Spam Control Considered Harmful

Cal Thixton - President - ThoughtPort Authority of Chicago cthixton at
Thu Oct 30 02:14:38 UTC 1997

	The analog to email in the real world is the US Postal service where we have even far weaker authentication systems in place.  To cope with abuses, we passed laws governing the use the the mails when Ben Franklin got a anonymous and most unwelcomed solicitation from Thomas Jefferson.
	I personally see no practical technical means of eliminating the practise of spamming and rather than spending time trying to dream up fancier and smarter sendmail's, we should seek to simply expand the current mail fraud laws to cover electronic mail.  Then we can simply sic the FBI on these people armed with terabytes of logs and spam emails and then see what happens when a few are convicted of electonic mail fraud and sent up the river for a rest.


		"Yes, my house is made of brick, but the front door is made of glass.  I do this because I have faith in the social contract I have with my neighbors that assures me that they won't break it and I won't call the cops (or, when I lived in Texas, use my gun)."

Begin forwarded message:

X-Sender: phil at
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Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 18:06:33 -0500
To: Cal_Thixton at TPA.Net
From: Phil Lawlor <phil at>
Subject: Re: Spam Control Considered Harmful
Cc: nanog at

At 12:56 PM 10/29/97 -0600, Cal Thixton - President - ThoughtPort Authority
of Chicago wrote:
>The problem with the 'Caller-ID' idea is verifying that an email address
is >'valid' (assuming you have a reasonable definition for 'valid').  About
the only >thing that sendmail can do is verify a reverse lookup is equal to
its forward >lookup. 

Exactly.  I guess the question is, should we build more sender verification
into sendmail, on both the sending and receiving side?

Phil Lawlor
Voice - 313-730-1130
Fax   - 313-563-6119

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