Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(August 2003)

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Subject: Re: AOL blocking --- lawsuit filed
From: JC Dill <inet-list @ vo . cnchost . com>
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2003 11:59:18 -0700
To: <list-managers @ greatcircle . com>
In-reply-to: <200308281619 . h7SGJr5r026837 @ mail . rev . net>
References: <6 . 0 . 0 . 10 . 0 . 20030828085208 . 04fd63e0 @ 127 . 0 . 0 . 1> <200308281148 . h7SBm98A009635 @ mail . rev . net>

At 09:19 AM 8/28/2003, Bernie Cosell wrote:
On 28 Aug 2003 at 8:59, JC Dill wrote:

> ...  What part of "my network, my rules" means ...

Where did this precept come from?  Here I thought we were all part of the
"internet" and had more-or-less agreed to abide by its 'rules' [the RFCs
at the least].  This seems like a recipe for chaos.

"My network, my rules" IS how the Internet works, and creates the controlled chaos that is the Internet. There is no government body that controls "the Internet". The Internet is a connected system of autonomous networks who agree to transfer and exchange data packets between them via methods outlined in the RFCs. What each network does with the data once they have received it is up to the individual network. They can accept it, pass it on, drop it on the floor, filter, reject, as they like. The "control" within this chaos is caused by networks who play by the rules rejecting data from networks who don't play by the rules.

The rules are always changing because the needs of the Internet as a whole and of individual networks are always changing, because end user behavior is always changing. Many years ago it was normal to have an open relay SMTP server - today you will find that most of the networks on the Internet will not accept packets via port 25 from your open relay server once they know it's an open relay. In a similar fashion the rules are again changing to disallow packets via port 25 from IPs that are generally considered "residential" or "dynamically allocated" as far-too-often these computers are also open relays, and it's easier for the recipient network to just block a whole batch of IPs than to determine if an individual computer is properly secure, because *most* of the time, email from residential and/or dynamically allocated IPs is spam. It is also easier to tell those who have "residential" or "dynamically allocated" IPs that they should use their ISPs smarthost to relay their non-spam email, and if they have a real need to run their own mail server they should get a connection type that properly indicates that they have the need and expertise to correctly run a mail server on today's Internet.

Each network gets to choose for itself which of these new rules to apply to their connections and their policy, and then to accept the consequences of having their packets accepted or rejected at other networks accordingly.

Back to the CI Host vs AOL case.  CI Host *is* a known spam haven:


Those are sightings just from 2003, and nanas is not even close to being a comprehensive list of spam sightings. Here are the discussions in nanae from 2003:


Here are web links, many discuss the same CI Host spam problems as the nanae discussion above:


AOL, as an autonomous network, has the right to block email connections (packets via port 25) from any other autonomous network for *any* reason, and especially from another network that is known to harbor spam. CI Host can not demand that AOL accept email from their network when many of AOL's customers are requesting that AOL block those who send spam. AOL's first obligation WRT filtering incoming email is to their customers. If blocking CI Host pleases more customers than it displeases, then AOL can decide to block. If AOL gets enough complaints from their own customers about "false positive" blocked email due to the wholesale blocking of email from CI Host, then AOL can *choose* to change how they block. Their network, their rules. They will address the problem in a way that works for them and their customers. CI Host doesn't have any say in this matter!

Did you know that the US Post Office can refuse to deliver mail to your residence if they feel that it endangers the postal worker to be on foot in your neighborhood (as when a dangerous dog is running loose)?



Payeur, the U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman, said she understood Congdon's dog had run free in the past. Many dogs feel threatened by people in uniform and act differently around them, she said.

"If a neighboring property is impacted by that unsafe situation, he (the carrier) is not obligated to deliver to those delivery addresses," she said.


This situation happens all the time. You don't own or control the dangerous dog, but you no longer get your mail delivered! If it happens to you, you have to deal with your neighbors and get your neighborhood cleaned up (restrain dangerous dogs or whatever) to get mail delivery resumed. Or you have to get your mail at the post office, at a different address, or move.

CI Host's customers are faced with this same dilemma, they are in a hosting neighborhood with spammers and a spam friendly landlord. Either they get their landlord to change the policy about harboring spammers and get the spammers evicted, or they move, or they learn to live in an IP neighborhood which many other ISPs refuse to exchange email with.

jc - who finds it very uncomfortable defending AOL against "a little guy", but in this case AOL is in the right.

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