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- From: Heiko Recktenwald <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Sat, 30 Oct 1999 00:16:03 +0200 (CEST)
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Spam hits the fan
A NATION OF PORNOGRAPHERS and spammers. That was the view of Britain
apparently adopted by one of the biggest Internet service providers in the US
last week, as it decided to block all incoming e-mail from British companies.
The action was taken by IDT, a New Jersey-based provider, in response to a
wave of unsolicited and offensive e-mails received by some of its customers.
"It was for massive spamming--pornographic material," an IDT technician
explained when asked why no British e-mail was getting through to New
Scientist's Washington DC office, which is an IDT customer.
Jason Meyer of IDT's Internet Abuse Department confirms that e-mail from all
addresses ending co.uk was blocked on 20 October. In addition, IDT blocked
e-mail from the University of Leeds, after its customers were spammed about a
Internet service providers regularly block e-mail from known spammers. These
are individuals who send bulk e-mails to thousands of addresses.
But the scope of IDT's block is unusual. "To block all commercial traffic
a major industrialised nation sounds clueless to me," says Jason Catlett,
president of the anti-spamming group Junkbusters, based in Green Brook, New
IDT has now relaxed its bans. The University of Leeds has traced its problem
to a security hole that allowed someone outside to use one of its servers to
Charles Seife, Washington DC
From New Scientist, 30 October 1999
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