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Above.net Blackholes, Unblackholes Macromedia

jamie posted more than 13 years ago | from the I-didn't-know-they-could-do-that dept.

Censorship 334

Last week, neonzebra wrote us: "In addition to peacefire.org, and thousands of other blacklisted sites (some unjustifiably), the SPAM nazis at Above.net have now added internet software giant Macromedia to the list. Anyone trying to access Macromedia's website through Above.net's backbone will get a 'site not responding' error." And around the same time, aangelis wrote: "It seems that for the last 4 days Macromedia's web servers give back to my browser not even a bit! Are they down? Maybe it is a DNS problem, but nearly twenty people located at Greece, EU told me the same thing!" It wasn't a DNS problem. Last week, in a high-profile example of stealth blocking, Macromedia's website vanished from a significant minority of the internet. The site reappeared Friday, but I think it's worth taking notice of what happened last week anyway. Details below...

This is a sequel to last December's article, MAPS RBL is now Censorware. For the (very) long version of how the RBL works, and how it sometimes fills the same role as "filtering" software, go take a peek.

The short version is that a small group of anti-spam crusaders called MAPS publishes the RBL, which many ISPs subscribe to. Those ISPs block mail to and from addresses on the RBL list.

Some subscribers, notably the backbone provider Above.net, whose CTO is a MAPS co-founder, use the RBL to block not only mail but all internet traffic from IPs listed by RBL. Thus, to cleints of these providers, sites deemed to deliver spam -- or merely deemed spam-friendly -- just drop off the net.

That CTO/co-founder is Paul Vixie, author of Vixie cron and BIND and all kinds of good stuff. He makes some interesting observations about censorship in a 1997 SunWorld interview.

I checked the RBL's servers Thursday night and found that two of Macromedia's IPs were actually blocked. postal.macromedia.com was blocked, which makes sense for stopping spam; presumably that's where the spam emenates from.

But the other IP blocked was www.macromedia.com, which is of course their Web address. Blocking this address, I would assume, stops no spam from reaching anyone's inbox.

What it does do is get Macromedia's attention. Because Above.net blocks all traffic and is a major backbone provider, being put on the RBL effectively takes a site off the net for many users. Taking down a big corporation's website is a good way to show you mean business.

(Above.net's abuse department said I would have to talk to public relations, but their PR contact did not return repeated phone calls.)

I spoke with a Macromedia spokesperson both last week and today. She confirmed that "there were two addresses blocked, one of which resulted in users worldwide not being able to access the website." She also repeated several times that they were on the RBL for their email newsletter "the Edge," saying it "does have an opt-in model, that does not spam."

She also pointed out that "worldwide access to macromedia.com has been restored." That access happened sometime Thursday night or Friday morning. Our Slashdot submissions about the downed site came in on Thursday, and I confirmed the IP numbers' presence on the RBL Thursday during the day.

I've contacted several people at MAPS, but they had no comment and (per their policy) refused to tell me how long those IPs had been on the RBL.

The rationale for the RBL is that it tries to "prevent ... our paying, in money and resources and our own time, to receive and process, or relay, traffic which is nonconsensual in nature." (Their emphasis.) What is "nonconsensual" about reading Macromedia's website? Why was www.macromedia.com on the list?

I'm only running this story because it's Macromedia. After all, one it's of the larger sites on the net, home of Flash animation among other things. If it can be quietly removed from a chunk of the net, who can't? (If you noticed Macromedia missing last week, post a comment!)

Take a moment to go read that stealth blocking statement, issued last week. I signed as a member of the Censorware Project; other signatories were the ACLU, CPSR, EFF, and EPIC. We're concerned that, as the statement says:

ISPs that practice "stealth blocking" are violating consumer protection principles and restricting user choice and freedom in cyberspace.

What do you think?

cancel ×

334 comments

"Consensual" indeed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#207301)

Considering I've been harassed by email, by an on-duty MAPS employee, using MAPS own mail server, and had to ask for their lawyer's contact info to get them to force him to stop, I'd have to say their entire line about "all communications must be mutually consensual" (at http://www.mail-abuse.org/lawsuit/ [mail-abuse.org] ) is so much bullshit.

They have an agenda, all right, and it seems to have more to do with silencing opinions they don't agree with than anything to do with what normal people call spam.

Big talk! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#207302)

Now tell me what you would do if the only high-speed access you could get was through an ISP on the Above.net backbone!

Re:I think.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#207303)

Is it that simple now? Do private companies have the right to limit what is arguably a *public service*? Your "hands-off" approach also breaks down when looking at other business models. Take for example:

"Hey, we're a private automobile company; it's our right to refuse to put seatbelts in our cars, even if our customers demand it!"

or

"Hey we're a private bottled water company; it's our right to ignore all those safety standards!"

or

"Hey we're a private trucking campany! It's our right to deny goods and services to the state of Montana!"

You see, none of the above campanies above actually have those "rights". So it's questionable to even think it's okay for a private company to do whatever the hell it wants with the services it sells.

I'm not saying that an ISP does *not* have the right to limit traffic from certain places. I'm just saying you've framed your argument the wrong way.

Noticed the problem, didn't notice the reason (5)

ximenes (10) | more than 13 years ago | (#207308)

As it happens, I did notice that Macromedia's website was unavailable last week. I was going there to download Flash or something of the sort. After making sure that my general Internet access was still operating, I gave up and tried again a few days later.
<P>
The important part is that I had no idea why Macromedia's site wasn't responding. Presumably due to some kind of legitimate, undesired situation on their end somewhere. I never would have expected this to be the reason.
<P>
All this blocking by MAPS and Above.net resulted in was me, a user who has never received e-mail from Macromedia, being unable to do what I wanted to. Neither my employer or me are Above.net customers, nor are we users of MAPS. We had no idea of what was going on (that it had been blocked due to "spam"), and we were not in favor of the action being taken.
<P>
Nevertheless, we were affected by the actions of MAPS and Above.net, as were Macromedia. That isn't very acceptable to me. Is this supposed to be for my own good?

A bunch of unrelated misc. points (2)

Tony Shepps (333) | more than 13 years ago | (#207310)

  • What if Macromedia's outgoing spam was in HTML and largely depended on www.macromedia.com?

  • Jamie remains my favorite /. editor by once again going the extra mile in hunting down the facts behind a story. All hail Jamie!

  • ...their PR contact did not return repeated phone calls. Oh, that is PRICELESS! Folks, if your PR people get calls from Slashdot, and ignore them, fire your PR people. They do not know what they are doing.

    I bet Above.Net's flacks don't ignore phone calls from the local daily paper - even though THAT media outlet has fewer readers, many fewer readers with a clue, and many many fewer readers in decision-making positions.


To be fair, it is debateable as to (1)

RobotSlave (1780) | more than 13 years ago | (#207316)

whether or not Michael's actions constitute "censorship." With that said, I really don't understand why he continues to imply on censorware.com that the Project Censorware site "is no more," when there is a rather nice site for the project at censorware.net [slashdot.org] . He doesn't even link to that site from censoreware.com, suggesting instead that those interested in fighting censorware ought to contact him via email.

In my stupid opinion, the right thing for Michael to do now is to point the censorware.com nameservers at censorware.net, thereby declawing Seth's complaint, and getting users to the information they're looking for.

OT-- I appreciate your outrage, but calling anyone an idiot is a really good way to get modded down for trolling. Likewise, I think demands that Michael apologize, or that Taco or Andover fire the man, are not going to help anyone or improve the situation.

Re:People need to pull there head out.... (4)

jamiemccarthy (4847) | more than 13 years ago | (#207318)

"The RBL only block MAIL!! ... Jamie should learn a few things about the how things work before allowed to post things again."

Readers said the same thing last December; go check the story MAPS RBL is now Censorware [slashdot.org] , its updated section, the information about the BGP and so on.

Trust me on this. I read it very carefully in December: some ISPs use the RBL to block all traffic, not just mail. Not all ISPs. But one ISP is enough, if that ISP is a major backbone provider [above.net] .

Jamie McCarthy

Now wait a minute... (2)

Booker (6173) | more than 13 years ago | (#207324)

I thought the RBL was so that you could configure your network to not accept MAIL from the offending hosts.

But the other IP blocked was www.macromedia.com, which is of course their Web address. Blocking this address, I would assume, stops no spam from reaching anyone's inbox.

That's only true if mail never comes from www.macromedia.com, which is an assumption on your part.

It seems possible that "spam" was sent out from the host "www.macromedia.com" and as such, that machine was also in the RBL.

But if you're using the RBL to block ALL traffic from those hosts, then that's your problem, right? That's not what the RBL was designed for. If "www.macromedia.com" made the list, then sysadmins who choose to use the RBL will not accept mail from www.macromedia.com.

But that shouldn't mean that HTTP traffic is shut off.

What am I missing?

Planetquake.com (1)

Lando (9348) | more than 13 years ago | (#207329)

I'm having the same problem getting to planetquake currently.

I am using charter.net, ie cable, to access the net from home. At work I route to the planetquake servers just fine, but from home routing a traceroute reveals that that messages go through att.net and somewhere in there the networking is lost.

Is there a list of suggestions on determining what the problem is, currently I have talking with my cable provider and have sent messages to technical support at att.net, but have had little success. Been down about 3 weeks now.

Lando

Re:People need to pull there head out.... (2)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 13 years ago | (#207331)

mod that down to -1, Troll, please.

You obviously didn't read it at all. The RBL is supposed to be only for mail, but Above.net likes to use it to block EVERYTHING.

Re:RBL is opt-in (4)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 13 years ago | (#207333)

the sad thing is you'll get modd'ed up to +5 Informative by the blind moderators.

Consumers have the choice of moving to a provider that doesn't opt-in if they desire to.

Someone always raises this. This would be fine if this was just mail blocking, but this is total IP traffic blocking if you happen to route via above.net. Usually you have little choice as a consumer on who your ISP routes through, and your ISP often has little choice too -- what if above.net is a backup route, and ___Net is down today, so you get filtered IP access? In addition, most ISP's are loathe to disclose routing information, so you have to get what you can from traceroute, and have no idea if above.net is a backup route.

You are missing the whole point in your post -- probably due to not reading the whole article -- in this case, it wasn't just a matter of RBL blocking email. It was a matter of censored access to www sites.

"common carrier" status lost (5)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 13 years ago | (#207334)

This has been mentioned about 10^6 times in respect to censorship here before, but by selectively filtering IP traffic to places they don't like (for political and ideological reasons, not for network integrity reasons) does above.net lose any possible status as a common carrier, and are they now responsible for filtering traffic to meet US law? That is, are they going to have to filter out stuff like DeCSS, porn that violates decency standards, and whatever anyone can get a court order on?

blacklisting is truly annoying... (1)

LWolenczak (10527) | more than 13 years ago | (#207335)

The provider that provides the connection where I work seems to blacklist stuff. I have noticed many websites I cannot access... as if port 80 is blocked, but I can traceroute to it, ping it in some cases, and if I ssh home, I can get to the site. *shrug*

Re:"common carrier" status lost (5)

mrsam (12205) | more than 13 years ago | (#207343)

...does above.net lose any possible status as a common carrier?...

above.net has nothing to lose. The notion that ISPs are common carriers is an urban legend. You do not become a "common carrier" simply by proclaiming yourself to be one. The common carrier status is something that has to be explicitly granted by the FCC, and it comes with stringent standards and regulations. Neither above.net, nor consumer ISPs are common carriers. There is some confusion whether or not ISPs operated by RBOCs (Verizoff, USWorst, PacHell) are common carriers, or not, but that's about it.

And just to clear up another popular misconception: above.net does not have any legal obligation to uphold anyone's First Ammendment rights. The 1st Ammendment only applies to the government. Unless above.net is a federal, state, or local, government agency, they are under no legal obligation to carry anyone's packets.

Although I am not familiar with the details of this particular situation, I strongly support above.net's right to firewall anyone and everyone they choose to firewall for any reason whatsoever. What those pseudo-libertarians around here who are shaking with righteous indignation, right now, are failing to realize is that civil liberties go both ways. If you would like to have your civil liberties respected, you'll just have to respect everyone else's civil liberties too. Blocking network traffic to/from netblocks that you don't want to route traffic to is conceptually identical to not being able to tell people to stop driving on your front lawn. This is above.net's network, their private properties, they have every right to tell anyone that they cannot use it, just like you have the civil right to tell anyone that they cannot drive on your private property too.

---

Re:RBL goes against the spirit of the internet (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#207345)

Well, if we're connected through Abovenet, then yes, someone controls my inbox and your inbox, and in this case they even control our web browsers. The only question is whether we prefer them to have this control, or not. But if there's no indication that Abovenet does this sort of blackholing, then there can't really be a choice on the user's part as to whether they prefer Abovenet or not, can there? Membership for those users is not voluntary, because they don't know they're members.

I believe in the RBL, but I don't believe in giving them total power. The RBL is a great tool if you choose to use it, but users should have that choice to make and should know that they have such a choice.

Of course better oversight on the part of Vixie & co. wouldn't hurt either, but as long as users have a choice then any overzealousness will just come home to roost as users desert the RBL, so that's really just a secondary problem.

Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

Re:RBL getting out of hand... (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#207346)

The only problem is that the users didn't really get a choice as to whether those sites should be blocked or not. They can't pressure Abovenet to use or not use the RBL if they don't know of its use in the first place.

Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

Macromedia opt-in? (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 13 years ago | (#207352)

Macromedia uses opt-in? Is this double-confirmation opt-in, or is it the "We'll tell you that your name was added and start bombarding you with spam unless and until you navigate our 37-step process for removing your name." style of pseudo-opt-in? If it's the latter, which I suspect it is, then I've no sympathy for Macromedia at all, seeing as a friend of mine is being harrassed by someone using the second "opt-in" method.

I see war brewing... (1)

lazlo (15906) | more than 13 years ago | (#207355)

So what do you think the chances are that the next version of the Flash plug-in will slightly "modify" your browser's operation when you try to access above.net or the RBL pages?

Hmmmmm...

Re:I think.. (1)

dr_strangelove (16081) | more than 13 years ago | (#207356)

Bingo!

Give that man a cee-gar...

Don't like your ISP's policies?

Find another ISP.

Re:Don't use Above.net (3)

Kysh (16242) | more than 13 years ago | (#207358)

I use Abovenet. And I have no problem with them
using BGP blackholing of RBL sites, at all.
I fully support that. Less spam for me, for one.
For two, I fully support the efforts of the RBL,
and know that only struggle and effort on the
part of system and network admins like me, against
the voices of the idiot users who don't see the
full picture, keeps the world as spam-free as it
is. Spammers are winning the battle- They are the
enemy, not the MAPS people, who are providing a
service, and dare I say, a damned fine service,
to the system and network administrators that are
intelligent enough to use it.

Even worse than the spammers are the people who
support spammers and spamming in general, and
the end users who just write off spam as a necessary evil. It is NOT, but if you give up on
anti-spam measures, all is already lost.

-Kysh

Re:How do you avoid this? (2)

wesmills (18791) | more than 13 years ago | (#207371)

It would work, but only if anonymizer didn't go through Above.net's backbone. Basically, what Above.net is doing is telling their border routers (which connect their network to other networks, hence the Internet) that any packets destined to or from www.macromedia.com's IP address(es) are to be what we call "null routed," or delivered into the equivalent of a black hole. Data goeth in, it don't goeth out.

The catch with Akamai is that there has to be one point at which Macromedia's site is accessed, even before it turns you over to Akamai's caching network. If you knew to access Macromedia through http://macromedia.akamai.net/3/24/99/00/www.macrom edia.com (that doesn't work, I made it up), you could get to Macromedia's site. But if you had to go to www.macromedia.com (IP 111.11.111.11, in our fictional example) through Above.net's network, and Above.net had said "make IP 111.11.111.11 disappear" to its routers, you'd sitll be out of luck.

---

good on them (1)

WiPEOUT (20036) | more than 13 years ago | (#207377)

I can't say that I was affected by the blocking of macromedia's web site. If MAPS manages to help prevent the 200-400 unsolicited emails I receive weekly from arriving in my inbox, I will be more than happy to put up with the occasional glitch.

Re:I think.. (1)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 13 years ago | (#207378)

Hey, we're a private automobile company; it's our right to refuse to put seatbelts in our cars, even if our customers demand it!"

or

"Hey we're a private bottled water company; it's our right to ignore all those safety standards!"

or

"Hey we're a private trucking campany! It's our right to deny goods and services to the state of Montana!"

You see, none of the above campanies above actually have those "rights".


Well, they should.

I think.. (2)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 13 years ago | (#207379)

What do you think?

I think private companies can carry or drop whatever internet traffic they want to for any reason they want.

Pretty simple, actually.

Re:RBL goes against the spirit of the internet (2)

Fluffy the Cat (29157) | more than 13 years ago | (#207383)

Above.net has never made any secret of their usage of the RBL to blackhole traffic. If you don't like it, don't peer with them. Above.net is under no obligation to carry any traffic other than that stipulated in their contracts with other ISPs. If this affected you, somebody somewhere signed a contract on your behalf that lets this happen.

Re:RBL getting out of hand... (1)

Mike Van Pelt (32582) | more than 13 years ago | (#207387)

Q: What IP traffic did Vixie block?

A: None whatsoever. The various ISPs and other sites which freely choose to use RBL blocked the IP traffic, because they trust the judgement of those who put sites on the RBL.

This was probably just a mistake, like we all make from time to time. If RBL lists too many sites that too many of its customers and users want to exchange mail and IP packets with, then those sites will cease to use RBL for filtering.

Why is this a big deal? Presumably, Vixie and the RBL folks want people to use their service, so they'll list sites that do things that their customer really want blocked. If they fail to do this, their service won't be used any more, and they will become irrelevant.

Re:"common carrier" status lost (1)

Another MacHack (32639) | more than 13 years ago | (#207388)

The issue isn't whether they have the right do control traffic on their private network, which they do, but whether they have an obligation to be up-front to their customers about such blocking, which I believe they should.

They are intentionally degrading the performance of their network in such a way as to cause the appearence of the trouble being at the remote site.

You generally can't "opt-in" to a backbone.

The deep web (2)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 13 years ago | (#207393)

Actually who really decides what you see on the net are the search engines, particularly as smart algorithms like Googles (the only search engine worth using!) become more prevalant.

Apparently only 1% of the web is indexed and 99% is not!!! The 99%, which is referred to as the "deep web" is only there if you stumble into bits of it, or utilize any of the specialy engines or indices that touch upon it.

Re:The deep web (1)

miahrogers (34176) | more than 13 years ago | (#207394)

I don't see exactly what choice google has on that issue. Google is a crawler, and if it hasn't come across your website you can submit it to the crawler to get crawled in the future. Google doesn't single out sites which they choose not to list (afaik), these sites are probably just not linked to from many places, which means it takes forever for them to show up.

While it does suck that google doesn't let me search everything, there is an ungodly amount of information and basically no feasable way to organize it without high powerd clusters of computers.

Re:RBL goes against the spirit of the internet (2)

revscat (35618) | more than 13 years ago | (#207398)

Hogwash. Membership is voluntary.

So what? If I disagree with what MAPS decides, and somewhere upstream is a MAPS member, then I have no choice but to go along with what they say I can or cannot see. That is totalitarian in this context. And moving to another ISP is unacceptable for the simple reason that that should't be required. The Net was founded upon open access to all IPs, with no central authority deciding what users can or cannot see. Period.

- Rev.

RBL goes against the spirit of the internet (4)

revscat (35618) | more than 13 years ago | (#207399)

It pains me to say this, but the RBL has become something to be abhorred, not loved. The purpose was (is!) noble, but for all practical purposes we have a few elites who are controlling a significant amount of traffic on the internet, based upon their own personal judgment calls. There is no system of checks and balances to make sure that mistakes like this do not occur, nor is there any recourse for someone to take if they do not believe they fit the classification of spammer and have nevertheless been blacklisted.

I hate spam as much as anybody, and hope for a gooey death for all of them. But MAPS is heading towards becoming a de facto totalitarian organization, deciding who gets to see what on the net. This is a dangerous thing, and don't think that there aren't governments out there who will take MAPS' tactics and apply them in even more unsavory ways.

- Rev.

Re:Now wait a minute... (2)

Zurk (37028) | more than 13 years ago | (#207402)

what youre missing is that above.net and some other backbone providers configured their cisco routers to read from the MAPS RBL list to block ALL packets flowing from hosts listed in there. someone should bash above.net's head in for doing this with a class action lawsuit.

Re:RBL is opt-in (2)

oolon (43347) | more than 13 years ago | (#207408)

I can understand why they have moved to IP blocking, most email is directly sent to the receiver these days and email routers are not used nearly so much. HOWEVER blocking all connections to an from the site is unacceptable in my book. If block outgoing SMTP connections. Perhaps blocking incomming ones... but thats is blocking us non spammers so that kind of unfair, blocking all net access, frankly I would be tempted to go to court on that one.

As said before blocking IPs from routing affects people who do not opt in, personally, I think they should only decide what there end usrs get not everyone else.

James

Re:Don't use Above.net (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#207412)

Their customers pay them for that "crap".

Re:The deep web (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#207413)

or actually putting it into the protocol.

What do I think? (2)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 13 years ago | (#207414)

I think like 99% of stories on Slashdot today you're blowing it totally out of proportion.

Hey Jamie! You lose! (1)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 13 years ago | (#207415)

I think like 99% of stories on Slashdot today you're blowing it totally out of proportion.

Amen. I note that Jamie has violated Godwin's Law, and therefore automatically loses the argument. Here's the text from the jargon file:
Godwin's Law prov.
[Usenet] "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. Godwin's Law thus practically guarantees the existence of an upper bound on thread length in those groups. However there is also a widely- recognized codicil that any intentional triggering of Godwin's Law in order to invoke its thread-ending effects will be unsuccessful.
Why do I get the feeling that if somebody sneezed while Jamie was talking he'd declare it a cynical cryptofascist attempt to interfere with his right to speak without interference and demand an immediate boycott of all sneezers and mandatory administration of Benadryl?

Not quite (2)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 13 years ago | (#207416)

Except in my locality broadband is a monopoly! I CAN'T choose someone else. Otherwise I'd be more inclined to agree with you.

Assuming that your link is to your broadband connection, I don't buy it. There may be only one company the provides cheap high-speed connections in your area, but I'd bet you can get cheap low-speed connections or pricey high-speed ones.

If you're only willing to pay for low-budget, you shouldn't expect a lot of control over the outcome. At a fancy restaurant, they'll make whatever you want as long as they have the ingredients. At McDonald's, you only can order what's on the menu.

SPAMcop (2)

snubber1 (56537) | more than 13 years ago | (#207427)

I get my fair share of spam. I report all to spamcop [spamcop.net] for processing. Many messages get examined and the IPs get sent to ORBS for possible blocking and such. The part where macromedia comes in is when spam, in HTML, has flash. There is the url in the html telling the browser where to get the appropriate plugin. Spamcop picks up on this and reports it as a spam-related service...

Too bad (5)

babbage (61057) | more than 13 years ago | (#207431)

Ahh, if only it were that easy to make Flash go away. Sadly, the software is out in the wild, and even if we cut off the source, we'll still be seeing stupid Flash intro pages for years to come. Killing off Flash is indeed an admirable goal, but I'm afraid this isn't the most effective way to do it.

;)

i don't like it (1)

TomL (63825) | more than 13 years ago | (#207434)

while stopping spam is a noble idea, this method is just too extreme and unjust. i'll bet that things are only to get worse from here. blocking the mail server is one thing, and makes some sense, but the web server? totally unwarranted.

Re:People need to pull there head out.... (1)

Farce Pest (67765) | more than 13 years ago | (#207437)

Take your own advice (above). RBL is also exported as a BGP feed, so it affects your routing, if you subscribe to it, and this affects ALL IP traffic.

Don't use Above.net (3)

emf (68407) | more than 13 years ago | (#207438)


It should be up to me what traffic I want to block, not my ISP. If I were an Above.net customer I would be looking for another ISP. I'm suprised their customers let them get away with that crap.

Re:Wow... (1)

graxrmelg (71438) | more than 13 years ago | (#207441)

What an aggressive step. They effectively took down a website because of a newsletter.

First, if you can't take action against the Web sites of spammers, but only against the (usually throwaway) e-mail accounts they spam from, then stopping spam is close to impossible. Second, spam doesn't automatically become legitimate just because it's sent by a big company.

above.net blocked me, too (5)

ahodgson (74077) | more than 13 years ago | (#207442)

Above.net dropped packets bound for a couple of my systems last year, because I was a secondary DNS provider for ORBS, who Above.net was in a pissing contest with (mostly due to MAPS wanting to create a monopoly on anti-spam services, but also due to some questionable things the ORBS operator was doing from New Zealand).

It's a fine line. Clearly, above.net has the right to do anything they want with their systems, and I fully support that right (it's the only thing that allows us to fight SPAM at all).

However, their customers should know what they're doing so they can make an informed choice about who they get service from.

Dave Rand, the MAPS board member and CTO of Above.net, actually sent me a note threatening to block my employer's class C if I so much as connected to any of above.net's mail servers, just because I was associated with ORBS.

Bottom line - Rand's a dick. But, MAPS does good things and Above.net supporting them helps keep the real SPAM under control.

Re:RBL is opt-in (2)

Speare (84249) | more than 13 years ago | (#207450)

The RBL is opt-in. Consumers have the choice of moving to a provider that doesn't opt-in if they desire.

This is a frog-in-the-pot argument. (A frog won't notice the water heating slowly until it's too late to save itself from cooking.)

Let's rephrase this:

The subscriber software application market is opt-in. Consumers have the choice of using other word processors or spreadsheets from competing providers that don't charge for software if they desire. (That is, except for those file formats that are proprietary but ubiquitous throughout many organizations, like Flash or MS-Word. Seen an open source Windows Media Player lately?)

The DVD digital scrambled content is opt-in. Consumers have the choice of viewing movies from tape or laserdisc providers that don't scramble digital content if they desire. (That is, until the players and tapes and laserdiscs are no longer produced. Seen a laserdisc lately?)

Unleaded gasoline and smoke-free flying enjoyed similar "consumer choice" periods until the opponents were worn down. RBL may be seen as a "good thing" too... but if all ISPs choose a solution like RBL, how is it an opt-in for their consumers?

Re:RBL is opt-in (1)

Fluid Truth (100316) | more than 13 years ago | (#207461)

You are missing the whole point in your post -- probably due to not reading the whole article

I would bet it is more likely a lack of understanding. Most people aren't network engineers. The concept of backup routes is probably lost on people (even geeks) who just want to get their work done, surf the web, or play their games.

That does not, however, mean that they aren't missing the point.

Backbone Providers vs. local ISP's (3)

jhagler (102984) | more than 13 years ago | (#207463)

I think the biggest problem here that most people are missing is that Above.net is not your standard ISP. They are what is commonly referred to as a Tier 1 ISP.

When I connect to the Internet as Joe User I have no voice whatsoever as to what path my packets take. I may buy my connectivity from Local.net who in turn buys it from NSP.net who in turn peers with Tier1.net who then peers with Above.net. If it were simply a case whereby I could change my ISP to voice my diapproval with their policies that would be one thing, but as it is I have no way to opt out of using Above.net's pipes.

As a Tier 1 provider it is generally assumed that it is their duty to provide nothing more than an open pipe, anyone with a networking background knows you never apply filters at the core level, that should be handled at the access level. By the very practices of the networking industry in general Above.net is committing several transgressions.

In all honesty they can't afford to commit too many more of these blockings without risking their peering partners dumping them in favor of someone who doesn't apply filters. As a NOC Manager myself I would be horrified to find out I was directly peering with someone who doesn't understand the basics of network topology.

I urge anyone working for the major ISP's to drop Above.net as a peering provider in favor of someone a little more user friendly.

sounds OK to me (2)

13013dobbs (113910) | more than 13 years ago | (#207470)

i don't see the problem. MAPS has a set of guidelines that must be met before an IP is put into the database. Macromedia was, according to MAPS rules, talked to about their ongoing problem and what they need to do to resolve it. Macromedia obviously did not take their advice and were thus added to the RBL.

Re:Now wait a minute... (2)

13013dobbs (113910) | more than 13 years ago | (#207471)

They are getting their RBL feed via BGP [mail-abuse.org] . They are setting thier routers to send those packets to null0.

Re:I think.. (3)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 13 years ago | (#207480)

True, but part of the money you pay is to carry your access provider's costs of transmitting spam. If there was no spam, your access to the entire internet would probably be cheaper.

If you don't agree with how your provider goes about fighting spam, then don't do business with them.

Just like how ISPs can shoose not to carry traffic from other providers.

Whether or not above.net, macromedia, and you are making the right business decisions is being determined in the market, moment by moment, precisely how it should be - by evaluating the proven profitability of those business decisions.

OK, a couple of things... (4)

mdb31 (132237) | more than 13 years ago | (#207485)

First of all, it's spam, not SPAM or Spam (the first refers to unsollicited commercial e-mail, the latter two are trademarks of Hormel). Also, by referencing 'nazis' in your first paragraph, you've already lost your argument, whatever it is...

OK, back to the facts: Macromedia was listed on the RBL because, after several warnings, they continued to operate their 'opt-in' mailing list in an unsafe way, i.e. without requiring confirmation of subscription requests. The RBL is subscribed to by a large number of ISPs to keep their mailservers free from spam: Abovenet uses it to filter all IP packets from or to RBL-listed destinations from their network, which is a little extreme, but not 'stealth' in any way, since it is their stated policy to do this. (Don't like this? Don't buy transit from Abovenet or get an ISP that doesn't transit Abovenet...)

Since Macromedia apparently used their web server to send mail at some point, the result of their RBL listing was: no more Macromedia web services to Abovenet customers, or customers who receive their transit via Abovenet. Does this suck for these customers? Yes. Does it suck as much as large corporations not being a responsible Netizen? No, not at all.

Macromedia could have fixed this 'censorship' problem in 10 minutes by separating the mail and web services on their server, and assigning the web server a new IP address. One DNS change (and a few cache expiries later: give or take 4 hours) later, all would have been OK, web-wise. Why didn't they do it? Probably for the same reason their mailing list practices still suck: ignorance and/or incompetence.

This is not a censorship issue: it's an issue about weeding out the clueless on the Internet. And Macromedia apparently is the weakest link. Goodbye!

Re:RBL goes against the spirit of the internet (1)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 13 years ago | (#207487)

But membership is no longer voluntary if and when a backbone provider decides to implement RBS unilaterally. How, pray tell, does someone opt out? That's what the whole story here is about- that people who didn't want Macromedia blocked woke up to find out that it was and they had no say in the matter. That sure as hell doesn't sound voluntary to me.

Re:Similar to censorware lawsuit. (1)

Zebbers (134389) | more than 13 years ago | (#207490)

umm no...censorware is used by choice. What abovenet does is pre-consumer...so, yes they would be liable.

RBL getting out of hand... (2)

Boulder Geek (137307) | more than 13 years ago | (#207494)

I used to sorta like the RBL as an idea. But it looks like Vixie is just going WAY to far now. SPAM email is one thing, but blocking all IP traffic just because you can is neither moral nor likely to be legal.

Re:I think.. (1)

mellonhead (137423) | more than 13 years ago | (#207495)

If there was no spam, your access to the entire internet would probably be cheaper.
Riiiiiiiiiiight...

It happened to me. (1)

stungod (137601) | more than 13 years ago | (#207496)

Sure enough, I was trying to get some support info from Macromedia last week and couldn't get through from work. All the traces died on Above.net's network. From home and from my colo it worked fine.

I just figured it was more crappy above.net service. Hell, I even opened a trouble ticket with them about this...the tech I talked to didn't know about the RBL listing, or it would have been a whole lot easier to troubleshoot.

So why is it that I can't get mail from Macromedia but I still got REAL spam? Also, why is it that they feel it's necessary to voluntarily block traffic when their network already does such a fine job of that already?



-------------------------------

Wow (1)

BiggestPOS (139071) | more than 13 years ago | (#207497)

I just hope I don't piss someone at UUnet off, having your site essentially drop off the Net is kind of scary. Major backbone providers could hold people like microsoft ransom and demand payment before they let people using their backbone access the site again. Of course the backbone provider would surely lose most of their customers, but still....

Re:RBL goes against the spirit of the internet (1)

fleener (140714) | more than 13 years ago | (#207498)

MAPS is heading towards becoming a de facto totalitarian organization

Hogwash. Membership is voluntary. You do not control my beliefs. You do not control my body. You do not control what occurs in my bedroom. You do not control my inbox. I do. I'm not hurting you. If I'm happy, then leave me alone.

Newsletters can be spam too (3)

fleener (140714) | more than 13 years ago | (#207499)

"Reputable" organizations should be held accountable if they don't follow-up on "newsletter" problems. I subscribed to a major news company's "breaking news" mailing list, only to discover their web-based subscription system repeatedly failed to execute my UNsubscribe request. After many unreturned e-mail and website form complaints I finally added this company to my spam filter. I'd have hauled them into small claims court if I was 65-years-old and had such time on my hands.

Re:RBL goes against the spirit of the internet (3)

fleener (140714) | more than 13 years ago | (#207500)

No, membership is in fact voluntary for the user. If you don't like your provider using MAPS, or your provider's provider using MAPS, then simply change companies. If MAPS is really a bad idea, it will shrivel due to lack of support. It's one of those pesky times when the principles of capitalism actually work. Providers will not use MAPS if their customers don't want it.

This is totally unjustified. (1)

J.C.B. (141141) | more than 13 years ago | (#207501)

The RBL should only be used to filter mail. Other non-mail internet traffic, especially backbone traffic, shouldn't touch the RBL.

Blocking websites doesn't stop spam, and using the RBL to block websites will just end up pissing people off and causing a backlash against the use of the RBL for anything.

Similar to censorware lawsuit. (2)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 13 years ago | (#207505)

The blocked site can file lawsuits against above.net for intentionally interferance. This is the same type of lawsuit that could be filed against censorware publishers for wrongfully putting a site on the blocked list.

The difference between a censorware list is that you don't have a libel claim...or do you. The above net practice could give the impression of bad system operations or of being a spammer.

Ambivalence (1)

bradmajors69 (144135) | more than 13 years ago | (#207507)

On one hand, its dreadful that above.net would try to decide for its users what they can and can't see, on the other hand, god does spam suck, and whats up with Macromedia that they feel like they need to spam? Maybe something like this needs to be done to get their attention.

The real issue here seems to be that above.net is doing it 'stealthfully'. Would it be better if they returned a message saying "We're pissed at Macromedia (or site x), heres why, hope you agree"? Okay, it would be better, but I mean, would it be enough? Would it no longer be a slashdot-sin?

John

Re:I think.. (1)

DCheesi (150068) | more than 13 years ago | (#207513)

That's fine if you live in New York City, and have lots of options. What if you live in Podunk, Utah, and there's only a couple of ISPs operating locally? If all those ISPs have the same policy, you're SOL. It would cost you a small fortune to use a long distance dailup, and many people simply can't afford that.

BTW, this is about rights & privileges, not profits. Profits == Right is about as logical in this scenario as Might == Right. Don't know about you, but I don't want to go back to the Dark Ages.

Re:RBL goes against the spirit of the internet (2)

DCheesi (150068) | more than 13 years ago | (#207514)

Membership is voluntary for the *provider*, not the user. The whole point of this article is that people who wanted to access the Macromedia site were not able to, because their provider routed through Above.net to get there. Membership was thus "dictated" to them by their provider and/or above.net.

(And yes, they could have chosen another provider, *if* they could find one that is totally unaffected by the RBL. That may, however, prove difficult or impossible for some.)

Re:What do I think? (1)

M$ Mole (158889) | more than 13 years ago | (#207515)

Well, as an employee of Macromedia, I don't think this is being blown out of proportion.

Re:Macromedia opt-in? (2)

M$ Mole (158889) | more than 13 years ago | (#207516)

Let me preface this with the fact that I do currently work for MM.

Actually, you have to go through a few steps to get onto the newsletter:

1. Choose to create a MM ID
2. Fill out ALL of the forms rather than skipping them
3. Check a box that says "Add Me to the Edge Newsletter List" or some crap like that.


I've had a MM id for 4 years and have never received the Edge newsletter.

Re:Not quite (1)

linuxwolf (161541) | more than 13 years ago | (#207517)

What is the assumption here?

In a number of areas, DSL really is a monopoly. This is because you need to get the signals across a physical wire, and many telephone service providers do not want external boxes in the middle of their hardware (like Pacific Bell).

Even if I was to pay someone $100 for my minimum-speed DSL (which means I get one of their IP's), it ends up going through Pac-Bell hardware anyways (reason #1 why nobody in my area is using anything but Pac-Bell for DSL).

If Pac-Bell decides to set their router to block all RBL traffic, then I am screwed, whether I signed up with Pac-Bell, Earthlink, SpeakEasy, etc...

Re:I think.. (2)

IronChef (164482) | more than 13 years ago | (#207518)

Unfortunately "the internet" isn't a utility in the same sense as a telephone. Maybe we here all think it should be, but it doesn't have the same legal status and it probably never will. You think ISPs want to provide "universal lifeline" internet connectivity like telcos must do with phones?

internet backbones are a utility by all definitions

Practically, but not legally. Too bad, really.

Re:People need to pull there head out.... (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 13 years ago | (#207522)

And why, other than convention, is it limited to mail?

Put the list in a router and ban anything to/from those addresses. Which is apparently what above.net did, and has been reported doing in the past.

Re:I think.. (2)

Xannor (174984) | more than 13 years ago | (#207523)

True private companies should have that choice.

But major backbones should not. That would equate to being told you cannot drive on the highway because you are from city X, and city X is known for speeders. If city Y wanted to prevent you from entering because you are from city X it could be understantable, but to prevent you from going anywhere... that is ludicrus!

maybe web filtering might be nice (1)

muerte24 (178621) | more than 13 years ago | (#207524)

since i am too lazy to turn java on and off, maybe they can put geocities (or whoever) on the RTBL so that when i mistakenly click on blind links i am not immediately whisked away to a pr0n popup hell.

...or maybe i just shouldn't surf sites that would lead me down blind links in the first place.

and why the heck isn't AOL on the list? seems like every other piece of spam i get is from some AOL ip, and no one i care about uses that schwag...

...or maybe i could get off my lazy butt and set up my filtering right.

in any case, i think that it's a good strategy to block certain high profile WWW sites if their apathy is causing me to waste my time sorting mail. however, this system does lend itself towards abuse.

muerte

IP Blocking (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#207525)

I'm trying to figure out the political implications of this. Not so much vs macromedia, but imagining various countires getting into the act.

for example the bit about Yahoo and the nazi memorabilia vs France last year. What if they said the the material would only be available via certain IP numbers, and French ISPs could be require to block those numbers?

Insert those groups that small vocal groups love to hate. Stir well.

Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

Repetive equation (1)

cnkeller (181482) | more than 13 years ago | (#207526)

I keep seeing the following equation repeated all over the internet: too much power + morons = fsck'd operations....

RBL is lesser of 2 evils... (2)

yogensha (181588) | more than 13 years ago | (#207527)

...especially to me. Since I started filtering based on the RBL database (RSS and DUL as well), the amount of SPAM in my inbox at the end of the day is significantly reduced. I don't take as many SPAM-related calls and SPAM-related emails either. Granted, I don't use the RBL's bgp-based service to filter all traffic from banned sites, so my users were still able to see macromedia's site. All in all, the RBL system has benefited myself and my customers. It's certainly classified as "stealth filtering" in that it's completely transparent, but my customers made demands that only the RBL database could fill.


Abstainer: a weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.

RBL is opt-in (3)

Ereth (194013) | more than 13 years ago | (#207539)

The RBL is opt-in. Consumers have the choice of moving to a provider that doesn't opt-in if they desire to. I think ISPs should list whether they subscribe to RBL or MAPS clearly and publicly, but they should not be denigrated for doing so. They are not, in fact, hampering consumer choice, but aiding it. Many of us would rather not get SPAM and having a provider that opts in helps with that very valid cause. As long as RBL is optional, I don't see a problem.

Another point I want to add is that RBL works. I once worked for an ISP that refused to secure their mail server, because it meant the pointy head bosses might actually have to understand how their mail works when they were travelling. They ran for a year that way, against advice, and then one day popped up on the RBL list and started getting complaints. Problem fixed in about a day. The Sys Admin had to work his butt off to fix the relay, but he got it up and got off the RBL within a couple days. And he understood the net better afterwards.

How do you avoid this? (1)

friday2k (205692) | more than 13 years ago | (#207547)

Maybe I sound a little stupid here, but is there a possibility to access those sites if you are located at above.net powered backbones by going through providers like anonymizer.com? Or would it help if macromedia.com used Akamai? How would that look like for above.net customers? Would it still be an access to macromedia.com or would it be an access to a232....akamai.net? Just wondering ...

Judge, jury, and executioner (1)

renderhead (206057) | more than 13 years ago | (#207548)

By convicting websites of spamming users and doling out punishment accordingly, Above.net has declared itself to be the Judge Dread of the internet.

"I'm not above.net the law, I AM the law!"

blocking traffic violation of contract? (1)

Mactire_Dearg (211446) | more than 13 years ago | (#207552)

If I was a customer of Above.net and they suddenly decided to block my web access to a site which I use for support, etc I would think it would be a violation of our contract. They cannot just block access of their customers to resources and sites on the Internet without the consent of those same customers. If you were blocked from accessing Macromedia file a formal complaint with your ISP. Somewhere down the road someone you have access through is the check-writing customer of Above.net's. Enough formal complaints coming up the pipe might be a better message to them than the one they were trying to send to Macromedia...

A bigger issue. (2)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 13 years ago | (#207554)

From a certain spin, it sounds like terrorism.

It can also be called vigilanteism, guerilla warfare, or vandalism, if you treat the pipes to macromedia as a street that has been destroyed...

Subjective name calling and semantics aside, this might revolve around the fact that there is no kind of 'rules of engagement' among netizens. In real life there are governments, societies, and political bodies to define right behavior and civic mindedness and stuff. Wars are fought over this.

So Macromedia, and others, are accused/defined as spammers, and are treated as such.

Spin, sensationalism, defamy, etc, spring up to attack, defend, rationalize, explain the event.

What can we do to address the bigger issues? What can we do to define and understand what these issues may be?

It's very vague for me; parts privacy, security, trust, parts honesty, integrity, and cooperation. There is probably more I'm not defining as well. All netizens need to be involved. Governments, net bodies, and corporations are also strongly tied into this, as well.

Geek dating! [bunnyhop.com]

Re:Don't use Above.net (5)

bobthemonkey13 (215219) | more than 13 years ago | (#207561)

I'm suprised their customers let them get away with that crap.

Unfortunatly, they can. Here's why:

  1. The automatic customer's response to a "DNS Error" message is "Oh, the web site is down." Almost noone stops to think if they are being censored unless the error says so (or they have other evidence)
  2. Abovenet is a backbone provider, not an ISP. Therefore, even if someone sees this story on some website, they probably won't know if it affects them. "Oh, but this is about Abovenet, I use (insert any Abovenet powered ISP)"
  3. Very few people are behind an Abovenet ISP, and try to visit a certain censored site on a certain day, and see a news story about that same site being blocked by Abovenet, and realize that they are using an ISP that uses Abovenet, and complain about it.

Re:I think.. (2)

HongPong (226840) | more than 13 years ago | (#207563)

Except in my locality broadband is a monopoly! I CAN'T choose someone else. Otherwise I'd be more inclined to agree with you.

--

Re:I think.. (3)

HongPong (226840) | more than 13 years ago | (#207564)

When I pay for Internet access I pay for access to all the Internet, not just morally OK areas.

--

Re:Repetive equation (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 13 years ago | (#207565)

A Universal equation that applies to any group, not just internet related.

Re:Noticed the problem, didn't notice the reason (2)

MadCow42 (243108) | more than 13 years ago | (#207568)

How many hours of your time was wasted by trying to figure out why you couldn't access the Macromedia site? How did not being able to access their site (i.e. download Flash) affect your business, or productivity?

3rd party, un-authorized censorship of your Internet connection cost you money, and inconvenience. Although it'd be hard to prove, that's grounds for a lawsuit. I'm not normally an advocate of suing people, but we can't let this kind of abuse of power get out of hand.

What other sites get abused this way? How am I to know that some ISP/backbone provider between me and the rest of the world isn't coloring my perception of events by tailoring what I see?

Spam is annoying. Telling me what I can and cannot see is unacceptable.

Mad-MadCow.

aol did this to my old ISP (1)

rebelcool (247749) | more than 13 years ago | (#207569)

long ago, any e-mails i would send to friends and relatives using aol would forever be bounced back as my ISP had been basically banned by aol. Of course it didnt matter that I had nothing to do with spamming of aol, but it was well over a year before I could send e-mails to anyone there.

Re:this is bad... (2)

SomeoneYouDontKnow (267893) | more than 13 years ago | (#207583)

The Internet is a collection of private networks, not a common carrier. Therefore, anyone connected to the Internet, whether it is an office LAN, an ISP or a backbone provider, can block traffic from any part of the Internet it chooses. Anyone who doesn't like the policies of their upstream can find another connection point.

Yes, that sounds harsh, but consider the alternative. If the Internet was a common carrier, the whole concept of self-policing goes out the window. If you're a service provider, you can't block any traffic entering or leaving your network. Forget about filtering spam, and forget about refusing to sell a connection to that guy you know is going to use it to send spam. Forget about cutting him off if he's already connected, unless sending spam happens to be illegal in your jurisdiction. You have to serve anyone who can pay and who don't have some legal impediment to getting service, and you have to allow all traffic to enter and leave your network, whether you want it or not.

Re:hmm.. Counterpoint (1)

onepoint (301486) | more than 13 years ago | (#207585)

I will agree that state/government owned bandwidth should not be blocked. Therefore if I require full access to the net I should be using state/government run access points.

Furthermore some people (maybe even most of /.'s) Know that the hook up points for USA government nodes are under funded and lack real bandwidth. I believe there is a write up in /. but I could not find it.

Now let's discuss commercial bandwidth. Someone is paying for this bandwidth. I as a subscriber to xyz isp must be subject to the terms and conditions of the xyz isp. I am required to read the terms and conditions of this ISP. In a past post of mine, I had to request the help of /.er's to find a better ISP that would not restrict traffic to all site (no filtering) therefore I moved my account to them.

If you as the user find yourself restricted in anyway when surfing the "net", you should research to find the alternatives. I can say that earthlink is one provider that "filters" traffic.

Backbone operators are in no way required to carry any traffic that they do not desire or might be required to move that traffic at a restricted rate so that it looks like it never is there in the first place. So if I am not interested in moving xyz.com's traffic, I should, by my right or contract agreement, delete it's existence or move it slowly, unless you, as the consumer demand it back (at that point I'll charge you for it .)

Is this alternative an acceptable one? I for one do not find it acceptable, but it seems that unless there are others like myself that are willing to ask and switch their services to keep on enjoying the net as a free source of information, the future of the bandwidth road is now visible.

ONEPOINT


hmm.. (2)

waspleg (316038) | more than 13 years ago | (#207596)

imagine if states started blocking truckers coming from certain states

i think the consequences are obvious and so they are here.

the answer ? what would happen if all other major backbones dropped traffic to/from above.net

they would cease to exist as a business.. as, in my opinion, they should

censorship shouldn't be tolerated especially at the backbone level

no one noticing? (1)

anno1602 (320047) | more than 13 years ago | (#207600)

Well, for starters, macromedia wasn't down for me, so no cookie here.

I dont't think it is possible to remove a web site from the 'net like this w/out anyone noticing. Why?

1) Not everyone uses the same provider. Not all providers use RBL. So, there's always someone who can see the page (although I have to admit this is a pretty weak point)

2) There are other web pages. As long as open forums such as /. exist (no, not trying to shove my head into anybody's a**, it's just an example) and these communities react sufficiently sensitive to censorship, the maintainer will be able to post there. And he will get an reaction.

Just my .02 E

anno.

BlackList, BlackBall, etc.. (1)

Quizme2000 (323961) | more than 13 years ago | (#207601)

In the society we all have created on-line, many organizations and companies have created credit reports, blacklist, and "consumer protection" software. The idea is sound, however the implantation is unacceptable. Many services are quick to block, ban or badmouth anyone or anything on the Internet with out a minutes' worth of investigation. And it is damned near impossible to clear someone of these "charges". Ever try to clear up a faulty credit report or get off a banned site list for censor ware? It is likely I the future there will be some checks and balances for reporting and censor. Just hope your company doesn't get tagged.

two sides.... (2)

nate1138 (325593) | more than 13 years ago | (#207602)

This is such a touchy topic. On one hand, spam == evil, but on the other, does one company have the right to censor their portion of the internet with not a single entity they have to answer to? The biggest problem that I personnaly have with spam isn't the advertising facet, ads are a fact of life, deal. The problem is that they are ads sent to me at MY EXPENSE! Everytime some idiot sends out a million e-mails telling me about the latest penis-enlargement, or get-rich-quick scheme, it costs every 'net user money. These costs are incurred in higher access fees, slower networks, etc. If you want to advertise, fine, but don't make others pay for it. (yes, I do understand that ad prices are embedded in product prices anyway, but this is different). On the flip side though, what the hell gives Above.net the right to effecitvely drop sites off of a signifigant portion of the net with no repurcussions. There is no real process to this, it all seems arbitrary.

Re:Don't use Above.net (2)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 13 years ago | (#207604)

The trouble is that above net is a backbone provider. Most end-users don't know what a backbone is, let alone through which one or ones their ISP leases connections.

Much as I hate spam... (1)

kypper (446750) | more than 13 years ago | (#207612)

I don't see that blocking the web page really accomplishes much other than alarming Macromedia.
I do know that a big company like that cannot afford to have huge spam-suits, and so would very likely unsubscribe one upon request. This is serious business!
This has really gone a mite too far. Perhaps people should've done their homework better.

Your ISP dosn't have to use it. (1)

RyoRosethorn (448099) | more than 13 years ago | (#207615)

Using the RBL is volentary, your ISP dosn't have to use it. I've heard the line before, "our mailing list is Opt-In, and is not spam", when it clearly is spam. My ISP uses all 3 MAPS filters, which has cut down on a tremendous amount of spam, for which I am thankful. If there is anyone here who dons't think they are getting enough spam in their lives, let me know, the MAPS filters dons't catch all of the spam. I'll be happy to forward any spam that gets through the filters to you. "DEATH TO ALL SPAMMERS!!!!"

How about (1)

DanCclark..com (448800) | more than 13 years ago | (#207616)

They need to add MSN.com. I receive at least 20 pieces of SPAM a day from people using the fake MSN domain name. To bad I cant write in my Hotmail fliters : *@*.msn.com www.DanCclark.com

Wow... (2)

Angel of Legaia (453951) | more than 13 years ago | (#207620)

So; above.net just decided to block Macromedia in attempt to get them to stop spamming? What an aggressive step. They effectively took down a website because of a newsletter.

I've been to www.macromedia.com many times; and not once have I recieved spam from them. So why take down the entire site to stop the newsletter that many people probably never get?

Phoenix

Is this really a good idea? (1)

nebaz (453974) | more than 13 years ago | (#207621)

The idea of "blocking out" spamming hosts and such seems at first glance like a useful tool to block unwanted solicitations and such, but blocking an entire host at the IP level essentially cuts off a portion of the web to a client, as shown by the macromedia example. This is essentially like filtering software, where the "parent" is the ISP.
Personally, while I detest spam, I think giving a few people the power to arbitrarily cut off traffic from an IP is far too broad a power, because it is something that can be used insideously. Sure, cut off some major corporate websites, and have them rattle their sabres, and say "sorry, our mistake", but what happens when the little guy who may just have an opinion that is controversial? I would prefer the spam to the eerie silence of the alternative.
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