[linux-elitists] Re: MCI boots send-safe (Register) -- adds a net of 11 more spam hosts

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Wed Mar 2 20:52:53 PST 2005

on Wed, Mar 02, 2005 at 06:16:38PM -0500, Aaron Sherman (ajs@ajs.com) wrote:
> On Wed, 2005-03-02 at 17:30, Rob McGee wrote:

> > Market and network pressure. Quite different from Nick's straw man 
> > likening it to gov't coercion, and IMO much preferable to just sitting 
> > here continuing to subsidise the spammers. Is that your choice?
> Ok, I won't speak for Nick, but here's why I get all flustered about
> this kind of thing: I have this nervous tick that forces me to imagine
> how every "victory" in the war against X (drugs, spam, terrorism, you
> name it) will, in turn, be used against me in future.


I've been discussion this lightly over the past day or so with Rick.  I
alluded to similar issues in my recent rambling post (Stephenson, Rand,
Brin, Lessig, et al) here.  I've got the late-20th Century German
immigrant's child aversion to Authority and Large Institutions --
governmental, commercial, religious.

Doesn't mean I'm anti-business, anti-government, or anti-religion.  But
I believe in a _balance_ of powers, a weighting on _merits_, and an
avoidance of _extremes_.  Large low-entropy pools are inherently

There's a lot of stuff out there that _can_ be used to do bad.  There's
also stuff that's pretty much _exclusivly_ used for same, marketed as
same, and, in the process, does extensive harm to large numbers of
people.  More particulars are spelled out at Send-Safe's Spamhaus pages,
I'm not going to read them back here.

_Those_ are the particulars of _this_ case.

> In this case, I am forced to ask myself: what happens once MCI and
> others have been trained to remove first and ask questions later? 

You know, that's an interesting hypothetical, but MCI are *years* from
there.  Not as in, it's going to be years before they get there, but
that their current response rate to notification takes years.  Go
through the Spamhaus entries and note how many are active for over 12
months.  Here's that link again:


Answering your question:  there's too fast to act, and there's too slow.
I think you'll find that I'm _also_ an outspoken critic of 17 USC 512
takedown requirements, as both unlawful and as a legislative
circumvention of the judicial branch, violating seperation of powers.

That bit above about distrusting concentrations of powers wasn't just
idle chat.

> What if the complaints start originating from the MPAA or the US
> government or the IMF or spammers?

I don't particularly care where a complaint originates from.  I _do_
care that the complaint is legitimate and valid.

> Heck, the spammers have the most to be gained here, AND they have tons
> of money. 

_Some_ people are making a living off of it.  I don't think in balance
it's a disproportionate chunk of change, all told.  It's significant,
though, in a tight telecoms and ISP market.  It's definitely attracting
the interests of organized crime, if reports are to be believed.

> We're forcing them to evolve or die... what happens when that
> evolution involves buying a very large ISP? Do we shut off half the
> world or come up with a better plan?

Do you connect your sewer mains to your spigots or your drains, Aaron?
That's really a no-brainer.

  - There are _already_ large portions of the Net which have no truck
    with most of Korea, China, Brazil, Nigeria, Uganda, and other
    high-fraud / abuse zones.  I'd class country-level blocking as
    higher than ISPs.

  - Most abuse-classification tools work at finer levels of resolution
    than an entire ISP.  I've repeatedly touted asn.routeviews.org as
    providing the ability to classify an IP by its ASN and netblock

  - Once you know where abuse originates (DNSBL or other netspace
    identification means), you still have options in dealing with it
    _other_ than shutting it off.  Including limited service,
    rate-limited service, service on an authenticated or by-request
    basis only, etc.  And before saying "but the Net was meant to be
    fully free", note that for the first 25 years of its existence, it
    was a _highly_ elitist, limited construct with strong social and
    organizational relationships among its members.

So yes:  if a large portion of the Net turns black, well, it turns black
more ways than one.


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    While DOS continues to be our most important and most profitable product
    over the last four years we have done very little with it technically.
    - Bill Gates, November 29, 1989
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