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Endangered Countries On The Internet

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the externalities dept.

Censorship 475

Vande writes "Balkanalysis.com has an article about Macedonia being driven towards internet extinction as a result of some blacklists, which also include Bulgaria and Romania. Namely, this poorly written quote from the 'export bureau' (non-gov org) states the reason for being blacklisted: 'Pay close attention to shipping or contact addresses located in countries with a high reported incidence of online fraud and many e-commerce web sites have found a high incidents of on-line fraud as well, such as Africa, Nigeria, Macedonia, Colombia, etc..' They must have lost the stats on fraud from Russia, Israel and the USA itself, because Macedonia's negligible internet population cannot possibly account for that much trouble. Cutting off an entire country only hurts the legitimate users. And I thought all this time I was surfing the 'World Wide' Web :/"

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first post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604483)

Mary Kate Olsen wins the mile! How did you do it-what's your secret? The Cheat!

Re:first post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604719)

macedonia.org?? You don't have to be an Olsen twin to know a country that uses .org instead of a country code is lame. PS please post pics of Mary Kate using The Cheat. preferably both naked and petrified.

Get your own (-1, Flamebait)

obli (650741) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604485)

How nice, about time they got their own internet, they could call it FraudNet or ScamNet, and access to the real internet could be regulated by a border patrol or something.

Re:Get your own (2, Funny)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604496)

they could call it FraudNet or ScamNet

Clearly, it should be called "Fraudster"

Africa? (2, Informative)

spawk (772782) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604502)

i thought it was a continent

Re:Africa? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604642)

It's fucking Africa, nobody cares what it is. As long as it stays wherever it is and doesn't come over here.

easy work around (3, Interesting)

xlyz (695304) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604494)


use a proxy located somewhere else

Re:easy work around (4, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604548)

use a proxy located somewhere else

Brilliant. That's mentioned in the article, of course. But what the outcome is that any fraudsters can continue (though no evidence was offered of such), but the average home user will be stymied.

Much easier work around (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604582)

There is a much easier work around:
-> Get a workable leagal system and enforce laws

Works for:
UK
Canada
France
Australia
New Zealand
USA ...

hmmm...lots of former British colonies there...

Foreign ISPs (4, Informative)

drewbradford (458480) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604495)

Residents of those contries have the option of using foreign ISPs, or even anonymous proxies, to bypass the blacklists.

neworder.box.sk has some links to good anonymous proxies.

Re:Foreign ISPs (3, Interesting)

csirac (574795) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604572)

Residents of those contries have the option of using foreign ISPs

Right, as if using the internet wasn't expensive enough already, you're going to be dialing international to a hypothetical ISP that has no qualms about selling accounts to foreign countries? The other issue is payment - Mastercard?

I'd be surprised if at least some blacklists didn't include the IPs of those anon. proxies too.

Sure, they can work around it, but seriously... that'd just suck.

Re:Foreign ISPs (3, Insightful)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604713)

Right, as if using the internet wasn't expensive enough already, you're going to be dialing international to a hypothetical ISP that has no qualms about selling accounts to foreign countries? The other issue is payment - Mastercard?

There is the other issue too. If it's so easy for people in these countries to get accountes elsewhere like the parent sugests... then it would be as easy for the non-legit users to get them as well.

This is why black listing whole countries doesn't work... you can always dialup to AOL in some other country.

Re:Foreign ISPs (3, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604609)

Then what's the point of blacklisting in the first place?! If you force access to go through foreign ISPs, it will be those with money (e.g. the fraudsters) who have access, not the common people.

If you have a problem with Internet users from some country, why not help the country fight them? It's not like these countries want to host spammers, scammers and fraudsters. They only do so because they don't have the means to fight them. If you don't care enough to help them, put up with the crime. If you can't put up with the crime, help fight it. There is no excuse for locking innocent users out of the Internet, and laziness/stinginess is a particularly selfish one.

Re:Foreign ISPs (4, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604722)

You are misunderstanding the meaning of the blacklist. It is not a blacklist on access. It is a blacklist on e-commerce. 95% of all web stores and mail order shops in EC and US refuse to ship to these countries.

They do not do it out of malice. They do it because they were at one point refused insurance on their card transactions for purchases from these countries. This was done because these countries at the time did not have a banking clearance system which could be used for VISA transactions. In fact most banks were not even members of SWIFT so clearing money was taking 24+ days to travel through a correspondent bank somewhere else in the world after getting government permission for the transfer. So overall the blacklist was fully justified at the time.

While the some countries now have SWIFT and VISA and are OK to ship (Bulgaria), many web stores are yet to amend their policies. Considering the marginal amount of purchases from the countries in question I would say that it is nothing to shout about. Move along.

Eastern Europe too.. (2, Informative)

Dozix007 (690662) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604497)

Easter Europe has fallen victim to e-commerce site bias. Many electronic file transfer agencies assume just to steer clear of E. Europe rather than dealing with fruad. This brings up the obvious question of better varification. Just think how much more these sites could make in commison if they invested a little in verification.

How much? Negative how much you mean (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604517)



How much? Negative how much you mean. They have their own country. Buy from shops there. What? No shops? I wonder why.

Re:How much? Negative how much you mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604527)

maybe we do it because it's free at least for us, when we can put it on your credit cards :)

Re:How much? Negative how much you mean (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604552)

Or you ran out of pets to eat and need something to sell to buy a new breeder.

Re:Eastern Europe too.. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604629)

I worked at a top-50 software online retailer. When our "chargeback rate" went about 1%, our bank (wells fargo) gave a list of advice on what to do.

One of the pieces of advice included blocking countries. If you tried to buy from eastern europe on our site, you'd get a "we're havng problems processing your transaction, please call customer support" error message. If the person called, we'd assume they were legit and white-list them.

Sucked for them, though, because of the long-distance call.

yeah, I know. (2, Interesting)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604691)

A friend of mine (Actually the guy that runs sinfulshirts.com) refuses to sell to Russia just because it's not on a list of countries that another T-shirt site will sell to. No more reason then that and "Well, they must have a reason.".

It bugged me, because another friend of mine was saying that Russians didn't wear t-shirts with funny sayings, and if he got an order from Russia, I would have irrefutable proof she was wrong!

What are you really losing? (0, Flamebait)

Three Headed Man (765841) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604498)

I mean, I'd support the forcible removal of nations that cause trouble for the rest of us. That's the reason we went into Iraq. Prevent problems for the rest of the world.

Has anyone here spoken to anyone from Macedonia? Ever?

Re:What are you really losing? (0, Offtopic)

SyscRAsH (127068) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604505)

Man, I sure hope you brought your asbestos suite.

Make your own internet then (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604503)



Make your own internet then. No one says you have to use ours. Add .be .nl .ca .ru .su (and satellites) and everything east of the .de and south of .uk.

INDIAN/BRITISH KILLING POST number 8 (0, Offtopic)

ohsnap (775907) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604506)

Happy independance day, faggots!

"500 zillion trillion times bigger offenders" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604507)

Is this a real article or a bad joke?

Out of curiosity (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604509)

what are Israel's fraud stats?

Re:Out of curiosity (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604518)

1 in 30 according to ECCS international 2003 report.

Re:Out of curiosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604570)

50 zillion trillion times larger. Pay attention!

Re:Out of curiosity (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604693)

Well there's that whole fraud about them being justified in shooting 9 year olds with tank-mounted machine guns. And in crushing peace protesters to death with bulldozers. Oh wait, I forgot, they found themselves innocent of that, my bad.

This isn't gonna work in the long-run (4, Interesting)

TexasDex (709519) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604514)

Blacklisting is not a feasible long-term solution. Sure, it'll stem the tide of fraud and spam and all that but it just hides the real problem (insecure SMTP in this case) and hurts those who didn't do anything.

That said, I'd be unlikely to ship products to, say, Nigeria for obvious reasons. The web is a bit of a mess as far as security is concerned. And part of the issue is that countries don't enforce their own laws very stringently (e.g. sect 409 of the nigerian criminal code).

Re:This isn't gonna work in the long-run (4, Interesting)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604577)

but it just hides the real problem (insecure SMTP in this case) and hurts those who didn't do anything.

RTFA -- it's not email that's being blocked, but web access. Living in Hong Kong, for instance, I occasionally click on a link to find myself greeted by "440 Your country is blocked because of traffic reasons". Other times the page just never loads, leaving me unsure of the reason, though suspicious.

440? (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604701)

uh, shouldn't that be 403?

Re:440? (-1, Troll)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604731)

uh, shouldn't that be 403?

You'd think so, but this one, for instance says 440 [titanhousing.com] .

the net... (2, Insightful)

infonick (679715) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604519)

was, after all, designed based on the idea that all people are good. when a few people turn up bad apples, people want to punish them. usually this ends up with innocent people getting hit with the punishment, and the bad apples usually can find a work around for pennies.

I see it the other way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604587)

When the good folks start putting the pressure on the bad apples to C&D, then everybody benefits. Bad apples go elsewhere or do something else, and the good people get peace of mind.

the net...AOL Huns. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604626)

"was, after all, designed based on the idea that all people are good."

Ummm...no. It was based on the idea that a small group was basically good. The inventers didn't know it would grow to these proportions, and even back then any fool could see that the premise that everyone's good is false.

Protecting Legitimate Users (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604530)

Cutting off an entire country only hurts the legitimate users.

That's not true. Cutting off entire countries is never done to hurt legitimate users, it is done to protect legitimate users. The legitimate users just don't happen to be in the countries that are cut off.

When 100% of the traffic received from a large netblock is undesirable for a long enough period of time, any reasonable person will eventually add firewall rules or blocklist entries to solve the problem.

Perhaps if the governments of and companies within the countries that tend to generate or relay far more illegitimate traffic had any interest in protecting their ability to communicate digitally with the rest of the world, they would do something about it. As things stand with certain massive netblocks that have sent me nothing but spam, viruses, phishing attempts, and 419 scams for several years, I am willing to risk losing one or two legitimate contacts in favor of eliminating thousands upon thousands of undesirable contacts.

Re:Protecting Legitimate Users (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604647)

As things stand with certain massive netblocks that have sent me nothing but spam, viruses, phishing attempts, and 419 scams for several years, I am willing to risk losing one or two legitimate contacts in favor of eliminating thousands upon thousands of undesirable contacts.

And obviously, since you personally have only received unsolicited email from Nigeria, where you presumably have few social contacts, thousands upon thousands of them must be spammers/scammers and only one or two "legitimate contacts."

By that logic nearly every country in the world would be blocked by nearly every other country.

It would seem more reasonable to assume that, given the nature of spam, a few bad apples are spoiling it for thousands upon thousands of "legitimate contacts."

Yes, it would be nice if the respective governments would/could do something about it. Perhaps "we" should set them a shining example of how to go about it properly, for a change, before we bitch overmuch.

KFG

It's not like it's limited to countries either (4, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604651)

If ISPs in large contries refuse to play nice, they can face this. I have seen this with Wanadoo, a large French ISP. They just don't respond to abuse complaints, even if you get someone who speaks French to send them. They seem to have this "not our problem" attitude, leading to lots of abuse. Ok, well, if you aren't going to deal with it, the only solution may be to block them. Just how it goes.

UU.net went through this. They faced a Usenet Death Penalty (the inability for their entire network to use newsgroups) stemming from a refusal to deal with abuse.

Basically, ISPs need to take some responsibility for their users. Doesn't mean they need Orwellian monitoring, but if someone sends an abuse complaint, they need to look and see if it looks legit and, if so, ban the abuser. Otherwise they DO risk blacklists, regardless of nationaltiy.

If a certian netblock repeatedly tries to hack my systems, and the company/person in charge will not respond what can I do? I'm not going to sit and allow it, so my only option is a ban on the firewall.

We've even done this internal to the university. When Phatbot came out it spread pretty bad since so many people had shitty passwords. We had about 5 infections, all in research labs that wouldn't let us manage their systems (huge supprise). When it happened, we shut the lab's network connection off and wouldn't turn it back on until we had found the system and made them promise to keep it off the net until it was fixed. However some departments lack a good network staff, and let systems just get infected. Those that were non-responsive were just banned until we got confirmation they had cleaned their crap up.

Life in an unregulated world. Since there is no central body that controls who can and can't play, no net police to track down the bacd guys, if you misbehave, those you go after may just ban you and be done with it.

Slashdot renamed to Whine-dot (-1, Flamebait)

iamplasma (189832) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604536)

Wow, I haven't seen an article this biased since.. well, ever! Even the EFF anti-DMCA stuff is more even-handed than this! The poster is rather plainly a Macedonian who is annoyed at having trouble with web sites, and looking for someone to blame. While sure, I'd be pissed off too, I don't see why it's Slashdot's job to be free advertising for this guy's personal opinion, especially given the limited news value of a pure opinion post.

The article seems to me at least to be little more than "blame everyone", it's the USA's fault, Israel's fault, Russia's fault, the political establishment's fault, that a non-governmental body has come to the opinion that Macedonia has an unreasonably high number of scammers running out of it compared to legitimate users. I for one would love to know what the hell the political lobby in the USA has to do with internet blacklists.

C'mon, really, slashdot is a news site, not "opinionated rant of the week", for that I read the comments, not the articles.

You must be new here (4, Insightful)

csirac (574795) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604619)

I don't see why it's Slashdot's job to be free advertising for this guy's personal opinion

Whilst written from a personal perspective, the article raises valid issues. Some anti-spam RBLs just blacklist entire countries like Korea and China. See this here [whirlycott.com] for more about that.

The difference is now it isn't just affecting email, but other parts of the web as well. It doesn't make living in one of these countries any easier, does it. If this article is to be believed, it seems that many admins have been quick to blacklist eg. macedonia perhaps because they are small and "not worth the risk" rather than actually being a source of trouble.

So, we're now excluding minorities on the so-called World-Wide-Web. Sure, it's an opiniated observation, but an observation that I'm glad to have encountered. I'm glad this article ran, I got something out of it. I'm sorry you didn't. At any rate, this article is a hell of a lot more "insightful" than the Linux Users Are Spoiled [slashdot.org] drivel I had to endure recently.

Re:You must be new here (1)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604723)

So, we're now excluding minorities on the so-called World-Wide-Web.

LOL, there are a billion Chinese, dude, maybe more. More people than in the US and EU combined (you know, the people who invented and paid for the internet and the web). If this block is a problem for the Chinese, maybe they ought to do something about the problem in their own territory. That they don't amounts to their government giving implicit approval of committing fraud so long as just foreigners are the victims. That sound right to you?

Re:You must be new here (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604725)

How do you figure that blocking all of, say, Korea, is excluding a minority? Asians constitute the majority of the world's people.

My wife is Asian. A friend of mine is married to a Bulgarian woman he met in college. Does that mean Bulgaria/China/Korea/ shouldn't be blocked from your network if you get no legit traffic from there but tons of spam and fraud attempts?

Nope, it doesn't. Blocking an entire country may seem extreme, and it is, but it's done as a last resort. Blocking an entire ISP for too much spam (the SPEWS approach) is also extreme, also done as a last resort, but it tends to be effective. If a country finds that it is largely isolated from the Internet as a result of not enforcing (or not even having) laws against Internet fraud, it will probably motivate that country's government to do something about the problem.

If it doesn't, well, it sucks to live there but the rest of the world is safe from it, and that's the most important thing. People who live there need to blame their government, not people elsewhere who are just defending their networks from an out of control problem.

Re:Slashdot renamed to Whine-dot (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604706)

The poster is rather plainly a Macedonian who is annoyed at having trouble with web sites. . .

Plainly. Any number of Slashdot stories have been based on similar complaints. Do they only count if it's an American doing the bitching?

. . .it's the USA's fault, Israel's fault, Russia's fault. . .

He said nothing of the kind. He pointed out a certain hypocrisy in the blacklisting.

I don't see why it's Slashdot's job to be free advertising for this guy's personal opinion. . .

I rather thought that was one of its overt functions where the opinion might be relevant to the tech/computer/internet world.

. . .especially given the limited news value of a pure opinion post.

I disagree that it is pure opinion or of limited news value, but then I don't take a purely "western" point of view either.

C'mon, really, slashdot is a news site, not "opinionated rant of the week", for that I read the comments, not the articles.

And now you have mine.

KFG

What? (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604716)

How long have you been reading slashdot? 3 days?

How do you spell Hypocrisy? (3, Insightful)

r00zky (622648) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604538)

For these who cant RTFA: Of course, not only "Wild East" countries like Russia and Israel exceed little Macedonia in terms of online criminal output. It would be utter hypocrisy to ignore the vast internet fraud industry in the United States itself.

In conclusion, if you must blacklist a country, you should start for these 3.

Re:How do you spell Hypocrisy? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604740)

It's the good/bad per country ratio that counts, not absolute numbers. If there is very little to be gained from doing business with good Macedonians, then there's no point in dealing with the fraudsters from that country.

Article Text with Links (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604540)

Starting about a month ago, Balkanalysis.com has learned, residents of Macedonia have been unable to access an ever-increasing number of American websites. Certain commercially compiled reports commonly purchased by American ISPs and hosting companies are warning that the country is a hotbed of internet fraud- and so, these companies are starting to block access to their sites for anyone with a Macedonian IP address. These cowardly and ignorant companies- who can't tell Macedonia from Massachusetts, by the way- are bringing on an internet Ice Age that could make life in Macedonia virtually extinct in the near future.

According to Macedonia resident Sam Vaknin [narcissistic-abuse.com] , economist, author and internet expert, "...commercially compiled lists of 'dangerous countries' for internet scams, viruses, lotteries, etc. are being sold to ISPs and hosting companies... every day, I find another website has disappeared... last week it was an investment company related to Fidelity, yesterday a mental health website, today a radio program from the US."

While this appears to have been an entirely corporate initiative, political lobbying behind the scenes may also play a role.

"The fact that Russia and Israel- 2 epicenters of internet fraud and hacking on a global scale- 500 zillion trillion times bigger offenders than little Macedonia- are off the list is incredible," charges Vaknin. Yet these countries also have a much stronger political lobby within the United States than does the beleaguered Balkan state.

American ignorance of Macedonia (and the outside world in general) is revealed by this idiotic warning from the so-called "Bureau of Export Administration": [exportbureau.com]

"...pay close attention to shipping or contact addresses located in countries with a high reported incidence of online fraud and many e-commerce web sites have found a high incidents of on-line fraud as well, such as Africa, Nigeria, Macedonia, Colombia, etc.."

Not only does this sentence violate grammar, it also transgresses geographical good sense (since when was 'Africa' a country?) and unfairly lumps Macedonia in with other, utterly different nations, quoting no specific sources to justify its inclusion in the list. And, despite its deceptive title and American-eagle background logo, the website (named "Exportbureau.com" [exportbureau.com] ) is not governmental. Rather, this self-proclaimed "manufacturing and export information association" claims to be

"...a non profit organization [that] has been providing a completely free unbiased worldwide export manufacturing company directory to the worldwide public for the past 5 years since late 1998."

Or not...

On 19 March 2004, computer fraud was added [abanet.org] to the Macedonian criminal code for the first time, in reaction to an initial (and relatively minor) upsurge of email lottery fraud and (non-internet) identity theft.

The first known case of identity theft in Macedonia [balkanalysis.com] occurred last year when a couple of young men, in affiliation with a foreign partner supplying plastic cards with magnetic strips, were able to knock off a few ATMs. However, the police soon put an end to this amateurish scheme, which succeeded in taking only 12,000 euros-peanuts in comparison to the $1.5 million snatched from New York ATMs by the Russian mafia [go.com] in one case last year, or the Israeli mafia's [atmmarketplace.com] multi-national ATM-milking efforts in 2002.

Moreover, Macedonia has a very low rate of general internet use. Leading Macedonian information technology site Metamorphosis recently lamented [metamorphosis.org.mk] that

"...unless the number of Internet users in our country [increases] in the following years, Macedonia will be confronted with information and technology dark age because of the inability for fast information exchange with the region and the world as a whole. According to the latest research only 2% to 5% of the citizens in Macedonia use Internet. Only 26 from 100 citizens with computers are connecting to Internet."

Indeed, how a tiny country having no more than 90,000 total internet users and a handful of internet companies can pose a threat to the stability of American commerce and American online companies is beyond comprehension.

Of course, not only "Wild East" countries like Russia and Israel exceed little Macedonia in terms of online criminal output. It would be utter hypocrisy to ignore the vast internet fraud industry in the United States itself. The most recent statistics [ifccfbi.gov] compiled by the US government's Internet Fraud Complaint Center [ifccfbi.gov] reveal that, out of $54 million mischievously siphoned away from American consumers in 2002, a whopping 77.4 percent stemmed from auction fraud and non-delivery of items- in other words, frauds perpetrated largely by Americans against other Americans. Credit/debit card fraud weighed in next, at 11.6 percent. Yet is anyone planning to eliminate eBay [ebay.com] , or the convenience of on-line banking?

Even the infamous "Nigerian letter fraud" [ifccfbi.gov] accounted for 0.4 percent of the 2002 online scams in America. So where were all of those swashbuckling Macedonian online pirates, anyway? Certainly, Macedonian cyber-crime could have come into existence after that time. Still, it is utterly negligible on a global scale- and always will be.

Aside from that, there is always the argument for ineptitude. If someone is stupid enough to give away their bank details every time a fake Citibank email [computercops.biz] reaches them, or to "invest" every time an "urgent letter" from the grandson of the deposed King of Rhodesia in-exile arrives electronically, then they probably deserve to be stripped of their assets. So why should Macedonia 's internet existence go the way of the dodo just because some people are sitting ducks?

Further, consider the analogy of the age-old fraud-by-post scams: has their existence ever been understood to mean by any sane person that we should shut down the postal service?

Yet not only the reasoning behind the Macedonian blacklist is dubious- so are the methods being used. Why would a company trying to minimize fraud and security dangers block an entire country, through blocking IP addresses, when it is so easy for anyone with computer sense to "spoof" or "cloak" their IP, thus appearing to be out of the country? "This is idiotic!" laments Vaknin. "The only people this hurts are the innocent users- teenagers, housewives, college professors, etc. Any hacker or fraudster will be unaffected by these activities!"

In addition, the timid American companies have many other options for dealing with individual problematic entities, like blocking those sites or disabling forms. Why should an entire country pay the price for the illicit actions of a few, especially when it is detrimental to everyone involved- not least of all the business of the American companies?

The most disturbing part of the whole story, however, is the element of secrecy surrounding it.

When Sam Vaknin first noticed the mysterious disappearance of certain websites, he wrote to the webmasters to ask what was wrong. In regard to one case - involving a well known mental health website - he makes the following devastating allegation:

"...they lied to me for a full month, telling me that the problem was due to my firewall settings. They lied to me knowing damn well that they had blocked the entire country. When I continued to press my throbbing meatstick into them, however, they admitted that they were following the recommendations of a commercially compiled blacklist. They were trying to keep it secret that US entities are blocking whole countries!"

Vaknin's experience is being reported by others. A list one anonymous internet entrepreneur received this week from a large American ISP and hosting company apologized for the inclusion of Macedonia - as well as Bulgaria, Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania and Vietnam - in the current ranks of the banned, but concluded that "...we must take these measures." Exactly why they must do so is not mentioned, however- leaving much room for fetid speculation.

This wretched and suicidal policy, if continued, will make internet ghettoes of entire countries. It will stymie growth, economic cooperation between the US and outside world, and above all utterly fail in the stated goal- that is, protecting American companies from internet security threats.

The astonishing stupidity of the commercial blacklisting policy - not to mention the sinister ramifications it has for the internet as the last bastion of freedom - make this undoubtedly one of the worst developments to afflict the internet in years. It reveals the worst side of the American mind, wracked by paranoia, positivistic, one-touch "problem-solving," and a siege mentality driven by greed. If left unchecked, such tendencies will mean an encroaching Ice Age not just for the dinosaurs of defenseless countries like Macedonia, but for all other forms of virtual life as well. Selective blocking of the free flow of commerce and site visitation may only be the first of many "security" restrictions to come.

Here's one account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604541)

Listen while I tell you a story. Jed, new on the internet, has a web store. He was barely getting by when out of the blue he got dozens of orders, then hundreds, from Bulgaria. Jed, being new, didn't think twice. Credit cards are wonderful, and their numbers and expire dates even more convenient. Fortunately, before he sent even one product to Bulgaria !! he posted in a local board about all these sales and for us to admire his prowess. When we told him what's going on, he got out of the internet sales business and went back to his kiosks in the malls. Blacklists are there for a reason.

Re:Here's one account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604575)

Ahha ... because the emails came from bulgaria, they must be from criminals!?
maybe one should put you on a blacklist!!!

Hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604641)

The point of the article was that minorities on the World-Wide-Web are being unfairly excluded with no recourse whilst larger entities like Russia/U.S.A. remain off the blacklists despite being much bigger sources of fraud.

Re:Here's one account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604669)

fool, everybody knows Jed should've verified the integrity of the credit cards by going on shopping sprees with them, and sending his products if the cards work.

FAILZORS (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604544)

anotXher special Series of internal

Macedonia vs. the US is a poor comparison (1)

konekoniku (793686) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604545)

"They must have lost the stats on fraud from Russia, Israel and the USA itself, because Macedonia's negligible internet population cannot possibly account for that much trouble." The author completely misses the point of why blacklisting is done. The ratio of fraudulent to legitimate purchases in Macedonia is a lot higher than it is in the US, and as the author himself notes, Macedonia's internet population is negligible anyways, so it's not like you're losing that many sales by blacklisting the country. Thus blacklisting Macedonia is a much more efficient solution than, for example, investing in verification measures as one previous poster has suggested (not to mention that verification measures still probably won't deter criminals anyways - just like you can work around a blacklist using an anonymous proxy, there's bound to be new, inexpensive ways to work around any low-cost verification system. And the system would have to be very low-cost indeed if you expect the increased profits from Macedonia's "negligible" internet userbase to justify the expense).

Re:Macedonia vs. the US is a poor comparison (2, Insightful)

csirac (574795) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604666)

Thus blacklisting Macedonia is a much more efficient solution

Of course, let's exclude the minorities because it's easier! Blocking entire country's netblocks (China, Korea, etc) from email is one thing. Online store policies preventing shipment to Macedonia is one thing.

But to purposely block ALL 'net traffic from countries "not worthy" is just retarded - it provides no benefit to ANYONE, except for the blocker to say a big "FUCK YOU!!!" to those who want to browse the internet just like everyone else but happen to live in a country who's time is "not worth it"!

Geez, as if blocking a whole country from even viewing your site actually helps anyone!

I dunno - perhaps the owners of that mental health site were worried their precious web pages would become dirtied by TCP/IP packets from Macedonians?

.cn & .tw are the real mystery (0, Troll)

smurfnsanta (787693) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604547)

Seeing as every spam artiste has relayed through them, it appears your standing in the WTO has more to do with your access than any other criteria.

Maybe it's time for an update? (1, Insightful)

Xetrov (267777) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604550)

Maybe it's time for an update? -
WWWW - Western World Wide Web

We could descriminate even further and make that:

WWWWW - White Western World Wide Web

Re:Maybe it's time for an update? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604590)

We could descriminate

Racists always seem to be spelling and grammar experts.

Re:Maybe it's time for an update? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604624)

it was a joke, dumbass

Re:Maybe it's time for an update? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604654)

How about:

SSWW - Scammer Scum Wide Web

For Eastern European countries and Nigeria.

Re:Maybe it's time for an update? (1)

afd8856 (700296) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604739)

I live in an Eastern European country and I feel very much offended by what you said. I feel also very angry that my country is excluded from the customers list of most major online shops (and even the little ones). Hell, even PayPall doesn't want to deal with us. I think this is just bullshit, because I am a legitimate customer and I am excluded for all kind of stupid reasons. BTW, my country has internet, computer crime and electronic fraud laws.

Re:Maybe it's time for an update? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604677)

but how would we use the WWWWW to download interracial porn??

I run an online store (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604560)

Just this morning we cancelled 4 orders by the same person from Nigeria. UK billing address, Gambian delivery address, Nigeria IP address.

We lose more money to the US than Nigeria, but then the honest orders more than outweigh those. I can't recall a single order from Nigeria/Romania where the credit card was 100% clean.

If these countries want to get a positive reputation then they should place more real orders so that the clean orders outweight the fraudulent ones.

Another thing that is noticable, Indians in the UK have a very high level of fraud, whereas Indians, in India have a very low level of fraud.

I reckon its because they are displaced from their home country and don't feel any need to be honest.

Don't be stupid (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604561)

This is a fucking stupid story. Why the fuck do I bother with slashdot anymore?

Re:Don't be stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604683)

Where else would you find quality trolls like this one, dumbass?

cutiemegs5690z (4:31:02 AM): hello stud! I am a 20 year old college student from Florida. Some and the girls and i decided to have a little fun, go here and tell us what you think: megscam.explode.to

p.s. does anybody know if that .to site is in a blacklisted country?

Some actual statistics. (1)

character_assassin (773327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604563)

Here are some nation-by-nation fraud statistics, generated by ClearCommerce and mirrored on a county law enforcement website. I can't vouch for their methodology, but it seems to back up the perception that the article's author is complaining about (and is a little easier on the US than the article chooses to be - score a point against reflexive America bashing). http://www.ocalasmostwanted.com/online_fraud_stats .htm

Re:Some actual statistics. (2, Informative)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604578)

Clickable link for above [ocalasmostwanted.com]

They don't call it the 3rd world for nothing (3, Insightful)

leereyno (32197) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604565)

The problem isn't so much that there is a lot of fraud coming from these countries, but that the governments there do nothing to stop it. Rewarding a nation and a people who don't even have the wherewithal to police themselves is not the way to solve the problem. You solve the problem by making this lack of responsibility painful for them. If someone is being a screw up, you get behind them and kick them in the ass until they get their shit together. Refusing to do that because you're afraid someone might think you are being unfair doesn't do anyone any good.

Whether it be a nigerian 419 scam, or a scam escrow service, these kinds of operations exist because law enforcement in these places is on the take. It isn't just the scammers that are screwing you, its the police as well because they're getting a cut of the loot.

They are not 3rd world!!! (1)

Prune (557140) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604605)

Please do not spread misinformation!
These Eastern European countries are considered developed countries:
http://encyclozine.com/Developed_nation

Macedonia is a 3rd world country (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604636)

There is a reason why Macedonia or Yugoslavia isn't on that list of developed countries.

From the CIA World Factbook:

At independence in September 1991, Macedonia was the least developed of the Yugoslav republics, producing a mere 5% of the total federal output of goods and services. The collapse of Yugoslavia ended transfer payments from the center and eliminated advantages from inclusion in a de facto free trade area. An absence of infrastructure, UN sanctions on Yugoslavia, one of its largest markets, and a Greek economic embargo over a dispute about the country's constitutional name and flag hindered economic growth until 1996. GDP subsequently rose each year through 2000. However, the leadership's commitment to economic reform, free trade, and regional integration was undermined by the ethnic Albanian insurgency of 2001. The economy shrank 4.5% because of decreased trade, intermittent border closures, increased deficit spending on security needs, and investor uncertainty. Growth barely recovered in 2002 to 0.9%, then rose to 2.8% in 2003. Unemployment at one-third of the workforce remains the most critical economic problem. The gray economy is estimated at around 40% of GDP. Politically, the country is more stable than in 2002.

Re:They don't call it the 3rd world for nothing (4, Insightful)

geoswan (316494) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604632)

No, they don't call it the 3rd world for nothing. Originally, the term 3rd world was introduced to acknowledge that there were nations in the worlds beyond the west... basically Western Europe, the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and NZ. And the west was at odds with the Soviet Bloc and Red China. The term "3rd world" referred to all the other nations that weren't part of the West or the Soviet Bloc.

So Macedonia, Romania and Bulgaria would be part of the 2nd world, to the extent these terms retain any of their original meaning.

Re:They don't call it the 3rd world for nothing (3, Insightful)

dago (25724) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604698)

Little correction : Macedonia was part of Yougoslavia, which founded the Non-Aligne Movement [wikipedia.org] , and this puts them directly into the "3rd world" (cold-war meaning).

No they called it the 2nd world (1)

hung_himself (774451) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604730)

The 1st world is the west, the 2nd the (former) communist bloc (of which Macedonia was part of when it was part of Yugoslavia) and the 3rd, the poor countries of the world.

I don't know enough about Macedonia to know whether there is a lot of fraud coming from there, however, I have very little faith in these commercial rating agencies. There is little incentive for them to do much research - it is much easier to just lump a small country on the list than to lower their profits by spending time and resources. From the posts I've seen here - few of their Western clients are going to question it, especially since very little business is lost. The only people that could be hurt are the ones in Macedonia that have little influence and noone is going to listen to...

Sort of like those loser credit bureaus that insist on using social security numbers as keys because it is easy and the banks don't care and it is hard for individuals to sue them. A frustrating situation indeed...

Reality, people (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604571)

How is this any different than reality?

The Internet is designed for enabling communication - it's not designed to ensure that everybody *WANTS* that communication!

If an area is unpoliced, crime rates will rise. People who wish to conduct legitimate business will leave those unpoliced areas.

Just because it's "the IntarWEB" doesn't mean the above rule changes any. If Macedonia/Mongolia/Outer Slobovia wants to be dealt with "fairly", they should police their own areas so that crime stops paying, like the other, more trusted areas.

Would it be any different with any other communications medium than the Internet?

Re:Reality, people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604643)

If Macedonia/Mongolia/Outer Slobovia wants to be dealt with "fairly", they should police their own areas so that crime stops paying, like the other, more trusted areas.

All these arguments are the same as saying - "If Americans don't want to be hated all over the world, then they need to stop the war in Iraq"

It is smug, xenophobic, elitist crap these poor bastards can no more stop online fraud than I can stop the war in Iraq. Please tell me what you would do if you are a poor but smart person who doesn't live in a White Western or Pacific country and wanted to get on the web and no you can't effectively use anonymous proxies or ISPs in other countries.

Collective punishment is wrong. (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604738)

Intelligent people should be able to understand the difference between a nation or a group of people, and an individual. For some reason, idiots such as yourself are unable to grasp this simple fact. An individual internet user can't really do much, especially if the country is corrupt. And they certainly can't stop hackers from the outside world breaking into servers in that country.

The issue is one of law enforcement (4, Insightful)

PHPgawd (744675) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604573)

As an e-commerce player here on the Internet I'm ready to blacklist countries that do not adquately go after criminals, pure and simple.

Sure, the USA might account for a lot of fraud because of the sheer Internet population here, but at least criminals here have at least some fear of getting prosecuted and thrown in jail. If a country doesn't enforce the law (or there isn't one there to enforce), then the entire country might as well be waging war on my servers.

This may surprise some people, but... (5, Informative)

jessemckinney (398160) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604584)

Africa is not a country. It is a continent.

such as Africa, Nigeria, Macedonia, Colombia, etc..

Re:This may surprise some people, but... (4, Funny)

achurch (201270) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604676)

Africa is not a country. It is a continent.

I'm not sure which to bemoan more--that that statement would surprise some people, or that the comment was modded Informative . . .

You HaveN't (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604585)

World-Wide! World-Wide!

ask for whitelisting (1)

humankind (704050) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604588)

I'm sorry for those that are caught in the Class A and B blocks of scammer/spammers. Your best bet is to appeal to the powers that be to get some IP space in the US that you can use for SMTP.

It's best for us to wholesale blacklist IP space to shut down the Korean, Chinese and Russian scumbags. Sorry, but it has to be done. It's easier for you to negotiate separate IP space for SMTP servers, so don't whine about being blacklisted... it's an easily solveable problem.

Re:ask for whitelisting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604616)

And when your customers, friends and family are cut off, what do you do? Tell grandma to call up ARIN for some class C's to be able to email folk in the states?

Sorry, but wholesale blocking of countries only works if you don't do business with or communicate with them in the first place.

Re:ask for whitelisting (1)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604620)

This story has nothing to do with SMTP, it is web browsing they are being cut off from.

Dominant United States Influences (0, Troll)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604591)

Speaking of Russia, Israel and the United States:

Russian Americans and Jewish Americans are the top 2 nations represented in the dominant influences on the United States [laboratory...states.com] if you take "influence" to mean the variance that can be explained in other demographic variables by one demographic variable.

The interesting thing from the fraud standpoint is that the top demographic influence is HIV positive tests per capita.

Re:Dominant United States Influences (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604639)

The interesting thing from the fraud standpoint is that the top demographic influence is HIV positive tests per capita.

That makes sense in a strange sort of way. Corrupt societies tend to traffic heavily in prostitution and intravenous drug use.

A bit one-sided (4, Insightful)

crucini (98210) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604592)

Both the article and the writeup wonder how "tiny macedonia" could be a big enough problem to blacklist. Surely Russia and Israel have more scams?

What they're missing is that it's probably the ratio of fraudulent order volume to total order volume. It seems that the blacklisters are accusing Macedonia of too high a ratio of fraud.

These complainers are failing to see the merchant's viewpoint. Fraud can really bite into profits. If I were starting an e-commerce business, I wouldn't ship to any questionable countries. Sorry to hurt anyone's feelings, but it doesn't make business sense.

Sound like Macedonia needs to start catching and prosecuting the fraudsters, then publicize this fact to the e-commerce merchants.

Here's an idea.. (1)

c0ldfusi0n (736058) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604597)

If those countries knew how to use their internet properly -- secure their smtp/web/proxy servers, there wouldn't be a damn problem. They caused their own fall if you want my opinion, on to something else.

Blacklist Anonymous Proxies (duh) (1)

PHPgawd (744675) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604599)

Been there, done that. There are only so many anonymous proxy services out there, and it's easy enough to block those IPs too. And then there's a few strategies we employ for unknown IPs...

At the risk of being insensitive... (4, Informative)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604606)

I know that blacklists can be heavy handed, but Macedonia's reputation does preceed it.

US Embasy Brief for Travelers [state.gov] To whit: Macedonia has a cash-based economy. The local currency is the denar. Few establishments accept dollars, credit cards or travelers' checks. Travelers are advised to avoid using credit cards due to numerous instances of credit card fraud.

I realize the State Department may be parroting back the same biases as banks and such.

A quick search for "+macedonia +fraud +crime" and "+macedonia +online +fraud" has it listed on almost every bank, shipping, and e-commerce site as a country to suspect. On most of the lists, it's third after Nigeria and Columbia.

Depends if you're from the US, or "the rest" (4, Funny)

B747SP (179471) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604611)

And I thought all this time I was surfing the 'World Wide' Web :/

The definition of 'world wide' varies depending on whether you're from the USA or someplace else. Who was it, the Monty Python folks perhaps?, who remarked that the key difference between the US and England is that when England hosts an international sporting event, they invite other countries. Could the same be said for the "world" wide web? :-)

Should an artificial state... (1, Informative)

+apis22 (776909) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604617)

Should an artificial state has its own internet identifier (for example .fyrom) in the first place? First of all, what you call "Macedonia" has a formal name which is Former Yugoslavic Republic of Macedonia. IMO "Macedonia" is the direct result of the breakup of Yugoslavia. For many decades after WW2 the communist regime of Yugoslavia used the term "Macedonia" to define the southern part of Yugoslavia. Now according to macedonia.org ""Macedonians" make up 66% of "Macedonia's" population of 2 million, Albanians 23%, and Turks, Vlach, and Serbs, the rest (1994 census)" In the past 50 years communism was the ideology that hold together the people of Yugoslavia and its constituents republics like "Macedonia". After the breakup of Yugoslavia their politicians "sold" this story of "Macedonia" to the Albanians, Turks, Vlachs and Serbs i.e. that they are true descendants of Macedonians. Please... The true Macedonians were, are and will be Greeks residents of northern Greece. Aristotle the philosopher was Greek and lived in Macedonia, Greece. Philip the father of Alexander the Great was Greek and was king of Macedonia, Greece. Alexander was king of Macedonia, Greece and he became emperor of the area from Asia Minor up to the borders of present day India. (BTW he is the only conqueror still remembered by the population of Middle East as a liberator and just sovereign) As for the internet access of the Former Yugoslavic (communist) Republic of Macedonia... Well their government should start by diminishing internet fraud and curbing the illegal activities in general in their state.

As a Macedonian... (5, Interesting)

Ivan Todoroski (132826) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604625)

I don't think I've noticed any of this blocking described in the article during my everyday surfing, and I do surf the web a lot. Can't say this really worries me.

While I do agree that blocking ANY country (including the mentioned Russia, Israel, etc.) based on actions of a few individuals is utterly wrong, I think the article is a bit too alarmist and paranoid, especially the bit about this being the result of some kind of political conspiracy.

So a few sites blocked Macedonian IPs, big deal. Various IP blocks get blocked all the time for various (sometimes wrong) reasons, and things usually work out when enough legitimate users complain. A tempest in a teapot...

Macedonia ? (1)

apdim (728800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604635)

There is no such country named as Macedonia, probably the author meant to write F.Y.R.O.M.

Always looking on the bright side... (1)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604644)

The good news is that, now that Macedonia is being blocked, you can post all sorts of wild flamebait about them without fear of moderation. Whee!

Now if only I could think of something nasty to say about Macedonia.

the dicotomy of the net. (-1)

zymano (581466) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604652)

Don't use microsoft products ,server software or browsers.

Don't buy anything off the net.

Don't trust anybody on the net.

The internet can be viewed 2 ways. One is the way the government and businesss would like , with online banking(very scary) and Irs forms(anything important).

The other way is one that is the wild west. Trust no one or they will kill you and take your money.

I agree with not letting rogue nations access to the net. Play fair or don't play at all.

The door swings both ways... (5, Insightful)

podo (648928) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604653)

I feel I should point out that blacklisting an entire country is probably not as good an idea as it sounds, as it may just inadvertently set a dangerous precedent.

Before starting my current job, I did some systems admiistration work for small ISPs here in South Africa. At one point last year, after long deliberations and searching for any other solutions we could find, we finally decided to blacklist seven U.S. ISPs, because of the never ending tidal wave of spam and worm attacks that originated from these. It worked.

Following from this, I have often wondered about the possible effect of completely disconnecting the United States from the rest of the internet.

Just think for a moment my fellow non-Americans, no more "legal" spam, no more pop-up adds that come from nowhere, because a hapless user clicked "Yes" somewhere, no more propaganda web sites telling us how wonderful they are and how bad we are, no more "you will use DRM because our laws say so, even though they are not your laws" attitude, no more open source projects being distributed with half the functionality removed, because it might infringe on some insignificant U.S. software patent, and someone from the States might download it, putting the author in violation of the patent, no more Carnivore servers reading every word I type as I compose this post, because I just might be saying something that could "endanger the interests or national security of the United States", ah, bliss...

Since the introduction of the CAN-SPAM Act, spam, even non-compliant spam, has been increasing. American businesses seem to interpret the Act as a free license to spam everyone with impunity. Oh sure, the very large spammers eventually get shut down by multi-million dollar law suits filed under the Act by the very large American ISPs, but that really doesn't help the rest of the world, does it?

We've all read the statistics about how China is such a large source of spam, but what the statistics fail to tell you is that this spam originates from Chinese companies, being payed by American spammers to do their dirty work. If spam from China could not reach the United States, because the United States isn't there in internet terms, there would be no point for the spammers to continue hiring the Chinese to do this for them, and spam from China would probably decline.

I'm sorry if this hurts the feelings of all the American readers, but I feel I must point out that the rest of the Western world is getting very tired of your incessant moaning and paranoia.

Inter-without-America-Net anyone? If they can justify doing this, so can we. ISPs of the world, blacklist with impunity!

I realise that this post will probably get me flamed or even moderated into oblivion, but I think it does serve to illustrate an important point, of which even the United States should take heed.

If the U.S. can justify blacklisting an entire country because of a minute security threat, do we, the rest of the world, not have more than sufficient justification to blacklist the entire United States?

This is a dangerous door for the U.S. to open, and it swings both ways. Yes, blacklisting the entire U.S. does seem to be impractical, as we would probably loose most of the internet, but to be brutally honest, the only American web site I would miss is Slashdot.

Welcome back, to 1992... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9604673)

"The link to Macedonia went down in May 1992. It was restored by the end of the same summer, via a single X.25 link to the University of Ljubljana."

Ahhh, welcome back to the heady days of '92.

Yeah, fucking lame (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604679)

This is why black holing ip ranges is fucking lame. Legitimate traffic gets lost in the process. We all know Spam is a problem, but black holing large ranges only hurts people.

We can be a little smarter then this, in this day and age.

The net's just a playground anyway (2, Insightful)

achurch (201270) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604699)

The Internet still runs on protocols designed 20-30 years ago that rested on the assumption that everyone using the network could be trusted. As long as we stick with that assumption, we're going to have blacklists, spoofing, what-have-you. The trick is to not rely on the Internet for anything important.

I have attempted several wives (1)

Brie and gherkins (778845) | more than 10 years ago | (#9604702)

from Bulagria and Romania, even paying extra for next day shipping, and they have never arrived. Blacklisting is too good for them!
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