Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(November 1995)

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Subject: Terra Firma (was: Re: Are You Pissed?)
From: Dave Del Torto <ddt @ lsd . com>
Date: Sat, 11 Nov 1995 17:01:38 -0800
To: list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
Cc: pmck @ en . com (Monee C. Kidd), "James J. Lippard" <lippard2 @ primenet . com>

At 2:52 pm 11/11/95, Monee C. Kidd wrote:
>The postmaster on is a pretty swift one. I got this in
>response to my note to him:
>>From: "James J. Lippard" <lippard2 @
 primenet .
>>To: pmck @
 en .
>>Subject: Recent Primenet spam
>>You are receiving this automatic response because you have sent email
>>to postmaster @
 primenet .
 com with a subject containing either the word
>>"spam" or the phrase "ARE YOU PREPARED," and are almost certainly
>>complaining about the massive email spam to mailing lists by Primenet
>>user peterqz @
 primenet .
 com, Peter Quizert.  Excuse me, I mean ex-Primenet
>>user Peter Quizert.  His account has been terminated and is being billed

Swift he is, and he's taken a totally appropriate course of action. Three
cheers for you, Lippy! :)

>>for the time required to respond to complaints.  A report has been
>>posted to
>>   We apologize for the net abuse, which is a violation of our user
>>agreement, the relevant section of which is appended below for your
>>21.  The following violations of "netiquette" are grounds for immediate
>>     suspension of service pending investigation by PRIMENET and will
>>     result in termination of the account(s) the investigation determines
>>     to have originated or transmitted these types of traffic.
>>  (a) Posting a single article or substantially similar articles to an
>>      excessive number of newsgroups (i.e., more than 20) or continued
>>      posting of articles which are off-topic (e.g., off-topic according
>>      to the newsgroup charter or the article provokes complaints from
>>      the regular readers of the newsgroup for being off-topic).
>>  (b) Sending unsolicited mass emailings (i.e., to more than 25 users)
>>      which provoke complaints from the recipients.
>>  (c) Engaging in either (a) or (b) from a provider other than PRIMENET
>>      and using an account on PRIMENET as a mail drop for responses.
>>  (d) Continued harrassment of other individuals on the Internet after
>>      being asked to stop by those individuals and by PRIMENET.
>>  (e) Impersonating another user or otherwise falsifying one's user name
>>      in email, Usenet postings, on IRC, or with any other Internet
>>      service.  (This does not preclude the use of nicknames in IRC or
>>      the use of anonymous remailer services.)
>>  Users whose accounts are terminated for any of the above infractions
>>  are also responsible for the cost of labor to cleanup and respond to
>>  complaints incurred by PRIMENET.
>Not this this will clear out all spam from the net, but we can rest easy,
>knowing that this particular spammer has been stopped.

Monee, this is a perfect example of an on-the-ball administrator doing a
fine job in the public interest. Way to go, Primenet. :)

To play Satan's Legal Council a bit further, I wonder what everyone thinks
about the registry idea I mentioned in my past post about Peter's pissing
but with the added principle that people's personal addresses would be part
of the releasable registry information in extreme cases, i.e. if a
participating admin submits a specific request to the governing body that
administers the registry, the offending spammer's complete account
information could be released to designated law enforcement officials, eg.
the FCC or FBI Fraud Unit. If this is clearly set forth in any new personal
or business account agreement, then it would be clearly understood that
abuse of the resource by a business person who tried to engage in net.fraud
on repeated occasions could be traced to a credit account or street address
for further legal action.

The "carrot" here is that everyone reads the standard, UL-approved*
instructions, like someone who takes a test that forces them to read and
ascribe to the rules of the road to get a driver's licence, will not be
able to claim ignorance of basic netiquette. Everyone goes on to the net
knowing that if they drive on the sidewalks, someone who carries the
"stick" part of the bargain is going to come looking for them. The sooner
we draw a direct connection in the minds of users between the carrot and
the stick, to sooner a lot of this nonsense will abate. There will always
be a few left, but they're made for the stick, and the stick is made for
them, I'm afraid to say.

I'm sure C&S and a few sympatico ambulance-chaser types would have
something invigorating to say about this idea from a Martian Constitution
standpoint, but it seems to me that there is a legitemate need to prevent
against would-be net.carpetbaggers abusing the "untraceable" aspects of the
net by forcing anyone who wants to offer "goods and services" on the
"commercial" side of the net to establish some sort of terra firma from
which to operate. This could eventually have far-reaching implications for
the quality and tone of business on the net. Think a minute: cigarette
companies have been banned from advertising on the vidiot box for decades
now, but does anything prevent them from appearing on the "hi-res screen"
even if they can't appear on the "small screen?"

BTW, I'm not advocating "no anonymity" at all, just that the net's admins
be easily able to cooperate when establishing standard netiquette
principles. Anyone who wants to point the list and/or me at any existing
examples of this sort of worldwide registry or cooperative effort (UVV is a
good one) is welcome to educate me. :)


* UL... Underadministrator's Laboratories? :)

Peter Piper produced a poor picture by placing his pointer over a pixel
in the very part of the Picker that promised plotter problems whenever
a program polled a particular parameter page through the parallel port.

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