At the time the comments containing the excerpt below were posted
to the Usenet newsgroup news.admin.net-abuse.email (aka: "NANAE"),
career spammer Brendan Battles had just been booted off of ISP XO's network and was complaining
bitterly in NANAE about how blocklists, such as Steve Linford's SBL, were
"terrorizing" ISPs into kicking spammers like him off their
networks. I think one of Steve's responses particularly enlightening.
Free Clues: Who Runs The Blocklists?
(An excerpt from a Usenet news posting)
[You] spammers find it very difficult to comprehend how this works, although
it's been explained to you many times. Even though you're kicked off ISP
after ISP and you know very well that all ISP AUPs ban spamming, you
still believe ISPs are on [your] side and that the spam war is
Spammers+ISPs against the anti-spammers.
What you fail to comprehend is that most of the anti-spam services and
organizations are run and funded by ISPs. For example, MAPS was created
by two heads of Abovenet (MFNX). Spamhaus and the SBL is funded by a
British ISP, UXN, of which I am the CEO. The SBL's DNS servers which
enable SBL operations are provided for us free of charge by ISPs all
over the world, from Germany's biggest ISP, to Holland's biggest, to
Belgium's to South Africa's, etc. Same with WIREHUB and others such as
ORDB, etc. What we are all doing is a giant effort _by_ and with the
help of ISPs to get this spam problem down, a problem which is seriously
effecting our mail services, causing grief to our customers and which is
the cause of 50%+ of calls to our Tech Support Desks. Moreso, because we
are ISP people, we know that spam can not possibly scale, if we just let
you spammers rip all mailboxes on the planet would overflow every day
(more like every hour).
You spammers think we threaten to "do things" to the ISPs hosting
you, such as "hack" them to stop them getting mail out. In fact
what we do is
simply tell an ISP hosting you (knowingly) that they can continue to
host you but we will withdraw their ability to send email to SBL users.
The principle is that the Internet is a network of private networks, all
of which are suffering from the snowballing spam problem and all of whom
need to be part of the solution and not the problem.
You spammers think that DNSBLs such as the SBL are "illegal" and
maybe stop us with lawyers. The fact is, with DNSBLs we have implemented
effective measures to deter and prevent the improper use of unsolicited
commercial electronic mail and we are doing what we can to help enforce
those measures. To any spammer who tries to claim that doing so is in
any way illegal or "thuggery" I say "show us the law that
says so", and
to any lawyer who may wonder if it's legal to prevent spam entering our
private networks we very simply point to the many previous statements by
Federal judges against spammers, as well as the US Congress statement on
the issue in 1998:
UNITED STATES CONGRESS
SEC. 201. SENSE OF THE CONGRESS.
October 2, 1998
"it is the responsibility of the private sector to adopt,
implement, and enforce measures to deter and prevent the
improper use of unsolicited commercial electronic mail."
Mar. 18, 2003
At about the same time Steve posted that to the Usenet newsgroup
news.admin.net-abuse.email, another DNS blacklist operator announced in another
forum that a major "big iron" computer hardware and software
manufacturer was donating to him a rather substantial server
to support his effort.
One would think the message in all this would be rather clear.
As regards the right of individuals to block the receipt of unwanted
communications, consider the following U.S. Supreme Court opinion on
"We therefore categorically reject the argument that a vendor has a right
under the Constitution or otherwise to send unwanted material into the
home of another. If this prohibition operates to impede the flow of even
valid ideas, the answer is that no one has a right to press even 'good'
ideas on an unwilling recipient. That we are often 'captives' outside the
sanctuary of the home and subject to objectionable speech and other sound
does not mean we must be captives everywhere. See Public Utilities Comm.
of District of Columbia v. Pollak, 343 U.S. 451 (1952). The asserted
right of a mailer, we repeat, stops at the outer boundary of every
- ROWAN v. U. S. POST OFFICE DEPT. , 397 U.S. 728 (1970)
Page Created: 18 Mar., 2003 / Last updated: 29 Apr., 2003