Worldcom Inc UUNet Technologies Inc was hit by an anti-spamming campaign over the weekend and the first part of this week whereby a group led by students at Radford University in Virginia have issued a so-called death penalty against the Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) Usenet newsgroup service. The group claims the ISP has done little to stop the spams, despite numerous appeals to do so and lately between one third and a half of all spams on Usenet have come through UUNet. The group cancel the messages by the use of so-called ‘cancelbots’, which is part of the standard Usenet service used to cancel messages sent in error. The cancelbot follows the message around canceling it wherever it is found. The block canceled all messages on Usenet, not just the spams. UUNet is said to be understandably hopping mad at this blockage, which started Friday afternoon and was still going on at press time – test messages we sent out were blocked straight away. UUNet did not return calls yesterday, but we understand the group of system administrators and the company were on the verge of an agreement to avoid legal action as we went to press – although UUNet may well say that it is pursuing legal action. The company was holding a board-level meeting yesterday. The internet community is pretty split on the issue of spam, between those that support any kind of free speech, even unsolicited advertising and those that think ISPs should clamp down on such things wherever possible.
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