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RE: Affects of the balkanization of mail blacklisting

  • From: Mitch Halmu
  • Date: Tue Aug 14 03:56:12 2001

On Tue, 14 Aug 2001, Vivien M. wrote:

> > On Tue, 14 Aug 2001, Vivien M. wrote:
> > > The INNOCENTS caught in MAPS were usually affiliated with
> > someone guilty in
> > > some way in another; eg would Mitch's customers be considered innocent
> > > victims of MAPS, even though their victimness is directly due to their
> > > decision to do business with someone who is guilty?
> >
> > Guilty of what, Vivien? You are accusing me of being a spammer? NetSide's
> > customers were fully informed of our stance published on a web site
> > dedicated to the problem, most agreed, and those that chose to stay and
> > endure the year-long MAPS blockade obviously like their communications
> > uncensored, and truly appreciate being able to transparently use their
> > accounts from elsewhere (i.e., from the office).
> MAPS accused you of operating an open relay.
> You posted to NANOG saying you proudly operate an open relay.
> That, ladies and gentlemen, is pretty much the textbook definition of an
> open and shut case.  (In my book, that makes you guilty of operating an open
> relay.)

Since when is operating an open relay against the law? Please quote the 
federal law NetSide has broken in having its mail servers configured as
they always were since we started in 1995.

Now let me ask you, if it's legal to operate an open relay, then why 
should we willingly submit to Vixie's law?
> Tell me, if you hate MAPS so much, why haven't you sued them for
> slander/libel? Is it perhaps because your lawyers told you that MAPS'
> accusations are TRUE and you'd get yourself laughed out of court?

Several law firms we have consulted gave a figure around half a million 
dollars for a trial to proceed in federal court. That is not only to
file, but to actually go to trial in court for a year or so. Plain and 
simple, we don't have that kind of money. It would make case law, as 
MAPS desires, but such endeavor requires proper funding.

> > > Funny, I could say the same about you:
> > > "You never gave a s**t about facts, you cared only about your agenda -
> > > no matter who got spammed in the way".
> >
> > The "collateral damage" they inflicted is simply unacceptable. The MAPS
> They inflicted no damage.
> Example: your local $ILEC has some Yellow Pages, where you are listed as an
> ISP. Some bad thiefs want to steal a T1 router or a Sparc 5, and figure an
> ISP would be a good place to get this equipment. They see your listing,
> break into your facility, and steal your hardware.
> Do you sue $ILEC for having set you up for being robbed?

Vivien, I'm sure you heard of the right of any phone customer to request 
and obtain and unlisted number. You may even withhold a physical address
listing and just have them publish the number without an address. They
are very accommodating, you know?
> Now, MAPS publishes a listing of people who operate an open relay. You admit
> running an open relay. Someone else uses that listing to refuse mail from
> you.
> Why is MAPS in that second example more evil than $ILEC in the first one?

The ILEC publishes the phone listing for the purpose of enhancing a
subscriber's business. It is for the convenience of their customers.
People even pay hefty fees for flashy display ads in the yellow pages.
Conversely, MAPS publishes their list because they don't agree with 
someone's practices, and with the ultimate purpose of destroying that 
person's business if they don't conform to whatever they demand. It 
publishes the list against the will of the listed parties, and most
businesses they list haven't broken any laws.
> Both provided a listing. You suffered damage in both cases because a THIRD
> PARTY used this listing to cause damage to you. How is the provider of the
> second listing more to blame?

Now let me give you an example: some anti-abortion activists publish a
list of doctors to be targeted. Funny thing, there is a law against that.
> > "agenda" came fully into the limelight with the fees they now ask for
> > the "service". I dare to be as bold as to imply that their agenda is akin
> I don't blame them for charging; being in the business of operating a
> mostly-free service, I have found that people are very hesitant to open
> their wallet unless they're forced to... when, quite often, a decent amount
> of wallets are likely to snap open, while the others of the remaining
> wallets scream "bait and switch". Coincidence? Perhaps it's human nature.
> (Note: before I get flamed, we haven't pulled that kind of thing on our
> users - we're too much a bunch of nice naive guys)

I do have a problem with how they're making a living. Most private agencies 
that provide such services are regulated (i.e., credit reporting, insurance,
professional associations like realtors). Since it affects the free flow 
of communications between millions of persons, maybe the time has come for 
Uncle Sam to take a look at MAPS' line of business and define some rules.
> > > Vixie's done a lot of things other than MAPS that have done a
> > lot of good;
> > > BIND, anyone? I'm sure there are a bunch of others but exposure to such
> > > stupidity as your post has caused my mind to go blank.
> >
> > So Der Fuehrer constructed the German autobahn, Il Duce made the Italian
> > trains roll on time, etc. Are they good people? While I don't
> I'll leave that to the historians to judge. Last time I checked, this wasn't
> NAHRG - North American History Research Group.

Hey, it was just a counter argument using examples from history that most
people are familiar with. No one is perfect, and absolute power corrupts.

> > even question
> > Vixie's great contributions such as BIND, I am fighting his little MAPS
> > charity based strictly on the belief that no private party has the right
> > to appoint themselves as communications censors. That role, if it ever
> > comes to it, can only be filled by laws and a government mandate.
> Censors?
> How has MAPS interfered in ANY way with your mail? Let's say I use MAPS (I
> don't, FYI... we don't have a need for it). You send mail to me. Based on MY
> decision to have my server trust MAPS' judgment, my server tells your mail
> to go screw itself. What did MAPS do other than ADVISE me to reject your
> mail? If I didn't TRUST MAPS' judgment, then I wouldn't use it.

To some people that write to me directly from this list I can't reply, 
because they're using MAPS. Some are not even aware that they are 
blocking NetSide and my replies bounce off their servers. Sorry about 

The problem is, I haven't done anything bad against YOUR service. You 
would punish me and my users simply because a third party says so. In
most cases, you wouldn't even know who else was blacklisted by them, or 
for what "crime".

> That, my friend, is the difference between MAPS and your government censors
> you seem to WANT. If you have government censors saying "Good ol' Mitch is
> bad", then it will be the LAW forcing everybody to block you, and you are
> totally gone. If you have MAPS blacklisting you, then it is ONLY the people
> who have chosen to TRUST (and pay, nowadays) MAPS that are rejecting your
> mail. If I were you, I'd prefer the second alternative... at least for your
> customers' sake.
> Vivien

The law would apply equally to everyone. We would have a level playing
field, and no private party could claim a position Above the Net ;)
Right now, I'm not breaking the law of the land, only Vixie's law.
My only "crime" seems to be that I have disobeyed his commandments.
And I will continue to do so until his operation is regulated by the 
law and has a government mandate.