Spam Control Considered Harmful

Cal Thixton - President - ThoughtPort Authority of Chicago cthixton at
Thu Oct 30 20:04:59 UTC 1997

> you want the Federal government to step in and regulate the industry...

Am I willing to give up some control to stop what seems to be rampant abuse.  If 
200 emails a day is not your threshold, what is? 400? 600?  We have similar structures
in plaec for the use of the mails, the phones, the highways.  What makes the Internet so

If we were to treat the Internet like the real world, we would be charging for each
email sent instead of giving it away.  Metering each letter and billing the source 
works in the real world.

Sendmail is not Panacea.  It is clever.  Were that I was bright enough to write 
such a tool, even with the aid of creational drugs, but even so, it cannot out smart


		"Sendmail is the most widely used AI program in the world", Mike O'Dell. 

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Brian W. Pendleton" <brian at>
To: <Cal_Thixton at TPA.Net>
Subject: Re: Spam Control Considered Harmful
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 08:58:13 -0500


I dislike email as much as the next person.  I get over 200 emails a day and
a lot of them are Spam.  But it scares me to think that you want the Federal
government to step in and regulate the industry in any form.  And then to
suggest that the FBI become involved just to send a message to the rest of
the spammers is even more scary.  This is a problem that the internet
industry has to solve on its own.  Their are technical ways to stop Spam.
They may not be thought of yet but I believe that with a little bit of
effort a way can be found.  I read somewhere else on the list that if a new
version of sendmail was created that not every one would change over to it
just to stop Spam.  What if everyone else on the net refused email from
older sendmail versions.  I admit it would be a hard task to do but with
enough pressure everyone would make the switch.  This is just a thought.

Brian W. Pendleton
CAIS Internet

-----Original Message-----
From: Cal Thixton - President - ThoughtPort Authority of Chicago
<cthixton at>
To: Phil Lawlor <phil at>
Cc: nanog at <nanog at>
Date: Wednesday, October 29, 1997 9:14 PM
Subject: Re: Spam Control Considered Harmful

> 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.
> Cal
> "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
>X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Pro Version 3.0.3 (32)
>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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