Telstra moves to avert spam death penalty

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Telstra has moved to terminate several Bigpond user accounts and signaled a more aggressive anti-spam policy to avert the threat of being excluded from global newsgroup communities due to large volumes of spam being sent via BigPond news servers.

A Telstra spokesperson, Stuart Gray, said the telecommunications heavyweight was immediately terminating several accounts which appeared to have been used in breach of the carrier's acceptable use policies and warned "in the future we will take a more aggressive stance to deal with spamming".

Gray said that more aggressive stance would involve a crackdown using existing anti-spam provisions in usage agreements, while the company was also looking to develop stronger policies in the area.

The move came after a United States-based volunteer for the global distributed discussion system Usenet, David Ritz, posted a Request for Discussion (RFD) to several groups for users to consider issuing a Usenet Death Penalty (UDP) on Telstra. A UDP, if brought into effect, would see BigPond ISP users blocked from a raft of newsgroups worldwide.

Ritz' posting, made on Friday, stated: "Telstra has an abysmal history with respect to ignoring long term net-abuse issues.

"Trying to get any response from them is next to impossible.

"Even when their nntp servers are being hijacked, flooding Usenet with malicious rogue cancels and supersedes messages, let alone thousands [of] spammed posts, reports are met with deafening silence.

"This unresponsiveness is mirrored by their Bigpond subsidiary. Here, I can see their resident spammers being reassigned to different IPs, but they continue their operations unimpeded.

"All previous attempts at opening channels of communication have apparently fallen on deaf ears, including stern warnings that their failure to act against ongoing abuse issues would lead directly to this opening of formal [UDP] discussions".

Ritz said statistics indicated that over the past year, 60 percent of the articles posted to news-server.bigpond.net.au were spam.

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