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[anti-spam-wg] WG Focus and Charter

  • To: RIPE anti-spam WG anti-spam-wg@localhost
  • From: Brian Nisbet <brian.nisbet@localhost
  • Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2007 12:40:19 +0000

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I felt it would be best to write this as a separate mail to make
sure it is visible.

At the RIPE 55 meeting in October there was a discussion during
the WG meeting regarding the focus and charter of the WG.  Of
course the physical WG meeting is only a part of the story and
it is hoped that discussion on the topic will also take place
here on the mailing list where concensus can be reached.  The
aim that Richard and I had in mind was that we could come up with
a coherent proposal before RIPE 56, to present at the WG meeting
there and on the mailing list at the same time.

While the problem of spam is still extremely relevant the opinion
has been voiced that the wider area of abuse on the Internet should
become part of the WG's remit, and even if this does not occur the
way in which the WG operates and its interactions with other areas
of the RIPE community must be examined.  The minutes of the RIPE 55
meeting capture the three options that Richard and I presented and
the comments made by those at present.  We would greatly appreciate
if you would take the time to read the notes I've copied below and
make any comments of your own, including, of course, any other
suggests about the direction of the WG that may not mesh with the
three simple options.

If concensus can be reached on a direction then further work will
doubtless follow.

Extract from the Draft Minutes of the AS-WG, RIPE 55

F. Working Group Charter

The current charter states that the WG should advise on best practice
and look at instigating a European Response Center. The Chairs suggested
that this would be a good time to look at the various options for
updating the charter, though a final decision would be left till after
discussion on the mailing list.

Options at this point include:

    * Do nothing, maintain the status quo and stick with mainly giving
advice to ISPs around the region
    * Rewrite the charter, still with a focus on anti-spam, and look at
how the WG can better serve the RIPE community
    * Change and widen the focus of the WG. When the WG was originally
set up, spam was an obvious target, as the main problem for many ISPs.
It is now just one of many issues, and the WG might better serve the
community as an anti-abuse WG looking at a broader range of topics.
Adopting this third option would involve liaison with the rest of the
RIPE community.

The Chairs emphasised that the WG will still have a focus on spam.

Sander Steffann made a comment in favour of more broad abuse issues.
Keith Mitchell noted that the underground community related to spam and
other abuse issues is very closely related, and therefore the WG should
look at the whole. Ralf Weber agreed, and noted that viruses are usually
transported over spam.

There was a request that the WG restrict itself to e-mail services.

Malcolm Hutty pointed out that the current focus has been very narrow,
and that the output has been similarly narrow he suggested that some
sort of work product be defined to help ensure that the charter not
become too broad. Wilfried noted that the narrow mandate arose from
historical circumstances, and that it could be dangerous for the WG to
limit itself to spam. He noted that it might be worth looking at what a
slightly broader charter could mean in terms of the support this WG
could offer to other WGs, particularly in terms of picking up security
issues that are not strictly relevant to other WGs.

Keith agreed that there is a danger of losing focus, but noted that it
is important to focus on the right issues. Peter Koch agreed with
readjusting focus, and feels the WG could act as an education channel
and liaise with other groups that are less Internet-related, such as
government, regulators etc. Roland noted that it is important to focus
on what the deliverables are, particularly given that the "audience" has
changed spam is now an operation of organised crime.

Brian suggested that at the Plenary on Friday, he would let the wider
community know that there is a discussion on change of focus, and elicit
their opinion. He will also send a fuller mail to the list next week.
There was general agreement on this.



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