Evil tech execs for this month

Danny O'Brien's "To Evil" column is a monthly salute to terrible behaviour on the part of tech companies and individuals. This month's is out, and contains a good rant on a subject near to my heart: secret spam-filtering rules:

The American ISP, according to several news reports, had decided a unique filtering technique for eliminating spam: banning email coming from countries outside the USA.

Given that most spam comes from American companies, this sounds a bit like fighting stings by locking yourself in a beehive, and smearing yourself with royal jelly. But mostly, it's odd because eventually those foreigners are going to find someone they *can* communicate with. And once they snap out of that crazy bloo-bloo language they all speak, and talk proper English to a journalist, Word Will Get Out.

What's really crazy, though, is that it's not entirely clear that cutting off the world is really was what Verizon is up to. Some European e-mail gets through; others do not. Strangely-configured SMTP servers are rejected; others slipped right by.

But when the world was reporting that Verizon was dropping mail, the company kept everyone in the dark, including their customers. They didn't tell them they were filtering; they didn't tell them how they were filtering.

People had to draw their own conclusions: and what they concluded is that Verizon hates foreigners.


(Thanks, Steve!)