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Re: Reporting Little Blue Men
From: Phil Howard <phil () charon milepost com>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 16:22:11 -0600 (CST)

Dean Anderson writes...

If I am paying you to carry packets, you have an obligation to carry them.
Blocking some of them is illegal. (ala AGIS).  Every packet that goes
through your network is paid for by one of your customers, one of their
customers, and so on.

If you are the customer then by all means if you want them you can have
them.  OTOH, it is not always cost beneficial for ISPs to be both in the
business of carrying _all_ packets and in the business of carrying _some_
packets.  Many ISPs are in the latter category.  If you want to buy a
sub sandwich, and are willing to pay for it, you have a right to do so,
but McDonalds doesn't have an obligation to sell you one unless they have
agreed (in their advertising, for example) to do so.

Many ISP are indeed shifting roles from the carrier of all packets and
messages to carriers of only those packets and messages that their paying
customers actually want, to whatever level maximizes their return on

If my server checks message headers to determine validity before
transferring to a spool file, I am not intercepting, I am determining
message routing. As above, if you aren't paying me, I have no obligation
to deliver something you handed me for delivery. Or are you suggesting
mail servers should deliver mail without determining who it is for?

Nope. Thats service observing.  Illegal.

Calculating the checksum of an arriving packet, in order to determine if
it is valid or not, would be observing, too.  Every byte will have been
examined.  Looking at the header to see where it is supposed to go is also
observing.  So can you define what kinds of observing you think is illegal?
I consider illegal any kind of observing that is not a specific function of
the obligation to carry out the services agreed to.  And our customers want
the kind of Internet services that give them the most benefit for the least
hassle.  That includes blocking spam.

I cannot block mail espousing causes I disagree with, but I have no
obligation to deliver them either. Find yourself another path to my
client; I won't do anything to permit or prevent it. I am not blocking you.
I am also not assisting you. That is neither illegal nor immoral.

You are obligated to carry the packets you are paid to carry.  You may not
look at their contents other than for incidental reasons, such as routing
and delivery. (and correct routing and delivery.)

And you are NOT obligated to carry the packets you are not paid to carry.
How big of a list can you come up with of customers that actually _want_
to pay to carry spam packets?

Phil Howard | eat1this () dumb2ads org no5spam6 () spam4mer com no66ads1 () noplace7 org
  phil      | no42ads6 () anywhere org no7way16 () no9place com blow4me9 () no0where edu
    at      | stop8374 () anyplace org no0way60 () anyplace net eat42me4 () s4p9a6m5 net
  milepost  | crash141 () s4p8a8m1 edu no45ads9 () anyplace com no43ads2 () anywhere com
    dot     | a9b1c5d8 () no0where com a8b5c2d6 () dumb1ads com eat12me1 () s1p7a4m5 com
  com       | eat28me4 () spam5mer net a0b4c0d3 () s4p3a1m1 net a3b0c0d6 () anyplace edu

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