Aardvark Daily
Clear issues offical response to spamming
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The following email has been received from Clear in response to recent coverage carried by Aardvark.

Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 17:35:27 +1200
From: CLEAR Net Webmaster
Organization: CLEAR Net
To: editor@aardvark.co.nz
Subject: Re: Spammage from netads@pop1.clear.co.nz

Dear Bruce,

It is excellent to see that you are continuing to report daily and objectively on national Internet events. We read with interest your comment on spamming and agree that it will continue to be an issue in the near future.

We would like to take the opportunity to stress that CLEAR Net is a responsible organisation, and to clarify to your readers our position on these anti-nettiquette practises.

CLEAR Net has taken a strong stand on the issue of Internet spamming, and this is communicated to customers when they join CLEAR Net. Our view is that the general rules of netiquette apply; namely that it is not acceptable to send unsolicited bulk emails, e.g. chain letters, across the Internet to News groups or individual users. However, there are no laws regulating the use of Internet or email, apart from those referring to illegal content. In general, the most an ISP can do is appeal to customers, and perhaps close accounts where a real problem exists (as would be the case if the material was offensive or illegal). We have acted on the occasion you referred to by writing to the account holder advising them that they have breached CLEAR Net's terms and further action will be taken if this continues.

I think the messenger in this instance has learnt from his mistake and this is healthy. Unfortunately more new users mean that this type of mistake is likely to happen again. While CLEAR Net does not condone what happened, our role is not that of the 'Internet police'. Having said that, we are fully committed to doing what we can to ensure our customers do adhere to netiquette behavior.

Deborah Menagh
General Manager CLEAR Net

Editor's comment
It is heartening to see that Clear continues to act responsibly with respect to these issues although perhaps it should be reinforced that special mechanisms must be put in place to deal with spammers in a rapid and effective manner. Many of the emails received by Aardvark express disappointment that Clear's response was not more immediate.

Given that there really is nothing an ISP can do to stop such events, and that abuse of the Net will continue to be a problem as increasing numbers of neophytes come on-line, perhaps all ISPs should set up an "abuse@ispname" address to provide a formalised system for the registration of, and rapid response to such complaints.

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