Written by: Alex Sandell, with quotes from numerous other folk who have had ENOUGH
Let me give it to you straight: nothing in cyberspace has disgusted me more than the MAPS RBL group, and their vigilante scare tactics. The group runs itself much as the mafia did, during its heyday. MAPS & Co. claim to be "protecting" ISPs from SPAM, but that "protection" is actually blackmail, and you're forced to pay for it, whether you want it, or not. If you don't agree with their tactics, you're not "right in the head," and they'll make sure they slander your name to the point where it becomes hard to get a job. The group lets it be known that it would be better for you to "see the light," rather than be surrounded by the cyber-darkness they'll impose on you, if you choose to "rebel."
The group swears that it's all voluntary. They swear it's all "legal." They'll do everything to convince you that their agenda is fighting SPAM, rather than stomping all over people's First Amendment rights. They'll tell you that, if you give in to their demands, they will remove the threat of a blackhole and/or an actual blackhole, "usually within minutes." These claims may make the MAPS group look like only a semi-autocracy on paper, but unfortunately, they are nothing more than empty claims coming from a bunch of techies wanting to own cyberspace. MAPS does NOT follow its own policies (would you expect any less from a true Dictatorship?), and very selectively decides what constitutes SPAM and what doesn't (IE - if you pay them enough, you're no longer a spammer, even if you keep sending out ads for Viagra).
AFTER I reluctantly agreed to MAPS' ridiculous demand, and deleted my 3,000 member, SUBSCRIBER ONLY, newsletter that took me nearly 3 years to build, I'm still being threatened by the group, and am still being told that the host of this page may be "blackholed" if he or she does not remove my site from his or her server.
If MAPS isn't out to stop people's rights to express themselves verbally, why was I told, by Paul Vixie, president of MAPS, that my truce will not be "taken seriously," until I remove all negative comments regarding MAPS from my page, and cease and desist from writing anything else that isn't to MAPS' liking? Having trouble believing someone would demand such a thing? Let me show you his exact words, taken from the email he sent me at 1:54 AM, this morning:
"it is unlikely
that anyone will believe that you want a 'truce' as long as
your anti-antispam messages, and your own personal invective against mr.
iverson and others from MAPS LLC, remain online. while such invective is not
in and of itself evidence of evildoing or even evil intent on your part, and
would not normally be cause for action (such as blackholing your web server
or mail server), this is definitely hostile material on your part, and you are
definitely perceived as hostile by my entire staff as long as you continue to
publish such invective. i recommend that you not expect your offers of
truce, or any other action or statement of yours, to be taken seriously while
you're publically (and, i might add, somewhat unprofessionally) belittling
causes and people which are merely different from your own and yourself."
"Big Brother" enough for ya?
Note that immediately prior to claiming that I'm "belittling causes" "somewhat unprofessionally," Mr. Vixie spells the word "publicly" incorrectly. For all that technological prowess, you would think the guy would have a spell-checker on hand. A capital letter here or there probably wouldn't hurt, either -- at least not in the "professionalism" department Vix seems so fond of. I also found it ironic that he appears to be offended over my "belittling causes and people which are merely different from your own and yourself," being that MAPS' page, primarily written by Mr. Vixie, is full of belittling comments against SPAMMERS, those accused of being SPAMMERS, and all of their "causes."
After writing my article on MAPS, and receiving numerous encouraging letters from Juicy Cerebellum readers, who were also sickened by MAPS totalitarian attitude, I decided to wander the Internet and see if anyone else had similar stories. Not too surprisingly, a large amount of people with ANTI-MAPS' tales to tell have been "blackholed" into oblivion. Through hours of dedicated searching, I was able to find a few hearty survivors, ready to speak out about this dictatorship, to anyone willing to listen. Pay close attention to what they have to say . . . as though your freedom is depending on it.
|Free Community Network|
I put this one first, primarily because I used their graphics and wanted to make sure they got their just due, with a link from my page. Bob Allisat writes, "what is a Blackhole? Well as you may gather it's something that nasty spam e-mail never escapes from. Too bad that also means anything else to, through or from the computers responsible for sending all that evil spam. That could mean your e-mail, your sweethearts love letter, your frigging resume or that long lost friend's long awaited reply. It all goes together down the virtual toilet to deletion and non-existance. And the best thing is you will never even know it's happening. All your e-mail just disappears." Pretty gloomy, ain't it? Remember to click the link above, to read the rest of his well-written article, and to snag some cool anti-MAPS graphics for your page!
Netside Corporation (I know, it sucks it's a corporation) has joined the battle against cyber-tyrant MAPS, and the dictator that runs the organization, Paul Vixie. Netside has done a lot of investigating, and have dug up some pretty scary (although not surprising) information on the company. In Netside's own words: "Did you think that Paul Vixie, the 'outspoken advocate for responsible Internet citizenship', rigged sendmail simply because he loves you? Hell no! The 'crusader against spam and the abuse of online communications' furthers his hidden agenda as a board member of Whitehat.com, Inc, a de-facto spam mill."
MAPS has decided going after SPAMMERS wasn't enough, and now have taken on the task of going after software manufacturers that make email programs that could conceivably be used for SPAMMING purposes. CyberCreek, one of the manufacturers of these products, was not only "blackholed" by MAPS; it was also told that any page with the "nerve" to advertise the "offending" products would also be added to the blacklist (IE - if The Juicy Cerebellum were to advertise a CyberCreek product, its ISP would be "blackholed," just for hosting the site with the advertisement, and ALL customers of said ISP would be punished for The Juicy Cerebellum advertising a product MAPS didn't approve of). Andrew Brunner, President of CyberCreek LLC had this to say: "The line has been drawn. As we buckle down for the brunt of their attack we anticipate their attack to be devastating to our sales growth. When this occurs we will be forced to respond. Our official and legal responses will be 1.) File a court injunction against the impecunious group managing various black lists and 2.) Seek enormous punitive damages to those who commit vicious acts of e-commerce terrorism via the implementation of any and all black lists and 3.) Seek minimal civil damages to all those who defame the CyberCreek image. Freedom of speech and expression is something we all celebrate, including the product designers of CyberCreek software." Make sure you click on CyberCreek's link, up above - there's a LOT more to read!
|MAPS For Disaster|
This is a very informative -- and fairly objective --- article about the MAPS RBL group, and how they are slowly taking OUR Internet hostage. The author, Alan R. Bechtold, has these choice words to say about the MAPS organization: "The MAPS people hate SPAM so much they've formed their own volunteer vigilante group dedicated to ridding the Internet of it. The result? A list, called the MAPS (SPAM backward - cute, huh?) RBL. The problem is, even though these self-appointed 'police' claim they are only blocking those 'friendly' to SPAM, they've EXPANDED that definition to include people who are 'NEUTRAL' about SPAM. In other words - even if you're anti-SPAM, if you don't bow to their demands when they make them, you're on the list. Hello, McCarthy!" His article is rather long, but it's well worth the read, if you give two shits about bringing this cyber-terrorism to a halt.
|RBL - Power Without Accountability|
This is a simple, but EXCELLENT article that actually accuses certain members of the MAPS group of SPAMMING. It also explains how MAPS RBL will manipulate people that write in to protest their actions. DO NOT MISS THIS ONE! Here is a quote I pulled from it: "RBL, and those providers who use RBL, can dress up what they do under any description or name they choose. They can claim to be making the world safe for email. They can state that they are reducing fraud. They can say that they are only doing what the public wants. BUT IT DOESN'T CHANGE THE FACT THAT THEY ARE FILTERING YOUR EMAIL, AND POSSIBLY OTHER INTERNET TRAFFIC!! And what makes it particularly egregious is that most providers who use RBL intentionally DO NOT TELL THEIR CUSTOMERS what they are doing because they know how their customers are likely to react if they knew." This statement is 100% true. Most ISPs that choose to use MAPS RBL do not let their users know, because they figure that we'd all get a little upset if we knew that we do not get to control the email that we receive, in the email-boxes that we are paying for! Talk about your "theft of services."
Yet another great article. Here's a quote: "When laws don't exist or are disagreed with, people sometimes resort to creating their own laws and enforcing them. The unfortunate thing about vigilantism is that, more often than not, innocent people get hurt and the "perpetrators" get away with it. This seems to be the case with 'junk mail'. While no one sent any 'junk mail' from the WebLizard network, our SMTP server was blacklisted in the MAPS RBL. Suddenly, our dialup clients (innocents) are unable to send out e-mail. Our other commercial clients (more innocents) are unable to send e-mail responses to their customers, our website clients (and still more innocents) can't receive information from their online forms. So WebLizard loses clients, and suffers reputational damage because we are guilty -- not of sending out 'junk mail' -- but of simply honoring our legally binding contract with our client." Starting to see a pattern here? MAPS blacklists; innocent people suffer. If this page goes down, I will suffer. If this page goes down, you -- as a reader -- will suffer. For what reason? Because some guy claims I sent him ONE newsletter that he didn't sign up for (which is impossible, being that I don't send out newsletters to people that didn't subscribe).
Here's a small portion of Internet Providers that have signed up for MAPS RBL. A quote: "RBL is a SCUD missile, not a precision weapon. Just like the SCUD, which cannot be precisely targeted, RBL 'explodes in the vicinity' of the target, destroying huge numbers of innocent bystanders--hundreds, thousands of other online users who did nothing wrong but are 'dead' anyway. The notion that someone else is making decisions about your email--no matter how nobly motivated those decisions may appear to be--should be utterly repugnant to everyone!!"
I have found dozens of other small articles in newspapers, and postings in newsgroups. Some of them contained some VERY interesting information. In one posting, Al Iverson (yes, the guy that started this whole mess with The Juicy Cerebellum) admits that when MAPS claims to control 40% of the Internet, they are just spouting off a number that sounds good. He says you could just as easily say they control 1% or 10%. He figures exact numbers don't matter. I beg to differ. MAPS is intimidating one server after another by saying they control 40% of the 'net, when, in reality, they probably have 1-5% of it. If you think of how big the 'net is, 1-5% is nothing at all.
I've also read posts from many angry (get this) ANTI-SPAMMERS who say MAPS aren't doing their job. According to these posts, the MAPS RBL group is letting certain ISP's get by with all the SPAMMING they want, simply because a member of the ISP is a friend of one of the members of MAPS, or some such thing. I have a lot more Juicy info. on MAPS, but I've been told it isn't wise to lay all your cards on the table at once.
Ladies and Gentlemen, MAPS isn't playing fair. When people in power don't play fair, they should have their toys taken away. Educate yourself, and tell as many people (not to mention every politician you can think of) as you can about MAPS, and how they operate. None of us volunteered for this cause, but it is certainly one that needs to be fought. Don't put it off! Start today!
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Go get JUICY!