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Informal email peering (was: Email peering)

  • From: Dave Crocker
  • Date: Thu Jun 16 13:42:59 2005


This might not turn out to qualify under the precise term of "peering" but I 
like the general implication that things are not entirely open and that there 
are service criteria.

>  ...I described how it could be done so
>  that email peering IS NOT LIMITED to a few big actors.
>  What is missing today?
>  - contracted email SLAs between operators
>  - contracted admin interoperation procedures between operators
>  - contracted SLA and AUP with customers that allows immediate
>  shutdown when malware is detected
>  - organizations which can sort out all the details of the
>  above contracts, etc.
>  If the BGP peering side of the business can sort out all of
>  this stuff, then why can't the email side of the business do
>  the same, or perhaps, do even better?

Email over the Internet has important differences from IP. For the most part, IP 
datagrams are not differentiated. Also, peering often involves physical channels 
and transit service. 
By contrast, the issue with email, today, has to do with problematic content.  
This entails significantly different approaches to policy making.  Because it is 
at the application level, service over the Internet usually does not involve 
special physical channels and transit services are far more limited.

That said, it certainly makes sense to hold email operators accountable 
for some aspects of their traffic.  (We need to be careful about how 
much, lest we slide right into pure censorship.)

The approach of CSV <> is intended to have 
operator-to-operator accountability.  A purpose of things like the 
spamops draft (and, more generally, the approach) is to 
establish rough consensus on best practises for operators.  

With respect to something on the order of an SLA, I originally pursued 
the idea of formal corporate sign-up to the best practises but ran into 
an immediate and huge barrier.  It requires too much strategic decision 
making by the companies.  

So it occurred to me that there already was an informal model of 
voluntary inter-operator collaboration to fight spam and that that might 
provide a basis for something a bit more scalable and a bit more formal. 
That's where a membership organization that issues formal best practises 
comes in.

  Dave Crocker
  Brandenburg InternetWorking
  dcrocker  a t ...