Re: Bystander shot by a spam filter.

From: Duncan Patton a Campbell (campbell@neotext.ca)
Date: 12/28/02


Date: Sat, 28 Dec 2002 13:32:24 -0700
From: Duncan Patton a Campbell <campbell@neotext.ca>
To: htabak@quadtelecom.com


How do you find if you are on the list? And who has the list?

Can they be sued?

Thanks,

Duncan (Dhu) Campbell

On Sat, 28 Dec 2002 08:45:23 -0500
Harry Tabak <htabak@quadtelecom.com> wrote:

> [This is a resend. Ironically, the orignal was blocked by FreeBSD's spam
> filter, I've had to send this from another account]
>
> I am not sure which list is best for this issue, hence the cross
> posting. I believe spam and anti-spam measures are security issues --
> the 'Availability' part of C-I-A. I apologize if I am wrong. A FreeBSD
> ported package is contributing to an internet service availability
> problem that has me stumped. I believe that an unknowable quantity of
> other internet denizens are also affected.
>
> I'm a long time fan of FreeBSD -- I run it on my small mail server and
> I've recommended it for many applications. I even bought a CD once. I
> write this missive with great reluctance. I've worked with a lot of
> strange software over the years, But this is a new first -- Software
> that slanders! Software that publicly called me a spammer!!! And not to
> my face, but to business associate. And then took action.
>
> I recently discovered, and quite by accident, that a FreeBSD ported
> package -- spambnc (aka Spambouncer or SB) -- was blocking mail from me
> to an unknown number of businesses and individuals on the internet. I'll
> probably never have to correspond with most of these people, but I'm a
> freelancer -- this may have already cost me a job. [Dear reader, don't
> be surprised if you or your clients are also blocked. I strongly suggest
> that you check it out.]
>
> Anti-spam products have a valuable place in the security arsenal. But,
> IMHO, this product is dangerous because it includes filters and rules
> that are overreaching, and inaccurate. Bad firewall rules and bad
> anti-spam rules may be OK for an individual site. However, spambnc's
> bad advice is being mass marketed through the good offices of FreeBSD,
> and it is putting potholes in the net for the rest of us. Until it is
> fixed, and proven harmless, FreeBSD should stop distributing this product.
>
> Basically, the default built-in policies for blocking mail aren't fully
> described, and there is no mechanism to universally correct the
> inevitable mistakes in a timely manner. Users (people who install this
> product) are mislead about the probably of filtering the wrong mail. I
> am sure that the software was developed with the very best intentions,
> but in its zeal to block lots and lots of spam, SB is hurting good people.
>
> The SB rule blocking my mail host has nothing to do with me. Even
> though, it can use dynamic anti-spam DNS services, SB hard codes its
> rules for filtering bad domains by name and by IP address. My nemisis is
> buried in a 1476 line file, sb-blockdomains.rc, which installs by
> default, and is not documented outside the code. Along with others, it
> blocks the entire 66.45.0.0/17 space because spammers might live there.
> This is sort of like a corporate mail room throwing away all NJ
> postmarked mail because of the bulk mail distribution centers in Secaucus.
>
> My mail host address gets a clean bill of health from every anti-spam
> site that I can find, such as SPEWS. I've checked at least 30 of them.
>
> My tiny x/29 block is sub-allocated from my DSL provider's x/23 block.
> The DSL provider's block is a sub-allocation from Inflow.com's
> 66.45.0.0/17 block. Spambouncer doesn't like Inflow. While they have a
> right to their opinions, they don't have a right to publicly tar me
> because of my neighbors.
>
> If I read sb-blockdomains # comments correctly, it is policy to not
> only block known spammers, but to ALSO block entire networks based on
> their handling of spam complaints. This is like as a business
> receptionist checking callerID and then ignoring incoming calls from
> Verizon subscribers because Verizon tolerates (and probably invented)
> telemarketing.
>
> I have written to both the Spambouncer contact address
> <ariel@spambouncer.org> and the FreeBSD maintainer, but without a
> response. Possibly they are on holiday, or spambouncer is eating my
> mail. Perhaps I'm just too impatient.
>
> I have also contacted my ISP's support. They don't know how to help
> me. They vouch for Inflow. They don't recommend it, but for a fee, my
> service could be switched to a different PVC, and I'd get an address
> from a different carrier. But of course, the new address could be
> black-listed on a whim.
>
> Regardless, I assume that these are reasonable people, and that they
> will oil the squeaky wheel as soon as it is convenient. But how will I
> ever know that EVERY copy of spambouncer has been fixed? What about
> other innocent ISP subscribers who are also black-listed?
>
> Harry Tabak
> QUAD TELECOM, INC.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
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