Aardvark Daily
ISPs need to unite against spammers
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Unfortunately, the ease with which even a Net-novice can send email to thousands of other users with just a few keystrokes represents a potentially huge problem for Net users and service providers alike.

As events of recent days prove, email attacks born of malice or ignorance become a major headache for all involved. Given that these attacks are often generated by the same individuals, perhaps the time has come for an "official" black list to be created.

Aardvark is aware that some ISPs already "unofficially" swap information on users known to cause problems, either through their abuse of netiquette or by running up delinquent accounts, however it would appear that maybe the privacy act has precluded any more formal arrangements.

However - if we can have publicly accessible (for a fee) databases of credit-history information, perhaps it's about time we created a database of Net-history so as to allow ISPs to verify the financial or ethical status of prospective subscribers.

Until now, the Net's esoteric appeal, cost and relatively small size in New Zealand has meant that the problem has been all but non-existent. Unfortunately, as the Net grows and an increasing number of "idiots" gain cheap and easy access, the need for some kind of user-vetting may become essential to reduce the damage that this type of attack can cause.

Perhaps the complaints laid with the police against at least one of the recent mail-bombers, combined with the civil action for the recovery of costs and damages will help deter many other "would-be" Net-terrorists. However, the prospect of a long prison term doesn't stop serious crime such as rape, robbery or murder so it can't be viewed as a total solution.

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