FC: Politech administrivia; John Gilmore on Well's buggy spam blockers

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Sun Sep 14 2003 - 23:24:05 PDT

  • Next message: Declan McCullagh: "[Politech] Administrivia: List is up on new server, Mailman changes"

    [I am moving the Politech DNS from Rackspace to Rackshack tonight. The new 
    IP addresses for the Politech server, in case you choose to whitelist it 
    for anti-spam purposes, will be and Thanks 
    to everyone who suggested ways to upgrade the list; I'm still reading 
    through all the excellent advice. --Declan]
    To: declanat_private, gnuat_private
    Subject: Well's antispam censorship blocked email from me to you
    Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2003 16:38:37 -0700
    From: John Gilmore <gnuat_private>
    Hi Declan,
    I think this is fixed now -- several other people complained that I
    was unable to send them email -- but it's indicative of the problems I
    face every day from overzealous anti-spammers.  (If it isn't fixed,
    of course, you won't get this email.)
    And I bet the Well "solved" the problem by putting me on a whitelist,
    rather than by dumping the overzealous anti-spammer blacklist.  So
    whoever else is being inappropriately blacklisted is still censored.
    I can't believe I am the only one.
    	John Gilmore
    Return-Path: MAILER-DAEMON
    Delivery-Date: Wed Sep 10 14:11:53 2003
    Return-Path: <MAILER-DAEMON>
    Received: from localhost (localhost)
    	by new.toad.com (8.12.9/8.12.9) id h8ALBrEK012663;
    	Wed, 10 Sep 2003 14:11:53 -0700
    Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2003 14:11:53 -0700
    From: Mail Delivery Subsystem <MAILER-DAEMON>
    Message-Id: <200309102111.h8ALBrEK012663at_private>
    To: <gnuat_private>
    MIME-Version: 1.0
    Content-Type: multipart/report; report-type=delivery-status;
    Subject: Returned mail: see transcript for details
    Auto-Submitted: auto-generated (failure)
    This is a MIME-encapsulated message
    The original message was received at Wed, 10 Sep 2003 14:10:48 -0700
    from localhost.localdomain []
        ----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
         (reason: 550 5.7.1 <declanat_private>... mail from server rejected - see <http://dsbl.org/listing?ip=>)
        ----- Transcript of session follows -----
    451 4.4.1 reply: read error from smtp.well.com.
    ... while talking to assassin.well.com.:
     >>> RCPT To:<declanat_private>
    <<< 550 5.7.1 <declanat_private>... mail from server 
    rejected - see <http://dsbl.org/listing?ip=>
    550 5.1.1 <declanat_private>... User unknown
    Content-Type: message/delivery-status
    Reporting-MTA: dns; new.toad.com
    Received-From-MTA: DNS; localhost.localdomain
    Arrival-Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2003 14:10:48 -0700
    Final-Recipient: RFC822; declanat_private
    Action: failed
    Status: 5.7.1
    Remote-MTA: DNS; assassin.well.com
    Diagnostic-Code: SMTP; 550 5.7.1 <declanat_private>... mail from server rejected - see <http://dsbl.org/listing?ip=>
    Last-Attempt-Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2003 14:11:53 -0700
    Content-Type: message/rfc822
    Return-Path: <gnuat_private>
    Received: from toad.com (localhost.localdomain [])
    	by new.toad.com (8.12.9/8.12.9) with ESMTP id h8ALAmEK012661;
    	Wed, 10 Sep 2003 14:10:48 -0700
    Message-Id: <200309102110.h8ALAmEK012661at_private>
    To: Jon Dugan <duganat_private>
    cc: Declan McCullagh <declanat_private>, politechat_private
    Subject: Re: FC: John Gilmore on Politech changes and NOT obfuscating email 
    In-Reply-To: Message from Jon Dugan <duganat_private>
        of "Tue, 09 Sep 2003 08:07:56 PDT." 
    Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2003 14:10:48 -0700
    From: John Gilmore <gnuat_private>
     > >				The anti-"spam" crowd seems to think
     > > that there is a category of communications that NOBODY is interested
     > > in, and that therefore should be suppressed.  That is obviously false
     > > with regard to commercial spam, or the "spammers" would not persist in
     > > sending it, since they wouldn't make any money from it.
     > I would disagree, slightly.
     > This is true only up until people start blatant DOS attacks via email.
     > This type of activity uses an established channel for the simple
     > purpose of clogging networks.  I would argue that nobody is interested
     > in these messages.
    I agree that simple denial-of-service attacks consist of messages that
    nobody is interested in.  But let's not confuse today's widespread
    "anti-spam" tools and laws with tools for dealing with denial of
    service attacks.  My mail server is not blacklisted by thousands of
    sites because I've been launching denial of service attacks.  I
    haven't.  It's blacklisted because it forwards small numbers of spam
    messages (and non-spam messages) each day, while preventing anyone
    from forwarding large numbers of messages (of any type) through it.
    Denial of service *is* actually punishable under harassment and theft
    of service laws.  Sending unwanted communications is not (and there
    are very strong arguments that sending some forms of unwanted
    communications in the US is protected by the First Amendment).
    (Just because denial of service is against the law, of course, doesn't
    mean that you can necessarily stop or prosecute the people who do it,
    particularly in worm-driven distributed denial of service attacks.
    But people are working on ways to eliminate them.)
    In past years I have found several teenagers or immature adults
    abusing my (previously fully open) relay to harass a particular
    individual by sending thousands of emails.  I've shut those people
    down, deleted any backlog of harassing mails, and aided the sysadmins
    at the receiving end in tracking down the originator.  (Usually it was
    someone in the next cubicle.)
    	John Gilmore
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