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Re: Proposed EU Directive on Electronic Commerce

  • To: Dave Wilson < >
    Jan-Pieter Cornet < >
  • From: "Clive D.W. Feather" < >
  • Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 09:53:58 +0000

Dave Wilson said:
> (ii) Spam is such a problem that it's fair to say that recoding and
> reinstalling MTA's will happen lightning quick, at least among those who care.


> In this context, messing with X-headers is likely an approach that will come
> back to haunt us later.
> A legally-defined "grace period" where spammers may
> use X-headers while they get their MTAs recoded has a certain appeal, but if
> we allow just X-headers, we'll be stuck with X-headers.

Ignore for the moment the question of the header name ("X-UCE", "This-is-UCE",
etc.) as that is a minor detail.

The *message*, not the envelope, needs to contain the "this is UCE" flag in
a machine-parsable manner. You cannot guarantee that the envelope will
survive from one end to the other, whereas the whole purpose of email is to
get the message from A to B.

Adding a UCE flag to the ESMTP handshake is a nice idea, and recoding MTAs
to spot the X-UCE header and set the flag is even nicer. But getting the
flag into the message headers is the vital thing.

> Again, I really think that potential spammers should be *highly encouraged* to
> use proper, "efficient" spamming tools, which comply with all applicable 
> laws,

Agreed. I don't see an incompatibility with what I've written.

Clive D.W. Feather       | Email: clive@localhost   | Tel: +44 1733 705000
Regulation Officer       | Home:  clive@localhost |  or: +44 973 377646
London Internet Exchange |                           | Fax: +44 1733 353929

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