[linux-elitists] paul graham on spam

Aaron Sherman ajs@ajs.com
Fri Apr 2 12:46:44 PST 2004

On Thu, 2004-04-01 at 15:14, Karsten M. Self wrote:

>   - There's the bandwidth suckage at the behest of spammers.  Depending
>     on how your system is configured.  Essentially you're allowing
>     someone to request arbitrary bandwidth from you via email request.

You're also requesting CPU and memory resources from the target, which
could be interesting. I'd have to sit down and think real hard about how
you could offload processing through email by peppering links into text
in specific ways... Proving that this is Turing complete would be a fun

I can just see the RC5-72 attempts now ;-)

Any notion of "punishment" seems to me to be abusable. After all, if you
know where there sites are, you can just DDoS them if you want and
you'll always recognize their spam. If you don't know then you have to
build that knowledge somehow, and any such technique is probably

However, the fact that people are thinking this way IS interesting. It
means we're starting to get serious enough that hard resources might get
dedicated soon. SPF (or its like) + establishing trust per-domain would
eliminate the problem of spam, and the only reason we don't do it is the
lack of collective will to STOP getting mail from those we do not trust
(or who are not within some local web of trust). The software is trivial
to write and can be proved, but that doesn't mean anyone will use it.

It's kind of like having accidents all the time because 10% of the
drivers never learned to drive. You can have the ABILITY to issue
drivers' licenses, but until you do AND you don't allow unlicensed folks
on your highways, you get accidents.

Aaron Sherman <ajs@ajs.com>
Senior Systems Engineer and Toolsmith
"It's the sound of a satellite saying, 'get me down!'" -Shriekback

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