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RE: Affects of the balkanization of mail blacklisting

  • From: Mitch Halmu
  • Date: Tue Aug 14 05:35:52 2001

On Tue, 14 Aug 2001, Tim Wilde wrote:

> On Tue, 14 Aug 2001, Mitch Halmu wrote:
> >
> > 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 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.
> But you have yet to ever tell anyone how, exactly, MAPS does any
> censoring.  They provide(d?) a list of IP addresses.  That is _all_ they
> have ever done.  I cannot go up to Vixie or MAPS and say "filter my mail
> for me", nor have I ever (that I'm aware of) been able to do so.  MAPS
> does NOT censor anything.  Period.  They provide a set of information,
> which ISPs make a (presumably informed) decision to do filtering (or
> censorship, if you want to call it that) based on.  That is a business
> decision for those ISPs to make, a right which I'm pretty sure I recall
> you defending at some point in one of the monthly MAPS/ORBS/whoever is
> evil flamewars.
> You dance around the real facts in this matter _every single time_ this is
> brought up.  Please explain to me, exactly how MAPS censors anything.
> I'll look forward to your reply.  And don't tell me MAPS filtering is
> enabled by default in Sendmail, or point me to your propaganda page -
> the first one isn't true, and I've read the second before - it doesn't
> answer my question.
> And if you can't come up with an explanation, can we please end this
> monthly flamewar early and keep me from having to add some more rules to
> my .procmailrc?
> Tim

Okay Tim, I would like to start by mentioning an interesting Jul 16, 2001 
article titled "European Parliament doesn't want to ban spam":

It goes as far as to state: "The EU Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, 
Justice and Home Affairs Committee voted on a directive stating that it
should be legal for companies to send spam by e-mail or SMS (short message
service) mobile text messages, just as long as the solicitation comes
with an address that allows recipients to request that they be removed
from the mailing list".

This stance is mirrored by some bills introduced in the US Congress,
although to date we don't have a federal law in force regulating spam.
Some states have adopted their own measures, but nothing exists yet
at the national level.

Hence, strictly from a juridic viewpoint, spam is legal in the US and
Europe. While providers may complain that a million spam messages brought
down their server, and if they find the culprit they have a cause of
action for denial of services, they can't prosecute somebody for sending
a single UCE. Yet my service was blacklisted by Dave Rand for a single
count of UCE relayed to his domain by a Corecomm user. They now 
claim that in order to get off the MAPS blacklist, the server has to be 
open to their probing. As far as I'm concerned, MAPS causes NetSide's
communications to be censored for the deed of another provider's user.

What's next? This is what can happen when MAPS/Abovenet are allowed to 
exercise censorship powers without accountability:

As you can read for yourself, the block wasn't only for SMTP servers,
but it blanked out communications from entire sites, including their 
web servers. If that kind of communications disruption is not censorship, 
then what do you call it?