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

David J N Begley david at avarice.nepean.uws.edu.au
Mon Jan 6 10:48:34 UTC 1997

On Fri, 27 Dec 1996, Robert A. Pickering Jr. wrote:

> And it can continue to be a co-operative network.  But, if you eliminate
> domains and people based on heresay, or because it's easier, then you
> yourself are stifling that co-operation.

I'm not advocating the elimination of domains or people (could spammers be
terminated, though?  Oh, never mind..) on "heresay", but on evidence;  I'm
not saying that blockages are better, only saying that they're appearing
because of the lack of co-operation in the first place (after hitting
your head against a brick wall a few times, it becomes far less painful
just to block a site and be done with the issue).

Take "iq-internet.com" for example - not because they've been hammering
Barry's site specifically, but in general because they've caused a lot of
people a lot of grief and despite requests, complaints and demands,
neither they nor their network provider (SprintLink) have done anything to
"solve the issue".  They've even broken Sprint's own AUP, which (you would
think) gives Sprint more "ammunition" to do something, but it seems not.

It was stated that people can't terminate accounts/contracts without "due
process" - true, very true, and even if for legal reasons you can't say
anything to the public, you can still indicate that "the wheels are
turning" between the lines of whatever you do say;  for example, saying "I
am afraid we can say nothing more on the matter at the moment and ask that
you be patient" is far better than something closer to, "It's obviously
your fault and so we're not going to do diddly."  See?  :-)

So in the end, people start to block "iq-internet.com" and try desparately
to ignore it (if possible).  If things get so tight, entire netblocks
might end up being blocked from Sprint's address ranges, having more
far-reaching effects.  Think it'll never happen?  Why then are people
already considering this very same tactic against IBM/Advantis?

> The sites in question have no way to respond (they certainly can't send
> you email, and they don't even know their on the list now).

That's why providers should *co-operate* in the first place, so that
blocks (either with, or without notification) don't happen;  they're only
appearing at the moment due to a break-down in that co-operation, not
because they're the best means of solving the problem.  Increase the level
of co-operation and you decrease the need for "blacklists" and "blocks".

Think I'm too idealistic?  Think about it commercially for a second;  if
you upset so many people that they decide to block any connection from
your site, and you're an ISP, then that could harm your business as
customers discover they have to go to another ISP to get access to those
sites again.

It's idealistic, yes.  It's also good business sense to co-operate.

> The problem is you can't really stop the behavior beforehand, without
> impacting other users.  All you can do is publish the customer agreements,
> get people to agree to them, and then make damn sure you enforce them...

Bingo - that last part is the most important: "make damn sure you enforce
them".  Agree wholeheartedly.



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