Lots of people are suggesting that the ever-increasing wave of spam may bring e-mail as utility to its knees. Others are saying that when something is threatened, it fights back.
Paul Vixie is a genuine Internet pioneer, and a (the?) DNS guru. He was behind one of the big — and somewhat controversial — projects to 'blackhole' ISPs whose equipment was used by spammers. But although those projects did block some spam — and also caused harm to innocent bystanders — they proved insufficient to stem the spam tide.
Yesterday, Vixie (on the Nanog mailing list) delivered a prophesy about where this is leading. It deserves to be taken seriously. It is not pretty. In Vixie's view, if blackholing fails, the next step is a whitelist Internet—at the service provider level.
… you'd better prepare for the inevitability of widespread filtering against your DSL/Cable blocks
DSL/Cable is a fine access product, it's better than a phone line & modem because it allows faster web surfing, movies/mp3/etc on demand, and soon VoIP. but no e-mail server anywhere can afford the risk of accepting e-mail or any other push-data from them. risk management, in this case, is going to come in the form of widespread e-mail rejection from all DSL/ Cable blocks. “talk to the hand.”
[Then, in response to an earlier poster's suggestion that the solution to spam is “better ways to identify the specific sources of the unwanted traffic, even if they change IP addresses”]
my informal survey says the bad guys are better at this stuff than we are,
and they're getting better every day, and we're not. the trend isn't good.
As a DSL user I find the idea that my email will be seen as 'high risk' to be very ominous.