ah, intermediaries. while at MAPS i often heard complaints (from people
who wanted to send e-mail that some other people didn't want to receive)
that subscribing to a blackhole list overreached an ISP's rights and
responsibilities -- that customers should have to "opt into" such a service
on a case by case basis.
(which was amusing at the time since these same complainants were arguing
at the same time that recipients of e-mail should have to "opt out of" the
email they didn't want to receive. but i digress.)
ultimately it was found that no law or regulation required carriage, and
that an ISP (whether in the US, Canada, or EU) could subscribe to any
blackhole list they wanted, and the only recourse any of their customers
had was whatever was explicitly spelled out in their contracts. so, while
we could argue about whether there ought to be a law or regulation, and
then we could argue about which countries this law would have force within
and whether an international treaty would be required (or possible), there
is no sense in arguing whether a network owner has or does not have the
right to refuse to carry any traffic they choose or fail to choose, for
any reason or no reason. "it just ain't so."
ah, monopolies. many times while at MAPS i heard complaints from end users
whose e-mail was getting rejected "by association", to the effect that they
had no choice of ISP, there was only one ISP in their region, or whatever,
and that adding that ISP to a blackhole list constituted an impossible
mandate on the unwitting bystanders who happened to share that address space.
well, i guess you all know how this turned out, too, right? about half of
the nontechnical community of internet users now has a plethora of "e-mail"
accounts, often free, often web-delivered. no misdeed on the part of your
DSL or cablemodem provider prevents you from being a full internet citizen
with all rights and privileges pursuant thereunto.
of course, technical users just buy a 1U server and pay $50/month to have
it colo'd somewhere, and they use their home DSL or cablemodem service for
the only thing it's actually good for -- tunnelling to someplace whose abuse
policies are enforced.
nathaniel, john, i have a lot of respect for you but from reading this thread
it's clear that you have only been studying this issue for a couple of years.
please give it a decade, and read what's been written on the topic of digital
rights, before you go head to head with vjs (who has been studying these
issues as long as i, and who has definitely done his homework.)
the fact that continued universal connectivity requires conservative behaviour
by universal subset standards is a strength of the internet economy, not a
weakness. it's the only fence we have, and "good fences make good neighbors."
the "rule of law" would not be nearly as fine grained or as relevant or as
successful in this community. unless you think that CANSPAM is going to stop
people in china or taiwan from sending you e-mail you have no fonts for about
products you'd have no use for, that is.