[linux-elitists] Spam spam spam spam

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Thu Feb 17 20:30:45 PST 2005

on Thu, Feb 17, 2005 at 05:26:04PM -0500, Aaron Sherman (ajs@ajs.com) wrote:
> On Thu, 2005-02-17 at 17:07, Rob McGee wrote:
> > http://spamkings.oreilly.com/archives/2005/02/protest_brewing.html
> > Vinton G. Cerf, Senior Executive VP of MCI and a co-creator of the 
> > TCP/IP protocol suite, is scheduled to be honoured for that creation by 
> > the ACM ( http://www.acm.org/ ) in June. Dr. Cerf has paid lip service 
> > to anti-spam efforts whilst his company provides the largest source of 
> > "bullet-proof" spam hosting on the planet. When confronted, Cerf makes 
> > lame excuses for this inexcusable corporate behaviour.
> Neither the article nor the mail you sent have any specifics. Assume I
> don't know anything, but am unwilling to simply be a gun, pointed at any
> Internet-related personality and fired.... explain to me exactly what
> this company is doing. MCI claimed "spamware [is not] a violation of its
> terms of service"... what does that mean? Is this company sending out
> UCE in bulk, originating from MCI IPs? If so, I can't imagine why MCI
> isn't terminating their contract, as it is a clear violation of the ToS.

Spamhaus's dossier on MCI is here:

    Found 192 SBL listings for IPs under the responsibility of mci.com
    Listings in yellow are known spam gangs with ROKSO records

Each entry has specific information, e.g.:

    http://www.spamhaus.org/sbl/sbl.lasso?query=SBL24036 is listed on the Register Of Known Spam Operations
    (ROKSO) database as being assigned to, under the control of, or
    providing service to a known professional spam operation run by Alan

    Pointer Record: Alan Ralsky (AS701 >>> AS33407)
    193.ATM7-0.GW4.LAX4.ALTER.NET ( [AS 701] 200 msec
    phoenixconsulting-gw.customer.alter.net ( [AS 701] 204 msec
    ns1.webplacedns.info ( [AS 33407] 208 msec


Specific to Send-Safe:


    Ref: SBL23896 is listed on the Spamhaus Block List (SBL)

    14-Feb-2005 05:28 GMT | SR09

    Ruslan Ibragimov / send-safe.com is listed on the Register Of Known Spam
    Operations (ROKSO) database as being assigned to, under the control
    of, or providing service to a known professional spam operation run
    by Ruslan Ibragimov / send-safe.com. hosted domains
    Domains hosted on as of Feb 14, 2005.
    Most can be googled for spam sightings.


    <... 22 more elided>

> Does anyone have a raw quote from Cerf or MCI reps explaining their
> position?

Spamhaus lists:



    MCI responded to Spamhaus' accusations in the Washington Post,
    Spamhaus notes that MCI's rebuttal is a dishonest dodge:


    "Timothy Vogel, who heads MCI's legal team for technology issues,
    said that (MCI UUNet) does not host the site but instead leases the
    Internet address to a company that in turn hosts Send-Safe's Web

    This is smoke and mirrors, the 'company' is none other than the spam
    operation "MTI" listed in Spamhaus' ROKSO database of the world's
    worst 200 spam gangs, MTI is spammer Rusty Campbell, Ibragimov's
    partner. By pretending the MTI spam outfit is a legitimate customer
    who just happens to be hosting another spam outfit, MCI is
    attempting to pretend they don't know MTI is the same spam gang.

    Here are Spamhaus records on MTI, which MCI know about well:

    "More important, he said, MCI does not want to censor Internet
    content. If MCI had evidence that the Send-Safe company was
    spamming, that would violate MCI policy. But merely advertising its
    product is a form of speech that should not be censored, Vogel

    This also is seriously incorrect, MTI and Send-Safe are not
    advertising it, they're selling and distributing it. As in "Talking
    about heroin is a lot different than selling heroin". While
    commercial speech is given qualified protection under the first
    amendment, advertising the sale of software designed for the prime
    purpose of allowing the end-user to engage in illegal activities is
    not protected under the first amendment. It fails the first test of
    the four-pronged test that the u.s. supreme court uses to measure
    the validity of restraints upon commercial expression. MCI's lawyers
    are either badly misinformed or incompetent on this issue and need
    to read the US Government's document on this issue:

    But we note that MCI's lawyer Timothy Vogel didn't say that MCI
    "can't terminate" Send-Safe.com, he said "we do not want to". In
    fact, Mr. Vogel does not honestly believe that his company is
    legally bound not to dump send-safe and other illegal spam gangs,
    the issue is solely that his company will lose income from the
    spammers if they do.


From an InternetNews.com interview:


    June 18, 2004
    Vint Cerf, 'A Father of the Internet'
    By Michael Singer 

    Q: Seriously though, who should be responsible for spam? What is the
    role of the ISP?

    A: I am unhappy with the thought that an ISP in a literal sense
    should be responsible for filtering out spam. First of all, we are
    running packets at 10 billion bits per second and we can't look at
    them that fast, let alone move them that fast. We get 2 to 3 million
    spams per day.

    What one would want to avoid is some situation where you are held
    accountable for not successfully filtering all of the spam out -- or
    worse -- what if you filter something out that wasn't spam and have
    someone sue for damages. This is really a hard problem. You could
    probably argue that this is the equivalent of the Turing Halting
    Problem (defining the terminating program task). No algorithm that I
    can fathom can guarantee something is or is not spam just by
    looking. In spite of all of that, e-mail is still potentially a
    powerful and enabling tool. 

From a TechCentral interview:

    The father of the Internet speaks
    by JULIAN MATTHEWS, trinetizen.com

    Trinetizen: Spam is proving to be an unstoppable menace. What
    solutions would you suggest? Can astronauts on Mars one day expect
    to be spammed with ads for thermal underwear?

    Vint: LOL! The problem is very clear: we like inexpensive (almost
    free) email and this preference invites spammers to send email to us
    because it is less expensive than any other form of mass

    If we tried to charge spammers, we would also have to charge
    ourselves for "legitimate" email. Of course, one person's spam may
    be of interest to another - rather like the free catalogs one
    receives in abundance in the regular post. It feels close to
    impossible to eradicate. 

From a spam FAQ, apparently filched from


     "Spamming [the sending of unsolicited email] is the scourge of
     electronic-mail and newsgroups on the Internet. It can seriously
     interfere with the operation of public services, to say nothing of
     the effect it may have on any individual's e-mail mail system. ...
     Spammers are, in effect, taking resources away from users and
     service suppliers without compensation and without authorization."

     - Vint Cerf, Senior Vice President, MCI
     and acknowledged "Father of the Internet"

From a story on the MCI/Verizon merger, no comment:

    MCI-Verizon deal sparks spam fears
    Dan Ilett
    ZDNet UK
    February 15, 2005, 15:15 GMT

    Vint Cerf, who is senior vice-president of technology strategy for
    MCI and regarded as the father of the Internet due to his work on
    TCP/IP, was unable to comment in time for the publication of this

From a UK Guardian interview:

    Talk time: Vinton Cerf 
    Thursday March 4, 2004

    Q: How effective has the Can Spam Act been in the US?

    A: All the attempts to try to reduce spam have not been very
    successful. The one possibility is that if you have legislation that
    says it's illegal to do certain things and the parties who are doing
    these activities are in business to do it, then you would think they
    would be traceable. Not by trying to track their email but simply
    trying to find them with a "sting"-like operation. These courses of
    action will probably prove more effective. At the moment, my best
    friend is my Delete key.



Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    Experience is one thing you can't get for nothing.
    - Oscar Wilde
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