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Re: anti-spam vs network abuse

  • From: David G. Andersen
  • Date: Fri Feb 28 16:17:16 2003

On Fri, Feb 28, 2003 at 03:11:00PM -0600, Jack Bates quacked:
> >
> > Should we outlaw a potentially beneficial practice due to its abuse by
> > criminals?
> >
> Okay. What happens if you make a mistake and overload one of my devices
> costing my company money. I guarantee you, the law will look favorably on
> damages. That is the problem with probing. Sometimes the probe itself can be
> the damage. Programmers are human. Humans make mistakes. Programmers are
> perfect.

That wasn't the question.  There are plenty of circumstances in
which it's legal to do something once  -- say, make a phone
call to you and ask how you're doing -- and illegal to do it
one hundred million times.  You don't outlaw telephones because
people can and have used them to harass other people, you outlaw
the harassing behavior and make it subject to damages. ... which
is exactly what you described.

Probing can be knocking on your door, or it can be taking a sledgehammer
to your garage.  These are so quantitatively different that there
is a qualitative shift between the behaviors.


work:                          me:
      MIT Laboratory for Computer Science 
      I do not accept unsolicited commercial email.  Do not spam me.

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