Feeds

ICANN refuses to pull Spamhaus domain

Fears over loss of junk mail blacklist recede

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Internet governance organisation ICANN has said it does not have the authority to suspend the website of The Spamhaus Project.

An Illinois court last week proposed pulling Spamhaus.org in response to a lawsuit brought against the anti-spam organisation by an company it accuses of spamming.

The threat of domain loss came after the anti-spam organisation refused to comply with a September ruling by a US court requiring it to pay $11.7m in compensation to e360 Insight, pull the organisation's listing, and post a notice stating that it was wrong to say e360 Insight was involved in sending junk mail.

In the proposed court order, published last week, Judge Charles Kocoras of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois calls on either ICANN or Tucows, the Spamhaus.org registrar, to pull or suspend the domain in response to Spamhaus's non-compliance with the court's original ruling.

Spamhaus chief executive Steve Linford said that suspension of its domain could create an "enormous amount of damage on the internet".

ICANN's stance of declining authority on the affair passes the onus onto Tucows, the Spamhaus.org registrar. Since Tucows is based in Canada, and not the US, it's in a much better position to decline to apply the court's request. So the threat of the loss of Spamhaus's domain appears to have receded, at least for now.

UK-based Spamhaus Project declined to defend itself in the case, arguing that the US courts lack jurisdiction. The voluntary organisation ignored the Illinois court on principle amid concern that fielding a defence might open it up to a barrage of nuisance lawsuits by spammers.

The loss of the Spamhaus domain would, at minimum, reduce the effectiveness of its services. Spamhaus maintains a blacklist of IP addresses used by spammers that's widely used by ISPs and organisations as a "first-level defence" in weeding out junk mail traffic. According to Spamhaus, its list help block 50bn spams per day.

Suspending its services could potentially result in a huge increase of unwanted junk hitting mail server queues all over the world. ISPs and end-users commonly use other spam-filtering techniques independent of Spamhaus so all these extra spam messages would not necessarily hit users inboxes. Removal of Spamhaus's services would still, however, put an additional unwarranted burden on computing infrastructures.

In technical terms, Spamhaus could move onto a separate domain not under US control, but such an action might leave it at risk of being held in criminal contempt by US judges. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.