July 15, 2002
Spam news

Spam news An interesting article on the proliferation of blocklists, which are used to filter out spam by ISPs. Blocklist admins have gotten more aggressive in their filtering, which has led to an increase in false positives:

Magdalena Donea, a system administrator at Web hosting company KIA Internet Solutions, found a set of her company's IP addresses blacklisted recently on SPEWS. She successfully lobbied to get the listing removed, but it was relisted a second time with additional IP addresses, a move that also affected a company client, the Libertarian Party.

"The SPEWS system is unapologetic about false positives and even regards them as a plus. They've taken the 'ends justify the means' argument way farther than I've seen anyone else take it," Donea said.

"Their philosophy appears to be that if innocent businesses and individuals on the periphery of spam-house blocklists are affected, then those innocents will have no other choice but to pressure their upstream provider to remove the spammers from their blocks, thereby solving the spam problem bit by a bit. Draconian, yes. Effective? Sure."

The more spam I see in the course of my job, the more sympathetic I am to SPEWS' position. And when I do start getting mail through my own domain, I've already got a large list of domains from which I will reject all mail. I only wish I could do that now in Yahoo mail, instead of their wimpy system of blocking by address only.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 15, 2002 to Technology, science, and math