North American Network Operators Group

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RE: Affects of the balkanization of mail blacklisting

  • From: John Ferriby
  • Date: Tue Aug 14 09:47:19 2001

> 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.

To my understanding it is _undefined_ at this point and therefore legal.
Neither is is _illegal_ to engage the necessary resources to avoid them.
The courts, God help us, will sort this out and there will likely be some
form of legislative definition too.

The root of the issue really goes to the question of whether an ISP
is a Common Carrier.   I am of the opinion that most would say both
Yes and No, and that we are now in the process (here in the US) of
trying to hammer this out.  I can't really speak for other countries.
> Now let me ask you, if it's legal to operate an open relay, then why 
> should we willingly submit to Vixie's law?

MAPS is at best "subscriptive", requiring the implementing party to
enable it.  (I am of the mind that the so-called evidence of source
modifications to Sendmail is weak.)

In time our legislators will prescribe governing law and the cycle of
enforcement, challenging and refining the law will begin its tedious

One could use Dun and Bradstreet or other reporting agency as an analogy.
There are due-process issues that must be handled carefully, but it is
hardly illegal.   MAPS is simply a reporting service.

I, for one, have grown weary of the villification of Paul Vixie and Dave
Rand.  Adding such quips only undermines the anti-MAPS arguments and gives
this an emotional quality that it does not merit.