why IPv6 isn't ready for prime time, SMTP edition

Lamar Owen lowen at pari.edu
Wed Mar 26 17:26:35 UTC 2014

On 03/26/2014 12:59 PM, John Levine wrote:
>> That way?  Make e-mail cost; have e-postage.
> Gee, I wondered how long it would take for this famous bad idea to
> reappear.
> I wrote a white paper ten years ago explaining why e-postage is a
> bad idea, and there is no way to make it work.  Nothing of any
> importance has changed since then.
> http://www.taugh.com/epostage.pdf
And I remember reading this ten years ago.

And I also remember thinking at the time that you missed one very 
important angle, and that is that the typical ISP has the technical 
capability to bill based on volume of traffic already, and could easily 
bill per-byte for any traffic with 'e-mail properties' like being on 
certain ports or having certain characteristics.  Yeah, I'm well aware 
of the technical issues with that; I never said it was a good idea, but 
what is the alternative?

I agree (and agreed ten years ago) with your assessment that the 
technical hurdles are large, but I disagree that they're completely 
insurmountable.  At some point somebody is going to have to make an 
outgoing connection on port 25, and that would be the point of billing 
for the originating host.  I don't like it, and I don't think it's a 
good idea, but the fact of the matter is that as long as spam is 
profitable there is going to be spam.  Every technical anti-spam 
technique yet developed has a corresponding anti-anti-spam technique 
(bayesian filters?  easy-peasy, just load Hamlet or the Z80 programmer's 
manual or somesuch as invisible text inside your e-mail, something I've 
seen in the past week (yes, I got a copy of the text for Zilog's Z80 
manual inside spam this past week!).  DNS BL's got you stopped?  easy 
peasy, do a bit of address hopping.) The only way to finally and fully 
stop spam is financial motivation, there is no 'final' technical 
solution to spam; I and all my users wish there were.

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