METROCAST BLOCKS RESIDENTIAL E-MAIL

Ben Scott dragonhawk at gmail.com
Tue Mar 7 17:28:01 EST 2006


On 3/7/06, aluminumsulfate at earthlink.net <aluminumsulfate at earthlink.net> wrote:
> Metrocast, last week, started filtering packets sent by their
> customers to port 25 on ALL Internet hosts.

  Yup.  More and more ISPs are doing this -- generally the larger
ones.  Get used to it.  It's not going to go away, because the problem
is ultimately stupid people, and that problem is never going to be
fixed.

> Despite Mr. Bradley's assurances that this is an effort to reduce spam
> and protect me (yeah right) ...

  It is very much an anti-spam measure.  As others have pointed out,
the *vast majority* of mail sent from consumer Internet feeds to a
destination of TCP port 25 is spam, sent by compromised computers run
by home users who install every piece of software "the Interweb tells
them to".

> ... what it really does is block legitimate e-mail.

  You happen to be in a small minority of people who are competent and
running your own mail exchanger.  You are considered "collateral
damage" in the spam war.  It sucks.  Unfortunately, life often does.

> As e-mail is an integral part of having Internet service,
> this seems like an insane and completely, well, stupid thing to do.

  This does not effect the vast majority of their customers.  Most
people just use their local ISP's SMTP relay.  The fact that you are a
rare exception does not make them stupid.

> As a result, I'm forming a working group to organize Metrocast
> customers in a boycott of this now crippled Internet service.

  I assume you have already canceled their service?

>  I'm sure Verizon would be happy to help our group switch over to DSL.

  Verizon has variously employed outbound TCP 25 blocking and/or SMTP
authentication for relay as well.

>  (3) Consult attorneys in the areas of civil liberties and contract
>      law to determine:
>
>      (A) If censoring e-mail constitutes curtailment of free speech.

  Oh, please.  Get a clue.  You'll loose this one, big time.  First of
all, the protections of free speech are generally on what the
government can do.  The First Amendment says "Congress shall make no
law...".  It doesn't say one damn thing about me or you.  A telco is
under no obligation to provide you a particular kind of technical
service.

  Second, they aren't censoring a damn thing.  You can still send all
the email you want.  You just have to send it through their SMTP
server.  This is a technical infrastructure thing, not a censorship
thing.

  Tin-foil hat people, please note that they can monitor/log/whatever
your email using a packet sniffer just as easily as using an SMTP
host, so that argument is bogus.

>      (B) If unilaterally making the change to restrict e-mail
>          constitutes violation of contract law.

  Read your ToS.  It basically says they can do anything they want,
and they're not obligated to provide any Class of Service.  If you
didn't like that, maybe you should have said something when you signed
up?

> Next thing you know, they'll be blocking port 80 and forcing us to use
> a SOCKS 5 proxy!

  Their ToS prolly already say you have to run Windoze, too.

-- Ben



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