posted Dec 14, 2000

Slashdot - MAPS RBL Is Now Censorware
12/14/2000; 3:00:33 PM

'I don't like spam any more than the next person. But I also don't like censorship, and I take a content-neutral view of these things. If someone delivers a product to be used by Alice to block Bob from seeing website because she doesn't like its content, that product is censorware.'

Hey, somebody at Slashdot took off the rose-colored glasses. Of course MAPS is censorware! It's a pity they had to wait until one of their pet sites (, a site full of useful info but exudes a bit too much teenaged-angst sometimes) was hit to see that. There may yet be hope for Slashdot...

Of course, the really interesting question is the inverse-censorship question: Are internet providers required to carry spam, or can they voluntarily use any techniques they want to block whatever they want?  If it's illegal to censor anything, then that means the network must carry everything given to it, there's no way around that, and that's why a certain balance must be obtained.

I think that balance lies in ignoring the content of the messages. We would then speak of the "Spamming behavior" of the sender, rather then the "Spam content" of the message. This isn't perfect, though, because there are some very legitimate e-mails sent out that look like spamming behavior but are actually useful content (, so it takes more tuning then that.


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