potentially profitable spam countermeasures

Eric Germann ekgermann at cctec.com
Fri Oct 31 16:16:01 UTC 1997

In the early days of the US Postal System, the recipient paid for letter
received, because the delivery mechanisms were unreliable and subject to
failure due to Indians, bears, wolves, etc.

Is SMTP mail delivery the Pony Express of the late 20th century?


At 10:47 AM 10/31/97 -0500, Peter E. Giza wrote:
>My bucks worth.  The *real* issue is that spam steals bandwidth by using
>than an "average" users worth of bandwidth.  Postal systems the world
>have a simple solution, one must buy a stamp first.  I am not advocating
>email "pay before you use policy", however if one were to look at the
>of out-going messages that a "typical" email user generates on any given
>it likely on the order of <100.  Given this, if everyone's AUP stated
>that unless
>negotiated by said user and ISP previously, that all out-going email
><some number> would be subject to a bulk mail charge of $X.X per message.
>This still will not fix the dial-up hit and run artists that plague our
>today.  The only way to truly solve the spam issue is through
>the email systems that are in use today to use some of the features to
>this abuse.  I know this sounds like a global peace pitch, but if there
>a standard by which all mailers would follow that contained the feature
>needed to eradicate spamming then and only then may it be possible to
>spending valuable time and money fighting this issue.  Even the threat of
>penalty is not enough to stop spammers, just look how hard it is for the
>service to track and prosecute clever mail fraud houses.
>I guess what I am saying is that we and  the developers of email and
>other systems
>that use these networks need to work together to solve these issues at
>the product
>layer.  Waiting for legislation may turn out to be very frustrating and
>in the mean
>time the theft continues.  Black holing while effective carries with it
>other distasteful
>side-effects/concerns as we have witnessed.  We can toss around all the
>we want to and will continue to be ineffective at significantly reducing
>the problem.
>This is just like CB radio, "who is gonna catch me?!" is what spammers
>are saying
>and they are right.  When you have thousands of people abusing the system
>it is
>really difficult to prosecute them, so the system turns into a pestilent
>pile of garbage.
>I submit that is an engineering problem, waiting for lawyers and senators
>will bring
>the system down.
>Erik E. Fair (Timekeeper) wrote:
>> Those of you who operate ISPs that accept credit-card, dial-up
>> customers (and therefore have a problem with spammers abusing your
>> services) might find this item of interest.
>> Earthlink's Acceptable Use Policy has a $200 penalty for spamming
>> in it. I am told that with the advent of this policy, there was a
>> dramatic drop in abuse of their service.
>> See http://www.earthlink.net/company/aupolicy.html for the details.
>> The key section is
>> Member specifically agrees that he/she/it will
>>         not utilize the EarthLink Network service, EarthLink
>>         Network's equipment or any EarthLink Network electronic
>>         mail address in connection with the transmission of the
>>         same or substantially similar unsolicited message to 50 or
>>         more recipients or 15 or more newsgroups in a single day.
>>         For each day upon which this provision is violated, Member
>>         agrees to pay EarthLink Network $10.00 per day for an
>>         unintentional violation of this provision, but where
>>         warranted, such as in the case of an accidental transmission,
>>         EarthLink Network may waive all or part of the applicable
>>         charge.  In cases of willful violations of this provision,
>>         Member agrees to pay EarthLink Network $200.00 per day.
>>         EarthLink Network at its sole discretion shall determine
>>         whether such a violation was unintentional or willful.
>>         Payment by member under this provision shall not prevent
>>         EarthLink Network from seeking to obtain other legal remedies
>>         against member, including other damages or an injunction.
>> So, set the agreement up right, find the spammers abusing your
>> service, and whack them with a fine, per the agreement. Recover
>> your cost, plus lost goodwill.
>> This will not eradicate spam. However, if everyone does this, the
>> effect should be to sharply curtail the penny-ante players who
>> abuse the relative anonymity of dial-up Internet access. We would
>> be left with the "big" spammers who have their own connections,
>> which should be easier to effectively deal with.
>>         FYI,
>>         Erik E. Fair    fair at clock.org

Eric Germann				Computer and Communications Technologies
ekgermann at cctec.com			Van Wert, OH 45891
					Phone:	419 968 2640
http://www.cctec.com			Fax:	419 968 2641

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