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Slashback: Sand, Maps, Antiquities 79

Slashback has for you tonight the usual tasteful spread of updates, corrections, and things to think about as you settle in to sleep. (And a Merry Christmas for those who celebrate it.)

The world will beat a path to their doors. parvati writes: "This is the follow-up to an unusual contest mentioned on Slashdot a few months ago. A Princeton neuroscientist, John Hopfield, created a neural network modeling how the brain interprets sensory input, posted it on a website, and invited others to deduce the basis behind the way the network "thought". There is now a winner--David MacKay's group at Cambridge University--and the results will be published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in a bit. Preprints are available from the website that contains the information about the network."

Cuchulainn also passed on word of this NYTimes story on the two winners of the contest.

Who's spamming who, on the freeway of love? jamie passed on this email from Bennett Haselton, who runs Peacefire.org, as a followup to the recent story of his about the traffic-blocking capabilities (and implementation) of Above.Net.

I've found out why I haven't been getting any email from the gilc-plan or ifea-plan mailing lists for several weeks now.

The hosts where these mailing lists are run is connected to the Internet via HIS.com, which is connected to the AboveNet backbone. Peacefire's ISP is on AboveNet's "boycott list", which means all their downstream customers are blocked from accessing our Web site or sending email to peacefire.org addresses. (To them, it just looks like the site is down -- "the server is not responding...", or "Returned mail: host not responding...")

AboveNet does not publicize that they do this, and in fact I called AboveNet pretending to be a naive customer and asked them whether they blocked their users from accessing anything on the Web. All five employees that I talked to in sales and tech support, said "No". Although when I talked with a high-level technician and showed him the evidence, he did admit that AboveNet blocked sites on the boycott list.

I talked to several AboveNet users affected by the block, and they had no idea that AboveNet was filtering their Web access; most were pretty pissed off about it.

When Slashdot published a story about this, AboveNet immediately re-opened their customers' to our ISP's web sites: http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/12/13/1853237 but I don't know if the un-ban is temporary or permanent. Currently we are detecting when customers connect to our site from an AboveNet-controlled IP address, and opening a separate window to warn them that AboveNet has been blocking their Internet connection for the last several months, and that they may be entitled to sue AboveNet for censoring their connection without their knowledge.

AboveNet is participating in a boycott of our ISP, organized by the Mail Abuse Prevention System, because of sites like http://209.211.253.69/ which sell mass email software (but does not spam or use spam for advertising). I think this distinction is important (there are many sites that host software programs with far less ethical uses, however, the hosting ISP's aren't the ones responsible), but never mind -- there's nothing wrong with a boycott as long as it's voluntary. AboveNet, however, is co-opting their users into the boycott involuntarily, knowing that 90% of their customers would never agree to have their Web access censored if they knew what was going on. AboveNet admitted it has nothing to do with protecting customers from spam (obviously, since they're blocking Web sites, and the targeted servers aren't spamming anyway); it's just a way of putting pressure on the ISP by threatening to cut off their customers' access to their sites.

We also contacted the boycott organizers to ask why they didn't just remove Peacefire's IP address from the list and block the others in the same range, and they said it was technically possible, but they wouldn't do it -- unless we joined the boycott by going to another ISP.

For the time being, I can get mails from the gilc-plan and ifea-plan lists. If AboveNet re-instates the ban after the controversy dies down, I'll re-subscribe to the lists under a different email address.

-Bennett
bennett@peacefire.org http://www.peacefire.org

Anyone care to ante up 1/6 for an MP3? minard writes: "I have on my shelf an example of a wax drum (forerunner of the vinyl record) that had been sold in Britain circa 1905. I just noticed a label on the side I hadn't really paid attention to before. It says:

"This record is sold by the National Phonograh Co Ltd upon the condition that it may not be sold or offered for use by the original or any subsequent purchaser (except by an authorized factor to an authorized retail dealer) for less than 1/6 each. Upon any breach of said condition the license to use and vend this record implied from such sale immediately terminates."

1/6, by the way, would be about 10c. Not sure how much that would be today. Basically this is a license restriction that enforces pricing controls (completely legal at the time). I'd always assumed these were a new thing. Guess not."

You look a little down in the Mouth ... The seventh in our continuing reprint of Jon Katz's "Voices From the Hellmouth" series is now online.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: Sand, Maps,

Comments Filter:
  • That sure as hell is one painfull looking connect error.
  • Bad troll, no biscuit.

    -zack

  • I personally think this blocking has gotten way out of hand. It's totally wrong, in my opinion to block customers from accessing websites, especially a whole netblock. That's just not right!

  • i too work at RadioShack. and we have northpoint DSL and have said filter installed.
    it's the CD image of the hard drives. all of the DSL stores have one set installed. the Sat DSL, stores are diffreant... was in one of them memos you should be reading...


    nmarshall

    The law is that which it boldly asserted and plausibly maintained..
  • kewl, another flashcom, uh errr...
    i too have flashcom, and didnt know about the Chapter 11 where could i find more info, flashcom "forgot" to tell me how to d/l my email. so i havent heard much about what will happen...

    nmarshall

    The law is that which it boldly asserted and plausibly maintained..
  • haha
    that rules
  • "90% of their customers would never agree to have their Web access censored"

    If you explained to them that it was being censored in an attempt to destroy those who will continue to business with spammers, and those who work with, encourage, and profit from spamming (As those who produce bulk emailers certainly do.), and that doing so could help end all of those annoying spams, I think that there is a very good chance those people would be happy to have their access censored.

    This would make a good /. poll.
  • Freedom of speech means that nobody (especially the government) should come between two people trying to communicate.

    That is a perfect summary. Thanks.

  • I will never understand why people are so psychotic about spam. It's impact on business is nil.

    You've obviously never been the admin of a small office mail server who's domain was forged in quite a few hundred thousand spams sent out over a period of a few months. Needless to say, the server in question was rendered quite useless under the weight of all the bounces and this performance repeated itself every time the spammer in question sent out a new batch.

    Last I heard, legal action was pending, I sure hope they found him.


    --
    Turn on, log in, burn out...
  • it was max price
  • It has nothing to do with mail. Nothing at all.

    It *is* about email:

    1. Certain people are censoring email on the basis of it not carrying their advertising. This is accomplished by sending large volumes of email such that non-advertising messages are drowned out. Spam inherently censors everything but the spam, by the sheer number of advertising messages sent.

    2. Another company -- using the same ISP as Peacefire -- was in the spam business. They make (or attempt to make) their money by facilitating spam. They misrepresent their product to unsophisticated customers, selling it as a legitimate marketing business, when in reality it works by censoring non-advertising messages.

    3. The ISP knowingly, with full understanding of what they were doing, enabled the spammer to operate, and gave them quarter. The ISP directly profited from spam.

    4. The ISP could not possibly have been ignorant of what was happening. MAPS made many efforts over a period of months to educate the ISP. They recevied that education, and with full awareness of the ramifications of their actions continued giving support and doing commerce with the spammers/censors.

    5. AboveNet, and many others, to protect their networks from the spam/pro-commerce-censorship, cut off traffic from the ISP.

    6. Peacefire, once they discovered this, continued to do business with the anti-social network-DoSing godless communist censorial ISP.

    7. Either Peacefire doesn't understand that spam is censorship, or they are hypocrites. Or they're just mad about being cut off and flaming AboveNet on general principles.

  • Ask him what the difference is between swiping CDs off the shelf at HMV, and downloading the same stuff off Napster. And ask him why copyright law needs changing. Basically, if he insists that the law needs changing, then try to get him to explain why. After all, you're just supporting the status quo. Chances are, he'll dig himself enough holes that you won't need to do much! :-) And don't get put off by his volume - over the radio, the volume is evened out and someone who just starts shouting comes across as a bit of a sad failure.

    Sure, record companies make obscene profits, and very little of that gets back to the artist. But it's the artist's choice to sign to the record company (no-one holds a gun to their head). Just using the price of CDs as an argument isn't justified. He does _not_ have a god-given right to listen to anything he chooses - the price of listening to a band is paying for entry to a concert or paying for a CD. He has a choice of whether he pays or not, but that's it. Maybe Napster has encouraged him to buy more CDs, but in plenty of other cases ppl are using Napster instead of buying CDs, especially since CD-writers are now so easily available. I have friends doing this (and I've done a bit myself) so I know of what I speak!

    Where music-sharing scores is in allowing small bands to promote themselves, bands you'd never usually have heard of. But this isn't what Napster users are after - they want music by famous bands without paying for it. Their current site is into promoting new artists, but this only happened after the lawsuit. Before the lawsuit, the blurb said something about "Tired of searching through lists of bands you've never heard of? Napster has songs by all your favourite bands", and the law-suit turned up memos by the Napster founders that they were expecting ppl to put pirate copies on the system, and wanted to let them do it. A good bit of searching should turn up a news article with the exact wording.

    If he shifts it to MyMP3.com, that action was more dubious since it's more like fair use - you only get to hear music that you've uploaded.

    Grab.
  • Check out the replies to the "Floppy Awards" article, for some folk talking about Napster.

    Grab.
  • It's Media3 that are getting blacklisted, not Peacefire. If Peacefire left, the RBL listing would not follow them.

    The boycott is to put pressure on Media3 to change thier policy. If Peacefire leave, M3 get less money, and so increases to the pressure.

  • So, yes, the RBL listing is nessisary -- just as publishing the identities of child molesters is now nessisary

    Sometimes dictionaries are necessary too.

  • Following a link from the westegg.com inflation calculator, I found http://www.eh.net/ehresources/howmuch/poundq.php [eh.net], which calculates that 1/6 in 1905 is the equivalent of £6.61 in the year 2000. That is $9.77 at the current exchange rate.
  • I will never understand why people are so psychotic about spam. It's impact on business is nil. People wasting their workday reading and posting to Slashdot and other message boards wastes far more bandwidth than spam.

    I understand perfectly; It's people resenting yet another intrusion into their lives. What I don't understand is how people don't get upset about snailmail spam. How many trees die every year so that we can find out about the latest deals at the local carwash? How much paper goes into ensuring that you can get a great deal on a new carpet?

    In any case, I used to share the righteous indignation of the net at large over spam. Those of us who remember a time (a simpler, freer time) before MAKE MONEY FAST often wish those days would return. Those who are so pissy about spam are the ones who just can't let it go. Those spammers help pay for the internet, too. They might be using a largish share of it, but hey. We can filter spam. We can delete spam. And no trees must die.

  • Under these circumstances, the only real way to hurt the spammer is to target their web page. It's getting close to borderline, but I believe that the RBL is still quite justified in their actions here.

    It's my understanding that the RBL and MAPS lists don't block webpages, anyway, unless someone constructs null routes from them.

    Also, if you're going after the spammers, list the spammers' webpages, not the whole ISP. That's not appropriate.

    It's one thing to support freedom of speech, but spam is nonconsensual speech. It's noise thrust upon you by a sociopathic git who's playing the numbers game.

    So is listening to someone talk on a cellphone in a cafe, but that doesn't give me the right to punch them in the nose. And it's not nonconsensual speech; If anything it's nonconsensual usage of your disk space and bandwidth. You choose whether you read it or not.

  • "File sharing is Good, federal crime is Bad, if you don't like copyright law, the way to change it is not to break it. Oh and, this is what 'fair use' really means."

    Your opponent will tell you (correctly) that Napster was not breaking any copyright law; It was if anything facilitating others doing such things. If that's your strongest argument, you're in trouble.

    How about citing them as accessories to a crime carried out by thousands of computer users who would not have had such an easy opportunity to commit it, and therefore would not have strayed from the path without Napster? I think it's your only hope.

  • i believe that price control is legal in many countries

    I'm not aware of any price control in the US. I can't speak for other countries. I seem to remember hearing something about price control of certain goods, like milk for example. I do know you can't set a minimum price, however. The music industry is kind of pissed off about this, so what they do is they don't promote companies which sell their CDs lower than the price they like, the idea being that those businesses will get less business. This is legal.

  • Under the Federal Copyright Act's First Sale doctrine [cornell.edu], a copyright owner's rights to control distribution (resale, rental, lending, gift, etc) of a particular copy ends at the first sale of that particular copy.

    Copies of software and musical recordings are specifically exempted from the First Sale doctrine for purposes of commercial rental or lending (though First Sale still allows possessors of those types of works to resell or give away).

    So the licensing language on the cylinder would be invalid in the US under the copyright act today to restrict resale of most copyrighted works.

    I have seen old books with similar language as that on the cylinder that purported to forbid the owner from selling the books for less than the cover price, but such restrictions are unenforceable, for the analog present at least.

    Ed

  • ...is that they blurred out the vagina. I guess they were trying to make it tasteful.
  • Actually, I was the victim of just such an attack less than two months ago at my mid-sized company.

    Some cracker managed to r00t my companies external mail relay and send many thousands of spam emails. After this was discovered they sent out even more with forged headers.

    It was very frustrating, since I just started cleaning up the mess that my predecessors left. (Open relays, misconfigured firewall) A careless mistake on my part left the FTP service open to the internet, and some kiddie took advantage of an exploit in wu-ftpd.

    For about three weeks messages with our domain were being sent out through other means. We were receiving 30-40 thousand messages/day versus 8-10k per day normally. I swapped in a new server, blocked smtp from yahoo.com and made a script that kept most of the bounces out of the delivery queue. The increased traffic bogged the server for awhile, but the system was functional.

    Thankfully, our cracker was not very good at covering his tracks, and the FBI was able to find the idiot.

    My saying that "[spam's] impact on business is nil" was probaly a poor way to put it. The incident that I described was a major pain in the ass and is something that I would rather not repeat. However, the vast majority of sites will never ever experience something like this. I prefer accepting the risk of having something like this happen than having the government or some lunatics like the people at ORBS protecting me with techniques that simply do not work.

  • Just because the provider supports many systems that send spam doesn't mean that the other systems/customers should have to suffer for this. Peacefire hasn't caused any of this, so why are they blacklisted? Hell, why is the whole IP block blacklisted - and again, since when does a provider have the right to determine what servers its users can and can't access to? I can understand if certain IPs on the network had a reputation of cracking, but to blacklist an ENTIRE BLOCK? It's just not right!

    It's all about the Karma Points, baybee...
    Moderators: Read from the bottom up!
  • This is intended more as a response to the other posts at this level rather than the original. I would thread it properly, but then I'd have to respond to each other post individually. Nuts to that.

    Duffbeer703 starts by saying "there is no such thing as 'nonconsensual' speech" and then gives examples of nonconsensual speech. His (valid) point is that not all nonconsensual speech is bad. Okay, that's fair. We can then narrow the discussion as to whether spam is bad nonconsensual speech that should be outlawed like junk fax (anyone want to call anti-junk-fax-laws censorship?) or not.

    In the same post we are asked to accept that "Spam, paper junkmail, and Jerry Springer are the prices that we pay to communicate in better and faster ways." I wish spam were so easy to avoid! If paper junk mail pisses me off, I can put a "no junk mail" sign on my letterbox, and where I come from, that works. If Jerry Springer walked past me in the street, I wouldn't recognise him because I've never watched the show, although I did see him parodied on The Simpsons once. As for spam -- well, if I could find a way to stop it from getting into my inbox once and for all (without going to the extreme of nuking every mail account I own), then I don't care whether it continues to exist out there like this Jerry Springer guy or not.

    Drinkypoo has the understanding that the RBL and MAPS don't block web pages. Right! You can use it to block SMTP or everything at the IP level. If you do the latter, it blocks everything, and if you're a transit network (one which passes through packets which are sourced and destined for networks other than your own), you create an IP black hole into which packets arrive and never leave. That's where the name comes from, and that's what the fuss is over in this case.

    In the same post, drinkypoo raises the good point that it's more like nonconsensual use of your bandwidth and hard disk space, etc. Great! Another reason to separate it from freedom of speech issues! Well put. That whole "property" aspect is pretty important, and it's probably the key issue in junk fax laws. The idiot in the cafe with the cellphone is only doing the wrong thing from a strictly legal perspective (I would suppose) if the owner of the cafe doesn't allow cell phones to be used on his premise. The analogy would seem to hold for spam.

    Finally, tstorm clouds the issue, confusing IP blocking with censorship again. You seem to have missed the thrust of the original poster's argument, tstorm. The IP blocking of the ISP is done in reaction to the fact that the ISP has an acceptable use policy which is not acceptable to the other network users. I think it's entirely fair (if drastic) to cut communications with a disruptive network. It's not censorship because it's a reaction to network behaviour, not information content. They'd do the same for people with Subgenius web pages spamming about Bob, or conspiracy theorists spamming about black helicopters. It's about the spam, stupid!

    I'm really dubious of censorship, and I positively despise spam. These two sentiments are entirely compatible, so long as you don't oversimplify matters in either direction. Some of the points raised by the above posters have helped make this distinction, some have clouded it. Let's work on the former and learn to detect and avoid the latter.

  • I'm wondering if you read anything about this? It has nothing to do with mail. Nothing at all. The RBL list is being used not just to block e-mail but to block everything being sent to the ips. The routers at the backbone level just drop the packets if they are destined for that place. E-mail just happenes to be the most popular use for the RBL list however the backbone provider isn't just using it for e-mail but for anything that travels through packets
  • I'm confused by your comment. First you stated:

    Why blacklist Media3 at the IP level?...It's not because they have people selling spam-tools, believe it or not. Nowhere in the mail-abuse guidelines does it talk about blacklisting people for selling spamming tools. Personally I detest spamming tools and the people that sell them, but I'm aware that one can't easily pick and choose about blocking sites on this basis. That is a form of censorship, and I think censoring the Internet is futile, even if it would serve my particular desires.

    Then you go on to say:

    Under these circumstances, the only real way to hurt the spammer is to target their web page. It's getting close to borderline, but I believe that the RBL is still quite justified in their actions here.

    So is blocking their IP acceptable or not acceptable to you? It's censorship and futile, but the RBL is justified in doing it?

    I won't even go into your flawed reasoning regarding freedom of speech, as others already appear to have covered that.

  • They have recourse to get unblocked, you can be assured. They've chosen not to follow that path.
  • AboveNet may refuse to exchange traffic with anyone they choose, just like their customers may host their sites with any ISP they choose. If you read the post all the way through, AboveNet did not do the blacklisting. MAPS is boycotting the ISP that Peacefire's servers are hosted on, due to said ISP's spam-friendly attitude.
  • AboveNet can block whomever they choose. They don't need a valid reason, they don't need a reason that would hold up in court, they can do it on a whim.

    There is no law saying that ISP must allow uncensored access for their users to internet. If AboveNet explicitly states in their user agreement that they will provide unfiltered access, then they must either provide that access or change their agreement. I strongly doubt that AboveNet would mention something like that in a license agreement however.

    AboveNet could block out Yahoo or Slashdot on a moments notice for no other reason then that a manager at AboveNet doesn't agree with a headline. That is the right that AboveNet has. If AboveNet's customers don't like it then they can find another ISP; that's their rights.

  • AboveNet can block whomever they choose. They don't need a valid reason, they don't need a reason that would hold up in court, they can do it on a whim.

    There is no law saying that ISP must allow uncensored access for their users to internet. If AboveNet explicitly states in their user agreement that they will provide unfiltered access, then they must either provide that access or change their agreement. I strongly doubt that AboveNet would mention something like that in a license agreement however.

    AboveNet could block out Yahoo or Slashdot on a moments notice for no other reason then that a manager at AboveNet doesn't agree with a headline. That is the right that AboveNet has. If AboveNet's customers don't like it then they can find another ISP; that's their rights.

  • Aren't there some french sites (if this be french) to direct our freind who at least knows one word: first, of english and therefore understands there exists a difference between the 2 languages and there a difference in understanding of these languages. Please somebody help him find a similar frech site and if there be none let him create one and become a succesful entrepreneur.
  • Does anyone know the story surrounding goatse.cx, i mean what kind of idiot does that? Who's site is it and WHO IS THAT GUY!?!?!?(no its not my dad so don't even bother!!)
    Maybe Jon Katz should spend some hours investigating something worthy of a /. post...





  • Well, it is their equipment and their bandwidth. If they have something in the TOS about limiting access to certain things, then I see no reason why it would be wrong to do so. He says that most people didn't know and were fairly pissed off though, and in that case I think it would be wrong, as they most likely thought that they were paying for unlimited access, therefore they werent recieving the service they had paid for...
  • duffbeer703 is a SPAMLOVER!

    Please! Spamming is theft of service. Do you have the right to use 50% of my bandwidth and 60% of my hard drive space? Just because someone didn't put up with your criminal bullsh*t you yell rape!

    Oh yea. If "It's impact on business is nil" then you won't mind if we delete it! Wanker!
  • This poor fellow's site [pinch.com] might be able to point you in the right direction.

  • I work at RadioShack, our internet center is connected to Sat. DSL, and has no filtering software... all of the computers are identical, across the country, so it must have been the choice of that store to install the filtering software.
  • I have also found this software seems to block legitimate websites from use, it seems quite scary that someones website can be blocked abitrarily without any recourse to get this corrected.
  • Thanks for posting the link to the inflation calculator... I didn't have such a thing at hand when I posted the article.
  • Was that max price or min price? The point here is that the contract above includes a minimum price. This was common at one time, but (and, of course, IANAL) I believe it is no longer legal in the UK. What this is basically saying is that discounting is not permitted by retailers. Until very recently there was an exception made for selling books in the UK, known as the "Net book agreement" (can somebody who still lives in the UK confirm that this has now gone?) which enforced the same controls. There was a great deal of debate about abolishing it, with the argument made very strongly that it would push small booksellers out of business, because they would be unable to compete with large bookstores who would now be free to discount their prices.
  • A few mistakes you've made there:

    • MAPS and ORBS are audited by numerous system administrators who use the service and also track the service itself; and belive it or not MAPS is actually admin friendly and always is availble via news.admin.nat-abuse.email.
    • They represent my intrests. Read NANAE, and you'll find that they really do represent all the sysadmins out there. Quote me on that one.
    • It's case law, actually, and in some states (California, Virgina) it is against codified law.
    • [sarcasm]I'm just *estatic* that we are *already* being charged/taxed by our ISPs to support this war.[/sarcasm] Guess who funds your ISP's abuse department: your ISP fees. I'll be glad when this is all over that we only have to pay, what, $10 a month at least (as a nice round figure)?
    • "It's impact on business is nil." Excuse me, you said in another message that you were considerablly impacted by spam. Many companies have told the mainstream press that spam cuts into the profits big-time. Exactis, a spammer, is being threatened with delisting from NASDAQ -- another dot-com who made the wrong turn and is going bust.
    • "People wasting their workday reading and posting to Slashdot and other message boards wastes far more bandwidth than spam." Considering that spam, in all it's forms, accounts for a good chunk of traffic, along with program downloads and streaming media that happen *continuously* rather than the short grab, long type/key-in, and short post/put of even this message, taken in all it's entirely, I'd say that I'm not wasting my time. I'm working myself out of a second job, and I like it that way. ;)


    --
    WolfSkunks for a better Linux Kernel
    $Stalag99{"URL"}="http://stalag99.keenspace.com";
  • If you want to be pedantic, then you probably couldn't sell it for less than 1/6, or its equivalent value (what would a coin collectior pay for a mint condition 1905 1/6 piece?) Inflation isn't mentioned, so that doesn't count, I suppose.

    Isn't stuff from 1905 out of copyright though, even in the US? That also assumes that that someone is still around to complain.
  • If you think that's funny, one person in Washington was actually sick enough to bookmark that picture (favicon.ico)
  • Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral, winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion (if any) of your choice, but with respect for the beliefs of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all; plus... A fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2001, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions have helped make our society great, without regard to the race, creed, colour, religious, or sexual preferences of the wishes.

    Disclaimer: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others and no responsibility for any unintended emotional stress these greetings may bring to those not caught up in the holiday spirit.

    Note: I didn't write this, and I'd credit it, but I'm not sure where it came from. It may have been written by Ted Scribner.
  • http://www.bulkisp.nu/ [bulkisp.nu] That Site!
  • The thing is, is that peacefire.org was being blocked at the routers of abovenet at one time (i.e. it wasn't just mail that has been blocked like everyone claims).
  • I can understand if certain IPs on the network had a reputation of cracking, but to blacklist an ENTIRE BLOCK? It's just not right!

    That is a matter of opinion.

    I've been on the receiving end of a boycott. My ISP used to use Agis for their backbone connection. After Agis became a spam haven, people started blacklisting all of their IP blocks, including the non-spamming Agis customers. My ISP was forced to switch to another backbone provider. I don't blame the people who blacklisted my IP address, I blame Agis for not being a good net citizen.

    The sad fact is that the only way to get some people's attention is to hit them over the head with a two-by-four. In the case of greedy bastards like the people who ran Agis, the only thing that will get their attention is a severe reduction in cash flow when their customers start leaving in large numbers. And that is what it took to get Agis to take spam seriously.

    As far as I am concerned, anyone who is a customer of Media3 is part of the spam problem. Nuke them all.

  • I will never understand why people are so psychotic about spam.

    Heh, just wait until you meet the friendly members of DIE-MF, the Directorate for the Immediate Elimination of Monospaced Fonts.

  • I doubt there are any good arguments for your side. The best I've seen might have been Metallica's response here on Slashdot but that might not be exactly what you want.

    *shrugs* Anyone who says they don't break laws is either a liar or stupid. Look at all the dumb laws still on the books from way back when. Look how many people speed just a little or run a yellow light as the situation is useful to them. Surely breaking basic saftey laws like those are much more dangerous that people who share MP3's. I agree that the ebst place to win the battle is to change copyright laws but honestly big businesses control the government to well for us to easily fight back and the big media companies control what goes into the average persons mind to well to wage a public relations war. Let them fight the criminals in court and not remove whole categories of technology just because they have the ability to be abused. There are some points you can argue. ;>
  • I administer Cyber Patrol for a school system. (I'm a contractor, don't actually work for the schools). Anyway, you can click on http://www.cyberpatrol.com/cybernot/
    and find out why a site is blocked and if it can be unblocked. From there, you can also request it be unblocked, and while it takes a few days, I have always gotten an e-mail back on the subject.

    Also, what is filtered depends on the Administrator or whomever makes the decisions. In my situation, the Board of Ed decided to block Sex Education, but not Sports or Alcohol.

    Likewise, some sites (Babelfish being one) are blocked because you can translate URLs in them, and CyberPatrol only recognises English.

    Do I like filtering? Heck, YES! It makes my job a lot easier. I never get calls from librarians anymore complaining that some kid set the wallpaper to a porn background. The teachers are happy because the kids can't hit the rap lyrics sites all day or porn or online gambling instead of doing their work.
  • The whole Slashdot idea of putting a blurb on the main page with a link to the full story is that you can read the blurb and decide, intelligently, whether or not you want to follow it.

    This doesn't work at all with Slashback because you have to follow the link first, to even find out what it's about.

    So I think Slashback should be eliminated as a topic category.

    (Also, I really hate following a link and finding my only choices are PDF or PostScript or Word. You should always warn if there's no plain-HTML version.)

  • There is no such thing as 'nonconsensual' speech.

    Alas, that's not true.

    Suppose I decide that you and the people in your apartment building are ripe for induction into my MLM scheme; all you need is a little more information about it. So I go buy the biggest loudspeaker system I can find and set it out front. I then rant continuously for days at a time, using pals to keep up a continuous stream of sales pitch. Neither you nor your neighbors are interested, and you are all trying your best not to hear.

    When people are talking about nonconsentual communications, that's what they mean. You're welcome to have a different name for it, of course.

    The entire point of Free (as in liberty) speech
    is that you have the unfettered right to communicate.


    I am sad to say that you are again off the mark.

    Communication requires at least two participants. If I stand alone in the woods and speak my mind, that isn't communication. And if I stand alone in the woods and just listen to the wind in the trees, that isn't communication, either. Communication only happens when there is a speaker and a listener.

    Freedom of speech means that nobody (especially the government) should come between two people trying to communicate. It does not mean the act of flapping ones lips should be at all times protected. If, despite your requests to stop, I chase you down the street shouting obscenities and nonsense words, that's just harassment; free speech never enters into it.

    If you're interested in learning more about the nature of communication, you should read that hacker favorite [tuxedo.org], Godel, Escher, Bach [amazon.com].
  • I have an Edison Gold Moulded Records cylinder that looks to be from 1905 or so. It also comes with a license agreement:
    This record is sold by the NATIONAL PHONOGRAPH COMPANY upon the condition that it shall not be sold to any unauthorized dealer or used for duplication and that it shall not be sold, or offered for sale, by the original or any subsequent purchaser (except by an authorized
    jobber [m-w.com] to an authorized retail dealer) for less than thiry five (35) cents apiece.
    I presume that the price mentioned is the original retail price; that would effectively prevent people from opening used wax cylinder stores. I guess that's why we don't see such stores today, eh?
  • you are confusing two wholly diffrent ideas... speach and communication speach does not require a reciver...

    I'm not confusing the two here; I'm separating them. My point is that 'free speech' isn't about the legal right to open your mouth and make noises. It's about the legal right to communicate freely, without the government trying to stop communication to suppress ideas it doesn't like.

    if you wanted to stand outside my aprtment building preaching the vertues of whatever your selling, you can do that, but i better be able to sleep at night.

    Agreed. Spam isn't wrong because of the ideas expressed in the messages; it's wrong because of how the message is delivered. When people yell about how blocking spammers is censorship, they miss this point.
  • Presenting the award for...

    Highest Moderated Goatse.cx Link!

  • And a Merry Christmas for those who celebrate it.

    Surely you mean a Joyous Hanukkah or some such. I mean, that looks like a menorah to me, but I could be wrong. ;)

    In terms of music... I was scheduled to "debate Napster" on a school radio show today. Essentially, the producer picked me 'cause he knows I'm "good with computers." He also knows I'm sort of "against" Napster, so I got to be the Con side. By argument is pretty much "File sharing is Good, federal crime is Bad, if you don't like copyright law, the way to change it is not to break it. Oh and, this is what 'fair use' really means." I wasn't too sure that would hold up... fortunately, the show was postponed because the Pro girl had to go produce a TV show. I have to do it tomorrow agianst someone else, a guy who is frighteningly bombastic and determined that he has a right to download whatever the hells he wants. Can anyone point me toward some better stuff for my side of the debate?

    -J
  • Well he might not tell me that actually, given his perosnality, but I acknowldege the point.

    That summation of my view is not complete enough. I acknowledge that Napster broke no law, but it did facilitate it. Napster makes piracy significantly easier. I don't think it should be "shut down," but it requires significant examination.

    -J
  • What's the peacefire guy's problem? He can't sign up for a free email account at one of the hundreds of providers? It kind of sucks they got blacklisted, but that's the price we all pay for spam sympathizers.
    As Ghandi said: "We have absoloutely no interest in secrecy. We intend to let our enemy know exactly what we're doing and hope that they overreact."

    From what I can understand, Peacefire's primary complaint was that they didn't know. BTW: it wasn't Peacefire's IP that was being blacklisted, this time. They just weren't getting mail from the blacklisted site. Above.net (their ISP) was willfully dropping packets, but not telling customers. When the peacefire guys asked above.net, their Customer Support people said "No we're not".

    I've got no problem with above.net blacklisting an entire block of IPs. In fact we almost reveled when they forced Microsoft to cry uncle. They just need to be open about it. If above.net is using RBL to block sites, they should let customers know about it, and even give them a tool to check if the reason why they can't get to a site is that it's being blackholed.

    There are a couple of reasons to be open about such blacklisting. The obvious is that you owe it to your customers. The other is that -- if you want to put pressure on an ISP to change policy, then people have to know that there's something going on.
    `ø,,ø`ø,,ø!

  • OK: so peacefire ISbeing blocked. It was the mailing list provider who's a customer of above.net.
    `ø,,ø`ø,,ø!
  • It's easy to forget that a large portion of the world doesn't have cheap unlimited access to the internet, and in fact in many places in the world, you end up paying per-minute for any phone calls. And even within the US and Canada, there are many regions where you have no choice but to pay per-hour for your internet service.

    E-mail spam in many ways mimics the so-called junk faxes that have been outlawed in most places. Despite this fact, companies still send these junk faxes. I believe that companies and individuals that send these junk e-mails should be treated in the exact same way people who commit the same crime with facsimile machines are. Both are unauthorized use of my resources, which I pay for. I have much less of a problem with junk mail, since I don't have to pay to receive it. The sender pays, and I trash it. I also have a problem with telemarketers because they waste a considerable amount of my time, tie up my telephone and call at inappropriate times.

    I do, however, agree that the MAPS RBL is a rather ineffective measure, and certainly no better than any of the censorware filtering software that we've all grown to hate. The MAPS RBL blocks as much or more legitimate traffic than it stops, and the real solution is to either prevent anyone from sending unsolicited commercial e-mail or to require that all unsolicited spam be marked in a header or on the subject line in a standardized fashion so that the recipient can always filter if he or she chooses to do so. I would certainly prefer the first measure come into being for the simple reason that I don't see why trash e-mails need to be sent -- there are better, less intrusive ways of advertising, the easiest being putting up a website and letting a few search engines spider it.

    And to all the spammers out there: For the millionth time, no I don't want a non-accredited diploma or degree, to make money fast, mass-mailer software, e-mail list CDs, or viagra.

  • i believe that price control is legal in many countries, for example if you buy packet of ciggarettes here in sweden there is a sticker saying "max price 38(or 39 not sure any more) skr"
  • Peacefire ostensibly opposes censorship. If I developed and distributed a program for clogging Islamic mail servers with so much garbage that useful messages couldn't get through, they'd be all over me bitching about how I was interfering with someone's $deity-given right to communicate. Then they'd jump all over my ISP for provide 'net access to such scum. I'd probably even get my own link on their homepage, right under NetNanny.

    But when *their* ISP does that very thing, and all of a sudden it's "Not only are they on a different IP, the company doesn't even spam directly." Even when AboveNet whitelists them -- letting them off easy for consorting with known spammers -- they *still* keep whining.

    Vixie has a blacklist, and they bitch about that. AboveNet has a whitelist, and they bitch about that. It's time for a baptism-by-fire-list. When somebody whines like Peacefire has been doing, their IPs get put on the firelist. As a precondition to using MAPS, ORBS, DUL, and friends, admins would have to agree to *never* block any traffic to a host on the firelist.

    Peacefire seems to want every brain-dead AOLer to have unfettered access to port 25, so let them have it, but just for *.peacefire.org. Let them bask in the glory of a totally unfiltered broadband pipe. Let them handle every spam and DoS attack by themselves. Let them discuss problems one-at-a-time with the BoFH running a spamhaus in Lower Elbonia. Give them the totally open access they seem to want. Let their mailboxes fill up with chain letters, let their news spools overflow with 20k rants from the world's McElwains and Bloxys.

    And when they discover that that is *not* what they really want, that a little control and upstream responsibility is a good thing, let them crawl back to Vixie and beg to be put back on the black list.

  • No, the funniest part is that you looked at that thoroughly disgusting pic long enough to figure that out.
  • You should be able to find out at: http://www.nic.cx/whois.cfm [www.nic.cx] but there appears to be a problem on their backend right now, because when I hit query it says "connect error". Hmmm... a problem on the backend when I query. Somehow, that seems appropriate.

    Regardless of who he is, he's missing out on a lot of ad revenue. If you're gonna be a pornographer, you might as well make money.

  • There is no such thing as 'nonconsensual' speech.

    If there was, your boss would not be able to express the desire to fire you, if you did not agree to hear it.

    There is nothing wrong with unsolicited communication. If you are in my way, I have the right to ask you to move.

    The problem with spam is that it the sending of it generally violates the contracts between the carriers (UUNet, etc) and their customers (the spammer). In other cases, spam can be considered a theft of service.

    Also, your statement "Freedom of speech is only a valid concept when there exists an audience who will willingly listen to that speech." is completely absurd. The entire point of Free (as in liberty) speech is that you have the unfettered right to communicate. Spam, paper junkmail, and Jerry Springer are the prices that we pay to communicate in better and faster ways.

    I find it amazing how people can accept, understand and advocate the notion of 'Free software'; yet cannot understand the Bill of Rightds.

  • The names of sex offenders are published for all to see because they have been convicted of a crime in an open court. Court records, like most government records, are public records, open to all.

    MAPS and ORBS are unaudited private groups who claim to represent the interests of the internet at large. They publish lists of servers which are known 'spammers' or open relays. While we all dislike spam, it is not a crime, nor should it ever be.

    You'll be glad when the law allows you to sue for unauthorized use of your mailservers. Good for you. I'm sure you'll be even happier when internet usage is taxed to support the 'war on spam'.

    I will never understand why people are so psychotic about spam. It's impact on business is nil. People wasting their workday reading and posting to Slashdot and other message boards wastes far more bandwidth than spam.

  • "This record is sold by the National Phonograh Co Ltd upon the condition that it may not be sold or offered for use by the original or any subsequent purchaser (except by an authorized factor to an authorized retail dealer) for less than 1/6 each. Upon any breach of said condition the license to use and vend this record implied from such sale immediately terminates."

    Obviously, it was a mechanism that you could use to make sure you did not resell your copy at a loss. (I wonder how they enforced it as far as private sales go.)

    Obviously, this was intended to cover retail shops. But it still makes you wonder....

  • What's the peacefire guy's problem? He can't sign up for a free email account at one of the hundreds of providers? It kind of sucks they got blacklisted, but that's the price we all pay for spam sympathizers.

    Agreed. Peacefire needs to talk to their access provider and get their provider to stop providing spam support services. Once the provider stops supporting spam they will get out of the blackhole. Nothing could be simpler.

    If I was peacefire I'd be shopping for a new non-spam friendly isp. This really has nothing to do with censorship. The provider aggreed to stop providing spam support then they went back on that agreement. Result? All their IPs get blackholed.

    As far as I'm concerned this provider can rot in the blackhole till hell freezes over.

  • The Peacefire guy's problem is that these sites weren't blacklisted because of spam. Some of them had nothing to do with spam, or anything else that I find at all objectionable. Read the post - all the way through.

    And since when does AboveNet have the right to blacklist entire domains and IP blocks anyway?

    It's all about the Karma Points, baybee...
    Moderators: Read from the bottom up!

  • When I logged on to Slashdot, the sight was pretty grim.
    Their god is Linus Torvalds and they'd live and die for him.
    They believe in source code, and not in the corporate way.
    So I'll go to "slashdot dot org" and post a comment and saaaaayyy....

    HEY THERE MISTER SLASHDOTTER! Merry fscking Christmas!
    Put down that disk of core dumps, and hear my holiday wishes...
    In case you haven't noticed, it's Jesus's birthday
    So get off your penguin-loving butt and fscking celebrate!

  • What's the peacefire guy's problem? He can't sign up for a free email account at one of the hundreds of providers? It kind of sucks they got blacklisted, but that's the price we all pay for spam sympathizers.
  • My home connection to the internet is through Flashcom, who in my area was using Above.net. Since Flashcom is currently in Chapter 11 and have chosen to neither answer their phone nor provide any functionality on their webpage, it is difficult to discern exactly to whom to complain. They certainly could care less now.

    The really odd thing is that my internet access has been otherwise flawless over the last year and a half. I will definitely have to pay more attention to this.

    John
  • AboveNet is participating in a boycott of our ISP, organized by the Mail Abuse Prevention System, because of sites like http://209.211.253.69/ which sell mass email software (but does not spam or use spam for advertising).

    Well, really? media3.net is the ISP in question. Have a look at Spamhaus [spamhaus.org]. Who's at the top of the list? media3.net? gee...
  • by dubl-u ( 51156 ) <2523987012NO@SPAMpota.to> on Thursday December 21, 2000 @11:04PM (#544276)
    Some of them had nothing to do with spam,

    MAPS started by listing the spammer sites [mail-abuse.org]. After six months of trying to get the ISP to clean up their act and being given the runaround, they gave up, and have concluded the ISP is spam-friendly. Since they have been the top listing at spamhaus.org for months, this seems like a pretty reasonable conclusion.

    I'm sure that the people at MAPS think that peacefire is a swell thing. But they have concluded that the ISP is spam-friendly, and so they have listed it as such. It's a shame that Peacefire is using a spam-friendly ISP, but they have the right to decide for themselves, eh?

    And since when does AboveNet have the right to blacklist entire domains and IP blocks anyway?

    AboveNet is only blocking the stuff on their own networks. ISPs who have other routes to Media3 are not affected. An
  • by laborit ( 90558 ) on Friday December 22, 2000 @03:55AM (#544277) Homepage
    Well done! The people who saw it no doubt immediately understood your commentary on the futility of blocking software. I'm sure not a one of them didn't fail to apprehend that this site shouldn't have been viewable, or that it was in place of more worthy ones. Moreover, I'm certain that not a single person walked out of that store thinking, oh, say, "the internet has some horrible smut on it! There ought to be a law!"

    - Michael

    -----
    Go ahead, blame me... I voted for Nader!
  • by RasTafarii ( 135869 ) on Thursday December 21, 2000 @02:56PM (#544278)

    minard writes about seeing a warning label on a wax cylinder sold in Britain in 1905 and states '1/6' is about 10 cents us. [one shilling, 6 pence]

    prior to 1971 and decimalisation the pound sterling contained 20 shillings or 240 old pence thereby making a shilling = 12 pence.

    before 1914 one pound sterling was worth us$5.00, doing the math: 18 pence*2.08333 = us$0.375 cents.

    an inflation calculator [http://www.westegg.com/inflation/] gives the value of us$0.375 cents in 1905 as us$6.75 in 1999, not bad considering us$5 per week was considered a decent wage in 1905...

  • by strredwolf ( 532 ) on Thursday December 21, 2000 @04:26PM (#544279) Homepage Journal
    Aparently, neither jamie nor Peacefire haven't done their research yet. Lets see now...

    • Media3's one of the top spam producers (were it not for UU.NET) -- see Spamhaus and news.admin.net-abuse.sightings.
    • Media3 hosts spammers. They may use throwaway dialups to open mail servers, but they host the pages that are the main cause. Once again, news.admin.net-abuse.sightings
    • Efforts to get this to the attention of *anybody* without a clueless responce has been a waste of a few good phone calls by voice. news.admin.net-abuse.email
    So, yes, the RBL listing is nessisary -- just as publishing the identities of child molesters is now nessisary (and quite legal in many court decisions over the years). But it is only a publication -- what you do with the information is up to you. Most ISP's who use it block mail that is comming from them. Above.net (who Vixie left about a year ago if not more, get it straight) chooses to block any connection.

    And while I'll prase Peacefire for doing *some* homework (unlike jamie, who fell for alot of the hype and FUD) for contacting MAPS and Above.net, their next step is to contact their upstream to find out why they're not getting a clean, spam-free feed to the Internet. If they don't get an answer, a good solid answer, not just another clueless reply, then walk to another provider.

    I'll be glad when there's a national law in which we can sue them for unauthorized commercial usage of mail servers. I betcha CmdrTaco can run Slashdot and AnimeFu on what's left from the lawyers cut...

    --
    WolfSkunks for a better Linux Kernel
    $Stalag99{"URL"}="http://stalag99.keenspace.com";

  • by Phexro ( 9814 ) on Thursday December 21, 2000 @02:12PM (#544280)
    i was in a radioshack the other day. they had computers set up with some sort of broadband net access. and cyber patrol to filter out all the smut.

    i try to load the peacefire [peacefire.org] webpage. it's blocked. no surprise there. so i try to load www.goatse.cx [goatse.cx]. it's not blocked.

    i left it open, so the customers have something to think about, then left.
    --
  • by The Famous Brett Wat ( 12688 ) on Thursday December 21, 2000 @04:03PM (#544281) Homepage Journal
    This whole Peacefire/Media3/RBL thing seems to trigger so many emotional responses that it's impossible to have a rational debate about it. It doesn't help that spammers usually yelp about freedom of speech and anti-censorship sentiments to back their supposed right to spam.

    Let's be clear on this. Media3 is what's in the RBL, not Peacefire specifically. Media3 is a spam-friendly provider, and given the spam problem that I face on a daily basis, I'm very pleased that they're on the list. If they weren't, I'd add them to my own blacklist. Of course, I'd just be blacklisting them at the SMTP level, not the IP level, which is what certain other organisations (like above.net, at least for some of the time) have done.

    Why blacklist Media3 at the IP level? It's not because they have people selling spam-tools, believe it or not. Nowhere in the mail-abuse guidelines does it talk about blacklisting people for selling spamming tools. Personally I detest spamming tools and the people that sell them, but I'm aware that one can't easily pick and choose about blocking sites on this basis. That is a form of censorship, and I think censoring the Internet is futile, even if it would serve my particular desires.

    So if it's not about the tools, then what's it about? It's about the spam, stupid! The people who sell the spamming tools use the spamming tools to advertise their wares. The spam isn't necessarily originating from Media3's network: I expect that their terms and conditions prohibit it. So what does a spammer do? They host their permanent web page at Media3, then spam-advertise that web page via some other service entirely. Create a throw-away account, spam until it gets terminated, rinse, repeat. Under these circumstances, the only real way to hurt the spammer is to target their web page. It's getting close to borderline, but I believe that the RBL is still quite justified in their actions here.

    My advice to Peacefire (all 2 cents worth, discounted and donated to the public domain) is to stop dealing with a spam-friendly service provider. It's one thing to support freedom of speech, but spam is nonconsensual speech. It's noise thrust upon you by a sociopathic git who's playing the numbers game. I do my level best to avoid spam, and I've had to deal with several items in the last day. I'm all for freedom of speech, so long as I maintain the freedom to not have everyone else's junk arbitrarily delivered to my inbox when I don't want it. Freedom of speech is only a valid concept when there exists an audience who will willingly listen to that speech. When it comes to imposing speech on an unwilling audience, that's a violation of the rights of the audience, not an affirmation of the rights of the speaker.

    Peacefire, from all that I've seen, is doing a valuable job. Don't spoil it by confusing anti-spam measures with censorship. Both issues are too important to conflict like this.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay

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