Wave of the Future (Spam)

From: Brian Chase <bdc_at_world.std.com>
Date: Thu Jun 21 12:55:49 2001

On Thu, 21 Jun 2001, Richard Erlacher wrote:

> I'm not convinced any more than 1 part in 10E23 of the user of
> OUTLOOK/OUTLOOK EXPRESS even know about that feature. However, if
> we're going to preseve the bandwidth so we can have "free" internet
> for any more than a few more years, we're going to have to give up
> something.

Well, I guess that all depends on whether the curve of Moore's Law can out
pace the spammers. I don't see major issues with the net being over
congested with spam. It's an annoyance getting spam in your mailbox, but
I'd imagine there are other things aside from spam more significantly
impacting network performance.

> Disposing of the mechanism that allows SPAMmers to send a
> single email to a downstream server with the full expectation that the
> server, outside his own domain, will distribute the mail at no cost to
> him, will quickly quell the vast increase of unsolicited email.

I do think that outlawing the "Cc" or "Bcc" mechanism's in e-mail is a bit
of an extreme / kind of "out there" suggestion. I really just don't ever
see that happening.

And as someone else already pointed out, there's nothing to prevent
spammers from generating lists of e-mail addresses and then just writing a
script to spam each user individually. Which actually just makes things a
lot worse. Sendmail, and I imagine other mail servers, try to be smart
about routing e-mail. If there's a "Cc" line with multiple users at the
same site, then sendmail only send's a single copy of the message to that
site. That site's MTA then breaks the message into individual copies for
the individual users. By allowing for only one user to be a recipient,
and forcing spammers to send individual messages, you're undermining
sendmail's ability to intelligently route traffic--and probably amplying
the overall mail traffic going across the internet by a significant

And even if the spammer isn't clueful enough to write a script, there's
nothing to prevent spam marketing companies to provide this mechanism for
them, or for that matter, they could just set up a mailing list for their
spammer customers to use.

> I'm curious why you're taking a position favoring SPAMmers? I have
> nothing against them. They're just using a facility that's avaiable
> to them. I view their unpaid consumption of bandwidth as a theft of
> bandwidth from the users who pay for what they waste with their SPAM,
> however, though they make their money that way, so they don't see it
> as waste.
> [...]

I think my main point would be that your suggested fix doesn't actually
eliminate the problem, and that it would likely actually make the amount
of wasted bandwidth increase while also inconveniencing legitimate users
who're accustomed to Cc'ing multiple people.

> Things that provide benefit to some should be paid for by the ones who
> reap the benefit, and proportionally (but perhaps not in linear
> proportion) to how much they use. Likewise, I think it's unfair that
> users of passenger vehicles that don't wear the roadways much at all
> pay more tax per pound of gross-vehicle-weight than the owners of the
> huge semi-tractor-trailer rigs that permanently alter the roadway in
> only one pass over it.

Don't toll roads work like this? Bigger trucks have to go through
different toll booths than passenger vehicles.

> Likewise, as the folks in California will probably consider, the usage
> of MORE electrical power should not be discounted. If you use what a
> small household uses, you should get the minimal rate. If you use, 5x
> what the typical small household uses, you should pay 5x what that
> household uses, i.e. 5x the amount per kWH, and if you use 1000x
> kWH's, then you should pay 1000x the amount, per kWH that the small
> household has to pay. It all gets passed to the end user of the
> products and services that would be increased in cost. Maybe that
> would get some folks to turn off the TV and air-conditioning once in a
> while.
> [...]

Well, even at a flat rate per kWH, the people using the most do actually
pay the most. 10 kWH at $1/hr is $10, 50 kWH at $1/hr is $50. This is
probably the most fair arrangement. From what I rememeber living in
California from 1996-2000, the electric utilities there charged you a
certain rate per kWH used under some fixed limit for a household. If you
went beyond that limit, they did increase the rate (not discount it),
penalizing heavy/wasteful electricity users.

Received on Thu Jun 21 2001 - 12:55:49 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:33:59 BST