Saturday, June 23, 2007

BigPond story (continued)

In yesterday's message entitled BigPond deserves a big kick in the pants [display], I didn't go into details concerning the nature of the BigPond problem that has been annoying me for so long (well over a year). Furthermore, behind the visible part of my blog, I've been using email to instigate an investigation into BigPond's behavior, with the aim of forcing this organization to abandon their French blacklisting.

First, let me point out that my use of the expression "French blacklisting" is eloquent (people understand that image) but slightly approximative. A more precise way of describing the situation in technical terms consists of saying that certain BigPond mail servers (not necessarily all of them, because some of my emails to BigPond do get delivered) have placed the names of certain French ISPs (Wanadoo/Orange and Free) on what is known as a DNS block list.

Why? If I understand correctly, BigPond calls upon an outside firm to help them combat spam... which is a noble intention. Apparently, this outside firm (maybe TrendMicro) considers that Wanadoo/Orange and Free "continue to allow spam to be generated by their customers"... that's to say, by ordinary people like me. Consequently, BigPond has taken the decision to include the names Wanadoo/Orange and Free in DNS block lists on their servers.

To use a famous image (popular in French), it's like throwing out the baby with the bath water. Since BigPond believes that lots of spammers operate from Wanadoo/Orange and Free (which may or may not be true), they've decided to punish everybody, globally, by refusing to deliver any email emanating from these two French ISPs.

This morning, I was happy to receive an email from my old schoolmate Ron Willard who reminded me of the existence of an excellent technical website [display] on the subject of DNS block lists. It includes a more powerful image than my metaphor about the baby's bath. A US army officer is quoted as saying (no doubt in a Vietnam setting): We had to destroy the village in order to save it. BigPond has decided to destroy the possibility of emails from France in order to save their Australian customers from spam.

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