Enemies of Junk E-mail Propose Abuse Contact

Enemies of junk e-mail have proposed a new tactic for stopping so-called
spammers.

Owen DeLong and other members of the North American Network Operators’
Group
, a forum for Internet service
providers, are trying to rally support for a plan, under which people who
register Web sites would be required to provide contact information for
handling e-mail abuse complaints.

The abuse contact information would be listed in the Internic whois
database, along with the currently published email and phone numbers for
the domain’s administrative, technical, and billing contacts.

Network Solutions Inc. maintains the whois database and would be
responsible for implementing the proposed plan. NSI officials were not
available for comment, but on an Internet mailing list a senior NSI manager
has suggested the addition of an abuse contact would be redundant.

But David O’Donnell, a member of the board of the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail, said the currently
available whois contact information is unreliable for tracking down
spammers. And O’Donnell, a former principal postmaster for America Online,
said he hopes NSI gets behind the DeLong’s proposal.

“It’s a small thing that could make a really big difference in the fight
against junk email. Right now it’s a turkey shoot. You don’t know who to
complain to, so the mail never gets acted on, and the spammers get to go on
forever.”

Separately, CAUCE is opposing newly introduced anti-spam legislation from US Senators Murkowski and Torricelli.
CAUCE says that S759, also known as the Inbox Privacy Act, is better than previous anti-spam
bills. For one thing, it would enable a domain owner to put his or her
entire domain on an junk email opt-out list, to be maintained by the
Federal Trade Commission.
However, CAUCE the bill’s current system for such a domain-wide
opt-out system would be onerous to ISPs and Internet users.

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