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Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace
by Lawrence Lessig

Sorting YOUR Email

RBL - Power without accountability



There will be a day when folks will need to pay to transit email. (Paul Vixie, 1998)

If there is one good thing that came out of what we published in the Fall of 2000 on our pages, it's that the direct route connecting Vixie Enterprises' MAPS blackhole project through Verio NTT's network suddenly disappeared. Gone. Kaputt!

The following information was accurate and well-documented at the time of publishing.

where was the Japanese connection?

Follow the hidden trail. A paragraph extracted from the MAPS RSS FAQ at reveals:

    Isn't performing an open relay check network abuse?

    No; not in our opinion, and not in the opinion of our internet service provider. First, MAPS RSS has already received evidence of an unsolicited email advertisement from the relay; second, we clearly describe our intent in the exchange with the other machine; third, we send a message back to MAPS RSS, not to an unwilling third party. Finally, a relay test uses less than 2k of the server's space for an average of 30 seconds or less; this is less than one tenth of one percent of what the average spam run uses when it exploits open relays.

Just who is this opinionated "our internet service provider" that gave them the blessing? That would be Verio, now owned by NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp), which provides Internet connectivity and routs the sendmail blackhole checks for and (both are configured on the same ip):

    # nslookup                # nslookup
    Non-authoritative answer:              Non-authoritative answer:
    Name:                  Name:
    Address:               Address:

    # traceroute
    traceroute to ( 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
    1 ( 3 ms 2 ms 2 ms
    2 ( 5 ms 4 ms 4 ms
    3 ( 13 ms 5 ms 4 ms
    4 ( 5 ms 5 ms 23 ms
    5 ( 33 ms 93 ms 47 ms
    6 ( 44 ms 56 ms 41 ms
    7 ( 84 ms (ttl=244!) 93 ms (ttl=244!) 87 ms (ttl=244!)
    8 ( 106 ms (ttl=245!) 117 ms (ttl=245!) 95 ms (ttl=245!)
    9 ( 125 ms (ttl=246!) 164 ms (ttl=246!) 206 ms (ttl=246!)
    10 ( 227 ms (ttl=243!) * 94 ms (ttl=243!)
    11 ( 101 ms (ttl=244!) 77 ms (ttl=244!) 82 ms (ttl=244!)
    12 ( 101 ms (ttl=243!) 76 ms (ttl=243!) 81 ms (ttl=243!)
    13 ( 80 ms (ttl=242!) 108 ms (ttl=242!) 100 ms (ttl=242!)

As traced above, all traffic for the MAPS blackhole list lookup points to ip, which is controlled by Vixie Enterprises, which is connected by Verio (unnamed ip is in non-portable CIDR block NET-VRIO-207-021-00), which ISP gave the blessing and is now owned by a Japanese telco.

Verio NTT - Now connecting you to the world HERE is proof on how Verio NTT is "now connecting you to the world": by refusing email from targeted ISPs and actively using Vixie's strictest blackhole lists. Not surprisingly, as we find one of Vixie's sidekicks and RBL early adopters, Randy Bush, in charge of Verio's network. As Vixie himself stated with authority after the Japanese acquisition was announced:

    Verio has had an above-average response to spam coming from or through their network. I expect that this policy will continue to improve, and that an NTT buyout won't affect it at all. (Randy's PSG was one of the first BGP-level subscribers to the MAPS RBL.) (

The communications break with Verio NTT is absolute: we can't even complain to them about user originated spam (click HERE to view Verio spam examples). Yet Verio never complained to us about receiving spam from NetSide users! They are blocking us simply because NetSide Corporation's SMTP server [] was included on big brother's MAPS RSS list for being an "open relay". Needless to say that the spam message which got our mail server blacklisted was easily traceable to a customer of Corecomm, a Chicago-based ISP. Their nose is clean, and we got bloodied...

On the other hand, Verio has been known to engage in boiler room marketing operations of their own. In an Aug 3, 2000 press release, announced that a law suit was filed in New York federal court, alleging that "Verio compiled massive lists of new customers and deluged them with unsolicited marketing messages".

Does Verio NTT hosts spammers' web sites? You bet your sushi, Masanobu! Greedy NTT now has to recoup the cost of their $5.5 billion investment and are trolling the bottom for customers. HERE is proof that a site that promotes through spam, owned by a certain Stan Niggah, is hosted by Verio NTT. Needless to say that we can't even complain to them about the spammer, because Verio uses the MAPS blackhole lists and refuse our emails. Now which ISP would host a customer who promotes through spam and displays a credit fixing fly-by-night page like THIS? Verio NTT, the host of Vixie's, that's who... They can do it, who's going to blacklist them?

Further evidence suggests that Verio NTT has provided rogue porn operators who advertise through spam (the worst kind), unnamed static ips behind their firewall to host their sites (click HERE for details). You'll host anybody if the money is right, isn't that so Masanobu San? Even the lowest kind of porn spammers' web sites. $5.5 billion for a dotcom was a hefty investment indeed... And who's better to protect that investment from the competition than your downstream client Vixie Enterprises?

all routes lead to Metromedia

Verio connected the former M.I.B.H. (, one of Vixie's companies. In all fairness to Verio NTT, we need to mention that and are now multihomed. After all, M.I.B.H. was bought out by Metromedia Fiber Network (NASDAQ:MFNX). The second route is through (you guessed), ABOVE.NET (unnamed ip that connects to Vixie's [] is in non-portable CIDR block NETBLK-ABOVENET-6). So this must be the other ISP which gave the blessing.

what happened?

As previously mentioned, Vixie's direct peering route through Verio NTT's network just became history in the early days of January 2001. MAPS traffic now routes through PAIX, the "neutral" exchange controlled by Metromedia/Abovenet.

Perhaps Masanobu had second thoughts about ruling the Net? Nah, it was probably the Japanese Fair Trade Commission investigation, which got wind of their monopolistic practices and started breeding down their neck. Or was it the FBI? Or the Verio vs. and ICANN skirmish? Or the changing of the guard at the White House? We'll probably never know for sure...

All we know is that Vixie suddenly renamed his ips from (Men In Black Hats/Helicopters) to, which stands for "United Nations New World Order". How appropriate! The only thing missing is Kurt Waldheim as secretary general...

verio muzzles free speech advocate

If you think that's the end of Verio's involvement in the MAPS conspiracy, you're wrong. The Nippons recently struck at John Gilmore, a free speech advocate and co-founder of the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation, best known for the Blue Ribbon Campaign). You may read all about it on his web site.


Nothing that was published here should be taken as supportive toward the sending of Unsolicited Bulk Email (UBE). NetSide Corporation does not support spam or spammers in any form, and actively fights email abuse by reporting UBE to the spammer's upstream provider in each incident. We do disconnect users that send UBE from our system, and do not provide safe harbor to web sites that promote through spam. We don't complain about email filtering in principle, and believe each ISP should be free to set their own in-house email policy. We strongly warn the public that the creation of a central blackhole list controlled by some self-appointed big brother entity is vulnerable to abuse of monopoly power over world-wide electronic communications. NetSide believes this to be a good cause to fight for, and we urge everyone, including federal regulators if that's what it takes, to get involved before it's too late.

For published news and information about blackholed companies, visit the BLACKHOLED! page.


All material published on this site is for information purposes only, and should not be considered legal advice.
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