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Re: potentially profitable spam countermeasures

  • From: Peter E. Giza
  • Date: Fri Oct 31 10:47:59 1997

My bucks worth.  The *real* issue is that spam steals bandwidth by using
more
than an "average" users worth of bandwidth.  Postal systems the world
over
have a simple solution, one must buy a stamp first.  I am not advocating
an
email "pay before you use policy", however if one were to look at the
number
of out-going messages that a "typical" email user generates on any given
day
it likely on the order of <100.  Given this, if everyone's AUP stated
that unless
negotiated by said user and ISP previously, that all out-going email
exceeding
<some number> would be subject to a bulk mail charge of $X.X per message.

This still will not fix the dial-up hit and run artists that plague our
networks
today.  The only way to truly solve the spam issue is through
re-architecting
the email systems that are in use today to use some of the features to
prevent
this abuse.  I know this sounds like a global peace pitch, but if there
were
a standard by which all mailers would follow that contained the feature
sets
needed to eradicate spamming then and only then may it be possible to
stop
spending valuable time and money fighting this issue.  Even the threat of
federal
penalty is not enough to stop spammers, just look how hard it is for the
postal
service to track and prosecute clever mail fraud houses.

I guess what I am saying is that we and  the developers of email and
other systems
that use these networks need to work together to solve these issues at
the product
layer.  Waiting for legislation may turn out to be very frustrating and
in the mean
time the theft continues.  Black holing while effective carries with it
other distasteful
side-effects/concerns as we have witnessed.  We can toss around all the
legalese
we want to and will continue to be ineffective at significantly reducing
the problem.
This is just like CB radio, "who is gonna catch me?!" is what spammers
are saying
and they are right.  When you have thousands of people abusing the system
it is
really difficult to prosecute them, so the system turns into a pestilent
pile of garbage.
I submit that is an engineering problem, waiting for lawyers and senators
will bring
the system down.

-pete

Erik E. Fair (Timekeeper) wrote:

> Those of you who operate ISPs that accept credit-card, dial-up
> customers (and therefore have a problem with spammers abusing your
> services) might find this item of interest.
>
> Earthlink's Acceptable Use Policy has a $200 penalty for spamming
> in it. I am told that with the advent of this policy, there was a
> dramatic drop in abuse of their service.
>
> See http://www.earthlink.net/company/aupolicy.html for the details.
> The key section is
>
>         2.3.1.3. Member specifically agrees that he/she/it will
>         not utilize the EarthLink Network service, EarthLink
>         Network's equipment or any EarthLink Network electronic
>         mail address in connection with the transmission of the
>         same or substantially similar unsolicited message to 50 or
>         more recipients or 15 or more newsgroups in a single day.
>         For each day upon which this provision is violated, Member
>         agrees to pay EarthLink Network $10.00 per day for an
>         unintentional violation of this provision, but where
>         warranted, such as in the case of an accidental transmission,
>         EarthLink Network may waive all or part of the applicable
>         charge.  In cases of willful violations of this provision,
>         Member agrees to pay EarthLink Network $200.00 per day.
>         EarthLink Network at its sole discretion shall determine
>         whether such a violation was unintentional or willful.
>         Payment by member under this provision shall not prevent
>         EarthLink Network from seeking to obtain other legal remedies
>         against member, including other damages or an injunction.
>
> So, set the agreement up right, find the spammers abusing your
> service, and whack them with a fine, per the agreement. Recover
> your cost, plus lost goodwill.
>
> This will not eradicate spam. However, if everyone does this, the
> effect should be to sharply curtail the penny-ante players who
> abuse the relative anonymity of dial-up Internet access. We would
> be left with the "big" spammers who have their own connections,
> which should be easier to effectively deal with.
>
>         FYI,
>
>         Erik E. Fair    fair@clock.org







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