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Telstra And Optus Blacklisted By ORBS

[Sydney, AUSTRALIA] Cable & Wireless Optus have been blacklisted by ORBS, an organization set up to stop spamming. According to an ORBS representative, the action has been taken "because Telstra and Optus between them now account for a significant portion of the world's spam problems, primarily by allowing customers to spam from elsewhere, advertising Web sites with connectivity from Optus and Telstra."

ORBS stands for the Open Relay Behaviour-modification System, and it tracks SMTP servers that have been confirmed to permit third-party relay. These servers permit spammers to connect to them from anywhere in the world, usually from a modem connection, and then forward the spam to their intended victims.

ORBS claimed that Telstra has switched to a policy of not responding to any complaints about spam whatsoever. "The last response I had to a complaint to Telstra about spam haven Web sites was "your complaints are spam, stop sending them. Other spamfighters have reported being mailbombed and listbombed by Telstra abuse staff."

A Telstra representative was bemused by australia.internet.com's inquiries. After investigating the matter he found that the person in charge was aware of ORBS, but was not aware of the blacklisting. He said the administrator would be in contact with ORBS shortly. "Telstra is very proactive in working with people who are spamming, and requesting that they don't do so. Telstra has been blacklisted in the past, and we work very quickly to get off that blacklist. What happens is that you stop people from spamming and then other people come in and do it too. It's something we really can't stop in the future...totally. We have to rely on our customers observing the acceptable use policy, and occasionally people don't." But the blacklisting has angered ISPs downstream of Telstra, who are finding their IP addresses are blocked by the system. "Telstra allots a block of IP addresses to its customer ISPs," said Aaron Howell of Kitten Internet. "By doing this ORBS is blocking off almost all of Australia, and they'll find that soon no one in the country will be using the system. Other ISPs shouldn't have to suffer because ORBS is having a sandpit fight with Telstra."

ORBS said the Telstra blacklisting would continue until Telstra implemented its revised acceptable use policy which allows immediate suspension or termination of services unless "spamvertised" Web sites are removed. As for Optus, the ORBS spokesperson said the listing would be removed "when they start removing spam haven providers such as Australianhosting.net - which is both a heavy spam source and hosts numerous Webs sites promoted by electronic junk mail."

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