Policies affecting the Internet as a whole - Hitting where it hurts

Robert A. Pickering Jr. pickerin at fuse.net
Fri Dec 27 18:40:10 UTC 1996

> > The last thing the Internet needs is some dodgy cartell deciding on
> > who is allowed access and who isn't. Although I've had similair experience
> > mostly from academic sites.

I agree wholeheartedly with this statement.  The problem is that you want
people to use the Internet responsibly, but there are differing degrees
of responsibility.  We need to re-define or re-distribute proper use
guidelines again.  As an ISP we don't limit what people want to do on
the Internet, as policy.  However, we also have policies against various
types of "Internet abuse".  Spamming, cracking, etc.  We take a very hard
line of these types of activities.  However, that didn't stop AOL from 
blacklisting us. (See below)

> 	I think a list of sites that refuse to deal with troublemakers
> (with details) would be extremely useful. If people want to use it to
> blackhole traffic, that would be their decision.
> 	David Schwartz
> 	WIZnet

The problem is:  who is defining the list?  AOL placed fuse.net 
on their blacklist.  This prevented all of our subscribers from mailing
into AOL.  We found out that the reason they blacklisted us was that
they received 144 complaints from their users about junk mail from Fuse.
The problem:  they were all about the same mail message.  One of my
ex-users mailed a message to about 1500 AOL subscribers.  So, because 
0.00206% of their subscriber base complained, they placed our domain
on their list ((144/7,000,000)*100).  They didn't contact us, they didn't
find out what our polcies were, they didn't even bother to find out if the
user was actually posting from our site (they were, but AOL couldn't
verify this).  

The moral.  If you're going to create blacklists, make sure you have good
definitions of how someone gets on, how they are notified that they are
on (so they can respond), and how they can get off.  AOL had none of this
in place.  My helpdesk just started to get flooded with calls of people
who couldn't mail family members at AOL.  Also, AOL was silently removing
the messages.  No bounces, just deletes.  So, we had no way of knowing
they were doing it, the mail just didn't show up.

This incident has made me very wary of listmakers, and has opened my
eyes on the receiver's point of view.


If anyone's interested in reading our customer agreement, you're 
more than welcome.  http://www.fuse.net/Fuse/customer/ca.html
It's somewhat vague, but that gives us a lot of leeway as people come
up with new and different ways to abuse the service.  Today spamming, 
tomorrow iphone telemarketing?

Robert A. Pickering Jr.                Internet Services Manager
Cincinnati Bell Telephone              pickerin at fuse.net

           A Rough Whimper of Insanity (Information Superhighway)

PGP key ID: 75CAFF7D 1995/05/09
PGP Fingerprint: B1 63 0C 09 D8 2E 5D 69  BB 61 A2 92 22 37 63 C3

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