exacted for actually being the party behind a massive DDoS (when it can be proven objectively and conclusively) are not currently nearly severe enough.
Whether or not it's any part of the aggravating party's intent, DDoS's, on a broad scale, almost certainly do KILL PEOPLE.
Were there no middle-aged Xbox Live or PSN users, with already too-high unmanaged blood pressure that experienced a massive (fatal) stroke at the frustrations they experienced with their technology products over the Christmas holidays?
Of course, it IS those peoples' faults as well, in not managing their blood pressure. I'm betting, however, that more than once in DDoS history, has an impacted party's life been cut short (in the straw that broke the camel's back sense) by frustrations arising from the DDoS.
Still, how many depressed kids whose Twitter contacts are their social safety-net had a bad day and in the midst of a Twitter outage committed a suicide that might have been avoided if the service had worked? We can't really know.
It's actually a pretty good idea.
Some proprietary (ISP specific) implementations of similar mechanisms actually exist.
There are numerous ways that you (as ISP) can expose, to your above-average-network-engineering-capabilities-wielding downstream client, a mechanism by which you allow this downstream client to edit an egress filter rule-set on IP traffic headed toward same said downstream client.
I have had such an arrangement with ISPs whereby I can insert a groomed config snippet into my providers' edge routers facing the links to my network via a simple authenticated http call.
This is actually a useful technique as long as you're not target of a really massive attack.
There have to be limits or you run out of router / switch filtering resources or CPU resources (depending on the implementation). If we ignore or resolve those limitations, this works if you have a significant but not massively adopted solution on offer. Where it fails is the point where the traffic trying to get to you is no longer just congesting the links that carry traffic from your ISP to you, but rather now that traffic is so massive that it congests your ISPs upstreams' links into your ISP. It's impractical to have the core backbone maintain these filters, as the size would create a new kind of scale limit in the network. Thus, you're now denied service by way of congesting your ISPs upstream links rather than your ISPs links to you.
Indeed something along that line is what I think the Internet protocol needs. While IP is freely packet-switched and may appear stateless when you glance in the specs, TCP/IP routers and hosts are actually session-based internally and the number of concurrent sessions is limited.
I feel like this is a trap.
You have a creepily low user id. So much so that you probably were around for the beginnings of IP network as a mass-market communications mechanism.
However, I would suggest that your contention that TCP/IP routers (generically speaking) are session based is incorrect. Particularly, this is incorrect with respect to the vast majority of the core internet routing and Layer 3 switching infrastructure as employed by ISPs and carriers. In order to achieve the massive traffic scale that these devices handle, they mostly are stateless forwarders unconcerned with the higher level protocols above IP and unconcerned with maintaining session / state information on the traffic flows through the router/switch. This allows the hardware's specialized ASICs to forward the packets without having to retain any history of "sessions" or spend precious CPU time matching each packet to a session.
Send some sort of ICMP message upstream that indicates your maximum capacity for handling traffic. It's a DOS vector in itself, but you could minimize it.
Umm... No. Any such form of congestion notification, if respected by upstream parties, would certainly reduce traffic to you. The obvious problem, however, is that it will reduce NASTY/BOT traffic as well as LEGITIMATE traffic. So, you send this ICMP message, and the upstreams that hear it kindly shape what's exiting their network toward you? How do they choose from the available packets they have heading toward you what to let through and what to delay/drop? If some giant number N of senders wants to swamp you, it matters little that their ISPs or your ISPs or any transports between them know that they must reduce the traffic toward you. You still have a DDoS, but now it's a self-throttled DDoS, and the upstreams are still dropping or delaying legitimate traffic that you want, only now it happens before the natural limits and instead occurs upon artificial limits. The end result is less traffic hits you, and you still go out of service to most of the world (from the end-user experience perspective), because the senders who are politely throttling can't tell which packets are evil and which packets are sent by the people you want to receive from.