by Mike Masnick

Overly Aggressive Spam Fighting

from the try-that-one-again dept

I use an anti-spam tool, and it makes my life much easier. However, I keep hearing stories of the anti-spam fighters overstepping their bounds and harming completely innocent people in their efforts to stop spam. I can't see how there's any reasonable justification for this sort of collateral damage. The Register is running two different stories that demonstrate just how overly aggressive spam fighters are getting these days. First, a new spam filter set up for the House of Commons in the UK has been accused of "stifling debate". It apparently won't let MPs send email to each other concerning bills about sexual offenses and (this is great) censorship. Meanwhile, a domain manager is threatening to sue the anti-spam blacklist SPEWS for blocking a series of innocent IP addresses, in an attempt to get those innocent providers to join them in the fight against their spamming neighbors. Places like SPEWS justify the collateral damage by saying it forces those innocent providers who are impacted by their blocklist to join the fight against spam. That's ridiculous thinking, since it really just makes them join the fight against the anti-spam organization. Besides, it's not up to the spam-fighting organizations to decide who else should decide to fight with them. It's like having someone shoot your brother, and saying "I wouldn't have done that if your neighbor weren't such a jerk. Now help me hunt down your neighbor for making me do that."

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