I think among other things it is time that we started treating
stealing other people's open relays for purposes of forwarding
commercial email as what it probably is -- a felony. That won't help,
though, so long as no one attempts to prosecute it.
nor will it help if open relays are not a significant part of the problem.
most of the spam I see these days (at least, the spam that I take the
trouble to analyze) doesn't seem to be going through open relays.
Ah, but the stuff coming directly from the source is actually not so
big a problem. The block lists get such spam very fast, and I don't
see much of it at all -- perhaps one message every couple of days. You
can track such spam down pretty quickly and either get it shut down or
blacklist the host/network if you can't.
perhaps, but the blacklists cause the opposite problem - they cause a
great deal of legitimate mail to not be delivered. IMHO the practice
of bouncing or dropping mail from blacklisted address blocks is about
as harmful to the reliability of email as the spam itself.
However, I agree with you, merely prosecuting the people hijacking
other people's resources will not be sufficient. It might be nice to
see a few spammers go to jail, though, for stealing other people's
it would probably please me to see a few spammers have their hands
(or other body parts) cut off on worldwide television, but I don't
know that that would solve the problem.