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(All U.S. law-based thoughts)
Blacklisting is not extortion unless the state decides that a monetary
fine constitutes criminal behavior under existing statues or a new law
is passed against it. There may be some constitutional basis for
criminality if the blacklist names sites run by members of a "protected
class," but that's probably stretching it.
The better question is whether the blacklister has civil liability to
anyone in the email chain: mail user, mail server, intermediate carrier,
mail recipient, or blaclistee, such that they could successfully win a
lawsuit against the blacklister and collect damages against them. So
far, that's a "no." To date, the legal consensus is that no mail server
is forced to use a blacklist. It's a voluntary action by those who run
mail hosts, and while they _may_ have a duty to their mail users to
provide reliable service, they have no duty to folks listed on the
blacklist. The blacklist, by its existence alone, causes no harm.
I suppose a libel theory might be grounds for a lawsuit by someone named
on a blacklist. If the blacklister explicitly states that an IP is
blocked because they are guilty of some heinous behavior, the
responsible party could conceivably sue to have the IP removed if the
statement is not true. The cost, of course, is far more than the
"fine," so that's not really useful in practice.
Most blacklisters are reputable and provide a useful service. If push
came to shove in the court of public opinion, folks like SPAMHAUS, whom
I use to screen incoming SMTP connections, would be perceived to be on
the side of the angels (hopefully as would those participating in the
TOR network). Those blacklisters who are not as conscientious as
SPAMHAUS will hopefully fall by the wayside because mail hosts will not
(these thoughts are worth exactly what you are paying for them)
Geoffrey Goodell wrote:
Is this not extortion?
On Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 12:54:27PM +0300, maillist wrote:
The 'fine' is US $50.00 and is designed to be small enough to so that the
home user will think twice about getting listed a second time, and small
enough to be a 'right royal pain in the butt' to any large company. The idea
being, that whether you are a multi-national company or a single home user,
you will think twice about getting relisted for any reason.