Horrible Service Agreements

John R. Levine johnl at iecc.com
Tue Dec 2 01:51:09 UTC 1997

>Wow!  What a heavy-handed way to fix a problem which has
>a purely technological solution.

I can set up a closed e-mail system now.  We all agree that's
technically straightforward.  The problem is that it is of great value
to me that any of the 100 million legitimate users on the net can
easily send me e-mail and I can respond to them equally easily, and a
"solution" that cuts them out to get rid of the spammers is cutting
off your nose, both ears, and about nine fingers, to spite your face.

>Now, communities will have to perform some kind of authentication
>of its members to exclude abuse.  Which means that USENET cannot
>be covered by this scheme; but isn't it already nearly dead?

Neither can the existing SMTP mail network, unless you want to overlay
a crypto system on that.  But you could do that with usenet as well if
you wanted to.

Besides, as soon as the communities got large enough to be
interesting, you'd find spam leaking in via providers who value short
term profit over long term interests, same as now.  Spam is a social
problem, not a technical one, which is why technical solutions will
never be more than a stopgap. 

There's lots of other places to discuss spam, anyone who doesn't already
know what they are is welcome to e-mail me for a list, or visit

John Levine, postmaster at abuse.net, http://www.abuse.net, Trumansburg NY
abuse.net postmaster

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