North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Spam Control Considered Harmful

  • From: Barry Shein
  • Date: Tue Oct 28 13:58:11 1997

On October 28, 1997 at 09:41 [email protected] (David Mercer) wrote:
 > Yes, right now the techniques Paul has used are for blocking his notion of
 > Spam, a certifiable Bad Thing(tm).  What is to prevent, say, China from
 > requiring all ISP operators to take an "Anti-Party" Black-Hole Feed,
 > blocking IP blocks where "dangerous" ideas are found on some hosting
 > operators Web Servers?  There is already at least one ISP in the US that

People would simply have to protest effectively (eg, via their
free-market options) OR THEY'RE SCREWED. Nothing can protect them,
they can do this anyhow.

C'mon, this slippery slope thing is nonsense (in the sense of yielding
any effective decision.) What if you go outside and the police all
decide to kill you? YOU'D BE DEAD. Oh well, better make sure that
doesn't happen I guess.

 > filters out 'un-Christian' material, using quite primitive techniques...

So? That's their right. No doubt they'll find customers for that. And
if not, then they're bankrupt. Oh well. So long as they're not
defrauding anyone then that's their business.

What's your point? I don't get it. Sounds like you're the one trying
to control things not them, they can only control their little corner
(eg, block "un-Christian" material from THEIR site and see if there's
customers for that.)

 > I'm sure they and their fellow Brothers would welcome a black hole feed
 > for their and related networks to block such "evil" content as
 > birth control material and other Bad Things(tm).

Ok, good for them. I disagree, but so what? Should we drag the guy out
of his house at 4AM and beat him senseless for doing this?

 > This is one, I think, that once you open the door, there is no going back.

The door is wide open, always has been, always will be.

 > No offense to Paul, or his good intentions, but as they say, they are what
 > the road to hell is paved with, no?
 > Just think twice, at least, I'd say, before promoting unconditional system
 > wide blocks on your network...Ethics is the land we're in here, and there
 > are no easy answers.
 > David Mercer
 > Tucson, AZ
 > On Tue, 28 Oct 1997, Daniel Karrenberg wrote:
 > > 
 > > 
 > > I am worried about the tools we are developing and deploying to control
 > > spam. 
 > > 
 > > Some of them are esentially centralsied methods of controlling Internet
 > > content.  Paul's anti-spam feed for instance prevents users of some
 > > providers from seeing spam.  The user has no choice; they cannot opt to
 > > receive spam other than by switching to another provider.  Even worse:
 > > they may not even be aware that they are "missing" some content. 
 > > 
 > > Combatting spam is considered a Good Thing(TM) by almost everybody here,
 > > including myself.  However the same technology could just as easily be
 > > used to do Bad Things(TM).  Even worse: if it works it demonstrates that
 > > *centralised control* of the content of Internet services like e-mail is
 > > *feasible*.  This will give some people ideas we may not like, and
 > > sometime in the future we may ask ourselves why we have done this.  The
 > > end does not always justify the means.  I hope that methods like the
 > > anti-spam feed will not be taken up widely.  Please consider the
 > > consequences before you use them. 
 > > 
 > > I stress that I do not question the morality or good intentions of those
 > > involved.  I am just concerned about the almost ubiquitous and
 > > apparently unreflected zeal that spam seems to evoke and the danger of
 > > it making us accept methods we would otherwise despise.  I would prefer
 > > to see more work in technology that is less centralised and gives the
 > > users a choice of the content they wish to see.  Yes this may be harder
 > > to do, but the consequences of deploying the easier methods may be just
 > > too severe. 
 > > 
 > > Waehret den Anfaengen (beware of the beginnings)
 > > 
 > > Daniel
 > > 
 > > PS: I hope this is more coherent than my contribution at the meeting
 > > yesterday when my brain failed due to jet-lag while my mouth was still
 > > working perfectly ;-). 
 > >