[FoRK] At what point is email officially broken?

Aaron Burt < aaron at bavariati.org > on > Wed Dec 6 13:10:57 PST 2006

On Wed, Dec 06, 2006 at 12:31:05PM -0800, Jim Whitehead wrote:
> A New York Times article today points out the obvious, that spam has  
> dramatically increased recently. When talking with folks in the IETF  
> with email standards experience, I keep getting the message, "email's  
> not broken, it's just that {insert intervention here} is needed."  At  
> what point are we able to officially declare the SMTP-based email  
> infrastructure is fundamentally broken, and we need a major change?

Please read: http://www.craphound.com/spamsolutions.txt

> Feels like we need an "Iraq Study Group" for the spam problem. We're  
> not winning the war, and we're in serious denial.

Grr.  Ask any harried, hard-working sysadmin if we're in "serious denial."

> As far as I can tell, there are no IETF working groups addressing the
> issue of fixing the email infrastructure.

What needs fixing?  The fact that it can be abused?  If that were the
criterion, we'd need to "fix" every piece of technology from the stone
hammer onwards.

One thing that would make a serious dent in spam would be to throw out
the CAN-SPAM act, which effectively legalized it and preempted several
state laws that empowered spam-fighters.

Another thing would be to go after the criminals who control and rent
out the botnets of hacked Windows PCs that send out most spam and are
also used for extortion and harassment through DDOS.

Another would be to support and stand by the brave folks who monitor
those criminals.  See http://www.spamhaus.org/rokso/index.lasso

Of course, the most effective measure would be to eliminate Windows and
Outlook altogether, but sadly, that's not on the table.



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