“You are from old europe? Then use the phone!”

US provider Verizon protects its customers from the rest of the world

Blacklists are actually only meant to support spam filters. But more and more they are being used against the advice of their operators to block out whole sections of the Internet by email. Now France, England, Germany and Russia have been hit – completely.

Spamcop is an abomination to me personally for a long time. Although the operator itself explicitly discouraged using the blacklist for anything other than tagging mails as possible spam so that they can be pre-filtered, admins regularly disregard this advice. Whoever sends mail from a server that has landed on Spamcop – or another blacklist – will have his mail deleted without comment or sent back with false error messages instead.

The basic idea of the ignorant admins: The "false errors" to confuse the spammer. Only: The spammer doesn’t read error messages, he sends his mail with falsified sender addresses anyway and lets bounces hit other, uninvolved people. But the real mail sender, the person at the computer, will be confused, when he hears about "550 – amueller left the company". If he then calls to inquire about the reason for the sudden expulsion of Mr. Muller, he will not find it funny at all.

A mail server quickly ends up on Spamcop if there is a leak somewhere in a large company, e.g. if a spam Trojan has taken root on just one of the 5000 PCs of a South German company and is not detected in time. Already the other 4999 employees of blacklisted companies can’t send any mails anymore. No private webmail account can help – the blacklisted intranet remains disconnected.

Mail as one-way communication

Communication reduced to a one-way trab is quite frustrating: You receive a mail from the USA, you answer, you get a message like "554 – your mail is not wanted – you are on Spamcop.net" and a few hours another mail from the USA, where the answer was, it was urgent. The only thing that helps is to stay in the office for a long time in the evening and make phone calls or to call from home at my own expense. Only the US spam continues to arrive undisturbed.

Korea and China are known to be particularly spamintensive, which is why these IP ranges are automatically sorted out completely by many mail servers. Most mail users do not notice this – mail traffic with Korea and China is rare. In Germany, some people who don’t know English simply sort out all English-language mails – this way, they have eliminated 99 percent of the spam, because for some reason, the US spammers are convinced that addresses with ".de" end up being a particularly worthwhile target for "US Tax Reduction" or "lower US mortgage" are. However, a mail server was not set like this.

The Yanks on the other hand know no inhibitions here. Verizon, in particular, filters the Internet for its customers so massively that the Arab countries or China could become jealous. Years ago Germany was blocked for WWW-access and a New Yorker, who liked to log into a German graphical chat system via mini-notebook with wireless PCMCIA-card and wireless flatrate while waiting in pubs, and who was not able to do so from one day to the next, was told by Verizon that she should not chat on a German server with the wireless flatrate, because it is not necessary anymore.

"You don’t have to chat on the Internet with our access!"

It was clear that the young lady then thought that her contract with Verizon was no longer necessary and went to AT T, because she didn’t want her provider to explain to her why she had bought and needed to use her mini-notebook and wireless card. No problem in New York. But in many rural areas where Verizon offers Internet via cable, for example, there is no alternative.

Since 22. December of last year, Verizon is once again showing its customers what a rake it is: Now mail from England, Germany, France and Russia is being rejected – allegedly because the French and Germans were sending so much German and French junk mail to Verizon customers. And in order to keep the interrupted transcontinental contacts reliably interrupted, this filtering was initially denied to inquiring paying customers.

In the meantime Verizon spokesman Ells Edwards admits the mail blockade. How long it will last, however, is not disclosed. And if you are really waiting for important news from Europe, you should get up a few hours earlier and make a call. At least this is not switched off. Not yet.

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