thoughts on open relays

Posted by joy

In response to James at OTB’s post about those damn comment spammers using open proxies to harass bloggers, I just wanted to point out that current case law is unclear about using open proxies. In other words, it’s not illegal to use an open proxy, on the other hand, the issue hasn’t been decided upon in the courts.

Simply put, using an open proxy is like opening the door (connecting to a computer on the Net) to an unlocked (proxy service was up and running) house and then arguing that you could use the house (proxy service) because the door was unlocked (computer user didn’t disable the service).

Here’s the pertinent graph from The Register article…

So Sam, like other link spammers, uses the thousands of ‘open proxies’ on the net. These are machines which, by accident (read: clueless sysadmins) or design (read: clueless managers) are set up so that anyone, anywhere, can access another website through them. Usually intended for internal use, so a company only needs one machine facing the net, they’re actually hard to lock down completely.

So, people like Sam are using computers that they didn’t get explicit permission to use. Normal people tend to call that tresspass [to chattels].

3 Responses to “thoughts on open relays”

  1. Chris Lawrence Says:

    Normal people tend to call that tresspass [to chattels].

    Well, lawyers call it that. I’d probably call it something like theft of service; hence why I’m not a lawyer.

    BTW, I got hit by these annoying scumbags this morning too. They all joined my IP blacklist pretty quickly, however (all 110-odd open proxies they used).

  2. me Says:

    Also take a look at Ann Elisabeth’s blog, which could be descibed as a one-woman’s-crusade against blog spamming. Pretty interesting:

  3. joat Says:

    I’ve been battling the link, referrer and comment spammers for a couple years now. I’ve even tracked down two of them but since it’s not email-based spam, no one in law enforcement really cares as there’s no applicable laws. The only legal avenue we have at this point in time is an interstate civil suit and I cannot afford the lawyers for that.