The Open Internet & the Freedom of Speech

Email v. F.C.C. Net Neutrality

Have you ever gotten this failure to deliver an e-mail:

 

Hi. This is the qmail-send program at mail.gatworks.com.

I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.

This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.

 

eastacioATdsny.nyc.gov:

Connected to 161.185.1.3 but sender was rejected.

Remote host said: 550 5.7.1 Mail from 141.157.255.25 blocked using Trend Micro RBL+. Please see www.mail-abuse.com/cgi-bin/lookup?ip_address=141.157.255.25

 

Or something like this failure to deliver an e-mail to earthlink.net:

rxxxxxx2ATearthlink.net:

Connected to 209.86.93.226 but sender was rejected.

Remote host said: 550 550 Dynamic/zombied/spam IPs blocked. Write blockedbyearthlinkATabuse.earthlink.net

 

Or even a rejected report of a spoof attack to Amazon.com:

spoofATamazon.com:

Connected to 72.21.198.25 but greeting failed.

Remote host said: 554-smtp-fw-4101.amazon.com

554 SBRS score too low: www.senderbase.org/

Or even from Yahoo.com

mxxxxx3gulATyahoo.com:

Connected to 98.137.54.237 but greeting failed.

Remote host said: 553 Mail from 141.157.255.25 not allowed - 5.7.1 [BL21] Connections not accepted from IP addresses on Spamhaus PBL; see postmaster.yahoo.com/550-bl21.html [550]

 

Well, this is how life is when you run your own personal e-mail service. And these are just a sampling of 4 of the many rejections made by various ISP’s. For the most part, end users never know that there was a ‘legit’ message sent to them. The e-mail is not scanned for viruses. The email is not scanned for inappropriate (spam, fraud, spoof, .... ) content. These emails are not corralled in ‘spam’ mail-box’s. These e-mails are simply rejected based on the IP address assigned to you by your ISP.

 

Yes, the basic reason for the rejection is that your ISP ( Verizon.net ) assigned you an IP address that the ISP self classifies as temporary, And because its “temporary “, various e-mail black-listing organizations have determined that you are not allowed to send e-mail to anyone. At least not to anyone that employs their blocking services.

 

 

1) eastacioATdsny.nyc.gov:

This is the New York City Department of sanitation. Apparently they use the e-mail blocking service by Trend Micro, Inc., Cupertino, California. “We maintain several lists of sources of spam, as well as sources that should not be sending legitimate email (i.e. open relays and dial-up IP addresses)” as Trend Micro advertises. To this end, the current IP address assigned to me by Verizon is on their DUL list. Asking Trend Micro to remove the address from the DUL list is futile. In all likely hood, it is Verizon that seeded the DUL black list with IP addresses that Verizon determined should not be sending e-mail through an alternate e-mail service. Trend Micro encourages ISP’s to “participate in the MAPS DUL by volunteering their list of dial-up networks to MAPS” . Further down the same page, you’ll also notice that DSL accounts, and Cable accounts are also welcomed into this black-list. Please note, that not once is there any allegation that ‘spam’ was sent.

 

2) Earthlink.net

Earthlink is an ISP that publicly sells internet access to anyone. Part of their services is to provide the storage, and forwarding mechanism of their e-mail services to subscribers. By now, part of Earthlinks e-mail system is the detection and isolation of suspect ‘spam’ e-mails on behalf of the subscribers. BUT, in this case, Earthlink.net has unilaterally, and without recourse, decided that “Dynamic/zombied/spam IPs blocked”. The Earthlink subscriber did not block the e-mail. Earthlink, the ISP, blocked the e-mail. The subscriber is never informed. The subscriber never knows.

ISP’s should not be in the business of censoring a subscribers e-mail. Phone companies don’t enforce the “do not call” list. The U.S, Postal Service does not stop the delivery of “Junk Mail” on its own. Yet, ISP’s determine who may, or may not send mail to their subscribers. Is there some reason why the ISP’s wont allow subscribers to determine that for themselves?

Requests to become unblocked are not responded to.

 

3) Amazon.com

One would think that Amazon.com would want reports of attempted fraud committed against Amazon. For e-mail, originating from my personal service, Amazon would rather not receive my ‘spoof’ reports.

Or maybe they would like to know, but they don’t realize that third party e-mail spam prevention service is blocking more that it had informed Amazon.

The e-mail spam prevention service used by Amazon appears to be the “Cisco IronPort SenderBase Security Network” . Using my current IP address “141.157.255.25”, I see that Cisco has it classified as “SenderBase reputation score Poor”. Cisco’s definition of Poor is: “Poor = A problematic level of threat activity has been observed from your IP address or domain. Your email or Web traffic is likely to be filtered or blocked” . Further Cisco maintains that “SenderBase supports very accurate conclusions about a given host.” Yet, the only (probable) reason why a “Poor” designation was given was “You may be utilizing a dynamic IP that is not allowed to relay email directly to the Internet.” Cisco’s detailed analysis shows no threat activity. No Spam. No Viruses. Nada. Yet Cisco classifies that the IP assigned to you as having a “poor” reputation – even before u have sent out your first packet.

So, how does Cisco know that the IP address used “is not allowed” ? I can only conclude that my ISP, Verizon, has informed Cisco that the subscribers to the SenderBase black-listing should block any, and all e-mail from my IP address. Currently Verizon allows me to send and receive e-mail using my own personal computer services. Currently Verizon participates in organizations that perform blacklisting services by stating which IP’s are to be listed in the various blacklist databases.

BTW: Does anyone know if CISCO is involved with domestic spying. Cisco claims that “more than 120,000 ISPs, universities, and corporations“ route their e-mail through CISCO for analysis.

 

4) Yahoo.com

Yahoo appears to base their rejections using SpamHaus.org blacklisting databases.

SpamHaus.org This is another organization that creates lists of organizations, or individuals that have spam’d. “Spamhaus tracks the Internet's Spammers, Spam Gangs and Spam Services, provides dependable realtime anti-spam protection for Internet networks, and works with Law Enforcement to identify and pursue spammers worldwide” so they publish on their web page. This was, at one time, very true, and very noble.

This is no longer true, as SpamHaus now also lists IP address that have not spammed. ”The Spamhaus PBL is a DNSBL database of end-user IP address ranges which should not be delivering unauthenticated SMTP email to any Internet mail server except those provided for specifically by an ISP for that customer's use.” So here again, SpamHaus claims that Verizon told SpamHaus to list the IP address on this list. “It is the policy of Verizon Online that unauthenticated email sent from this IP address should be sent out only via the designated outbound mail server allocated to Verizon Online customers.”

Previously to this year, this issue has not been a problem. I was able to write to SpamHaus, and had the designation removed. This year “Removal of IP addresses within this range from the PBL is not allowed by the netblock owner's policy.” Authenticated, or unauthenticated e-mail – I makes no difference. Your IP address will not be removed because Verizon.net, my ISP, does not want to.

 

 

 

 

 

MAAWG ( Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group )

Sounds like an organization that can come up with some organized efforts to stop the proliferation of spam, and other network attacks. Yet, their “Best Practices” documentation is to stop all subscribers from sending e-mail through any other service besides the incumbent ISP’s service. They also recommend that ISP band together and share lists of IP address’s that should and should not be sending legitimate e-mail. They even suggest how this can be accomplished so that everyone ( of the ISP’s ) can participate in this collaborative effort. And Verizon.net, and I am sure that other ISP’s have already done so, is to block the port used to deliver any e-mail.

 

 

 

 

FCC Net Neutrality

 

I’d love to again be able to send e-mail to people that I know. To Companies inquiring about their services. To government regarding sanitation complaints. But this is getting more and more impossible. Although Verizon suggests that if I pay for an ‘upgrade’, it can be like it was before. But this upgrade is not specifically listed. Estimates on my part, Verizon.net wants to double the price ( minimally ) of my current $30/month subscription so that Verizon wont tell the world that I am using a IP address designated as having a “Poor Reputation”. For that extra fee, only the IP address will change, and bought off silence.

I only advocate that the clients at the end of the public e-mail process be allowed to determine on their own as to who may or may not send mail to them. If ISP sells their internet access to the public, and want to provide an e-mail service to the subscribers, then the subscribers should have the ability to determine what mail is acceptable, and not the ISP.

 

No one expects the (pots) phone company to block any phone call, even if the callee is on the “Do Not Call” list – do they? And no one expects that the (pots) phone company to place its subscriber on the “Do Not Call” list. The subscriber, or end user decides this. Enforcement is also not a problem for the (pots) phone company – they don’t bother, as they suggest the user file a complaint to the government.

Nor do I expect that a landlord of a multi-family dwelling to dictate to renters who may or may not be received in the renters domicile.

 

Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, right of association, like the proposed net neutrality statements, had a fairly simple interpretation when they were initially proposed and codified. Freedom of speech does not mean Absolute Freedom Of Speech, as it has since been interpreted by the US Supreme Court.

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Idea No. 183