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Re: [vox-tech] smtp question - blocked ip
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Re: [vox-tech] smtp question - blocked ip

On Tue, Jan 14, 2003 at 07:24:02PM -0800, Ted Deppner wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 06, 2003 at 08:56:57AM -0800, Joel Baumert wrote:
> > On Mon, Jan 06, 2003 at 08:21:59AM -0800, Ted Deppner wrote:
> > One of the examples in the article is an ISP being blocked because it
> > allows a SPAMer to sell their software is idiotic.  The SPAMer isn't
> > sending SPAM from the site so _WHY_ add it to the list?  
> If the ISP is deemed to be SPAM friendly, then it is appropriate to block
> it in an attempt to bring its behavior into publically accepted norms.
> Yes, assessing the involvement of collateral sites is problematic, but the
> only real question is at what point this is appropriate.  The concept is
> valid regardless.
> Alegory: Why "attack" the employees of a retail store by boycotting that
> store because of a product the store carries is produced by a company that
> supports animal testing or overseas sweatshops?  Those employees will lose
> their jobs if the retail store goes under...  At some point, public
> opinion places blame collaterally.  The only question is at what point.

No... This is a matter of expectations.  When I use and RBL, I expect
the hosts in the list to be the source of spam, not the source of spam 
software.  They are not breaking what a reasonable assumption of the rules
by distributing software.

Now, don't get me wrong I don't have a problem with these aggressive RBLs
existing.  In fact, I think that they have a Constitutional basis for 
their existence because people have the right to associate with whomever
they want as long as the rules and consequences are known upfront.  RBLs
serve a valuable purpose, but IMO it is a good idea to depend on them as
the only factor in keeping or discarding possible spam.

> > The second problem with RBLs is legality, from what I remember
> > at least one RBL has been successfully sued for restraint of trade :-(.
> There's not an ISP on the planet that is legally bound to deliver anyone's
> email.  It is a courtesy service, not a contractual obligation.  If I
> started dropping all mail with "lugod" in it, there's nothing illegal
> about that.  I may not be in business the next day because I've upset my
> customers, but nothing illegal would have happened.
> Now, regarding restraint of trade, that too is often overblown.  Since I'm
> not legally or contractually obiligated to transit any email at all, and
> restraint of trade has to do with monopolies, antitrust, and money, there
> can be no restraint of trade.  

I poked around and it looks like the suits against MAPs have been either
settled or dismissed.  I was pleasantly surprised by this.

I think that "restraint of trade" is more complicated than you are making
out and is not restricted to monopolies, but you would have to ask a 
lawyer... It looks like people have tried to sue RBLs, but I didn't find
anything other than temporary orders that were later lifted.  Again, I
think that MAPs and other RBLs have the right to do what they are doing
as long as the end customer knows what they are getting from the service.

> Consider if someone tried to sue UPS over "restraint of trade" because
> they refuse to ship hand grenades.  They're not legally or contractually
> obligated to ship anything from anyone to anyone.  They take business
> where they want to.  UPS could refuse to ship into Sacramento if they
> wanted, and they could not be sued for "restraint of trade"... UPS can
> make business decisions about how, when, where, and what they ship.  If
> they choose wisely, they'll be a successful business... if not, well...

Yeah, but if I had a problem with UPS because they shipped something to
me I didn't want I wouldn't be allowed to stand outside other people's 
houses and keep them from delivering the package to my neighbors.  In 
effect that is what is happening in some cases where a naive user signs
up for this blocking service and can no longer do business with a 
company that happens to be on an ISP that happens to sell software that
some RBL decides is spamware.  It isn't as clear cut as you are trying 
to make it.

> As the services netizens utilize daily reach global ubiquity and we rely
> on them heavily, we must not forget the realities of what these services
> really are.  SMTP is Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.  It is not a
> government regulated service.  It is not the United States Postal Service.
> And so forth.

So far :-).  I suspect more and more people are going to move to permission
based messaging for their personal email where you have to give someone
credentials that they need to present before you accept any correspondence.
This is already happening with instant messagers and this will be eventually
called email.

> > I have been using spamassassin for about two months now and have been
> > _very_ happy with the results.  For my wife it has blocked >530 SPAM 
> > messages with only 3 incorrect blockings (fixed with a procmail rule).
> > She still got about 50 messages a month, but that is _significanly_
> > less than what we had before.
> IMHO, systems that have false positives (due to false matches like
> spamassasin uses) are utterly useless.  RBLs, which penalize bad sites,
> occasionally generating false positives, but which are known to come from
> bad sites are an acceptable and thus far, necessary evil.

Works for us... For me it works so well that I though the mail server
was down :-).  It has made things pretty tolerable and for the most
part made my wife happy.  I may cut my home network off from at least
Asia because I'm still getting some spam and hacking attacks from
overseas.  Though it would be nice to keep Australia and Japan in the
list, but it looks like they mixed in pretty good.  Currently I am 
dropping all packets except for SMTP and HTTP for these networks:

# Asia

# Europe

# Latin America


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