North American Network Operators Group

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Re: What's going on?

  • From: Matt Wallace
  • Date: Fri Apr 18 19:27:59 1997

On Thu, 17 Apr 1997, Sanjay Dani wrote:

> >Some of the mail seems to be holding us partially culpable
> >for the spam.  I'm happy to report that the other ISP is taking
> >action against the spam complaint, but I don't know of any
> >interpretation of Netiquette that condemns commercial WWW sites.
> >I don't know that I'd favor an abuse policy that encompasses
> >WWW sites, even if they are listed elsewhere in spam mailings,
> Where does one draw the line? The phone company that gives
> phone service to the email spammer, the gazillion dollar
> software and hardware companies that sell their pc/email/browser
> products to the spammers? Break into them? It is easy to
> imagine the company some of the extermist anti-spammers
> would be keeping, at this rate.

You draw the line at what is clearly abuse of legitimate resources. Mail
has a legitimate purpose. Browsers and phone company access can be used
in 'legitimate' ways. Unsolicited commercial email on the Internet is
an attack which makes unauthorized use of resources belonging to other
people to offset advertising cost. Netscape sells its browser to everyone,
and it never intended to have it used for spamming, any more than Eric
intended sendmail to be used for it. (Quite the contrary, of course, I
would assume.)

The unsolicited email is generally obnoxious and distasteful. You won't
see pornography advertisements under your windshield wiper when you come
out from shopping. And the fact that the "spammers" hide their origin
as cleverly as they can is the final piece of illegitimacy. There is
legitimate and illegitimate use of resources, and spam is illegitimate.
Whether to fight fire with fire is another question entirely, but the
blame for spam clearly falls on the spammers themselves, and I would not
have any sympathy for a SYN flooded web page advertised via spam.

Matt Wallace
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