Reporting Little Blue Men

Dean Anderson dean at
Wed Jan 21 21:41:17 UTC 1998

At 3:54 PM -0500 1/21/98, Dennis Simpson wrote:
>> From: Dean Anderson <dean at>
>> But when you take the step from advocacy to actions you are violating the
>> law in almost every case.  You can advocate anything, but you can't go
>> tearing down buildings, or in this case, intercepting communications.
>Filtering packets is not interception, it is disregard. If I ignore
>your packets and do not pass them to the next machine in the link, I
>am not intercepting your communications, I am ignoring them. Unless
>you are paying me to do so, I have no obligation to carry your packets.

If I am paying you to carry packets, you have an obligation to carry them.
Blocking some of them is illegal. (ala AGIS).  Every packet that goes
through your network is paid for by one of your customers, one of their
customers, and so on.

>If my server checks message headers to determine validity before
>transferring to a spool file, I am not intercepting, I am determining
>message routing. As above, if you aren't paying me, I have no obligation
>to deliver something you handed me for delivery. Or are you suggesting
>mail servers should deliver mail without determining who it is for?

Nope. Thats service observing.  Illegal.

>If I review the content of your message, and then make decisions about
>who gets to read it (as opposed to discarding it), then I am intercepting,
>and reprehensible.

And crimminal.

>I cannot block mail espousing causes I disagree with, but I have no
>obligation to deliver them either. Find yourself another path to my
>client; I won't do anything to permit or prevent it. I am not blocking you.
>I am also not assisting you. That is neither illegal nor immoral.

You are obligated to carry the packets you are paid to carry.  You may not
look at their contents other than for incidental reasons, such as routing
and delivery. (and correct routing and delivery.)

But don't take my word for it. Look at Cheswick and Bellovin on page 205.
They say the same thing.


           Plain Aviation, Inc                  dean at

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