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Anti-Spam Moratorium Targets ISPs

Unrelenting spam threatens to hit Usenet news servers today due to lack of action on the part of a group that normally covers spam patrol, and promises to significantly slow the services of Internet access providers.

The "Usenet Spam Cancel Moratorium" unleashed today aims to prove the point of a group of anti-spammers who are frustrated by the lack of response on the part of ISPs to effectively filter their own unwanted messages.

"Recently we've seen trends, such as more and more sites turning off [spam] cancels altogether, yet implicitly relying on the spam cancelers to get much of the spam before it arrives at their systems," read a statement issued by the group's spokesman, Chris Lewis.

"The situation is clearly getting out of hand, and it's time for us to temporarily change tactics. It has always been our intention that we should be aiming towards putting ourselves out of business by making spam cancels unnecessary. As this doesn't appear to be happening on its own, it is becoming necessary to force the issue."

So, effective April 3, the group will no longer issue spam cancels for "an indefinite period."

Those using servers outfitted with the "NoCeM" anti-spamming tool recommended by the group will probably not feel any effects of the boycott. However, news servers not using NoCeM, a message list of identified spam, will likely be hit hard, thereby slowing servers and possibly even causing complete crashes.

The group said it wants ISPs to use filters and tools such as SPIT/SPITE and spamfind.

"We need ISPs to become more proactive in ensuring that spam doesn't originate on their own systems. Too many ISPs are sluggish and rely on us to clean up their messes," said Lewis. "It's time to . . . force the hands of the ISPs. It's like trench warfare: years of moving the line back and forth a few yards and what do we have to show for it? A tremendous waste of resources and no significant progress towards ending the war."

Last year the group threatened Netcom Online Communications, CompuServe, and UUNet with "Usenet Death Penalty." The resulting changes brought about tightened control on the part of these companies against spamming subscribers.