[e2e] (no subject)

Ethan Blanton eblanton at cs.ohiou.edu
Thu Sep 15 07:27:07 PDT 2005

David Andersen spake unto us the following wisdom:
> If you want the situation to be better, give me a nice distributed  
> email reputation system that I can use to rate the "bozo-factor" of  
> incoming email.  That way I can stop using my often incorrect domain- 
> based heuristics, and instead look at the mail and see "ahh,  
> Crowcroft vouches for Foo who vouches for Bar who vouches for  
> dude at yahoo.com.  Guess I'll read the mail."

This is an interesting assertion, on several levels.  Mark Allman,
Vern Paxson, and I recently wrote a paper on making just such
assertions about Internet hosts:

  Mark Allman, Ethan Blanton, Vern Paxson. An Architecture for
  Developing Behavioral History.  The Workshop on Steps to Reducing
  Unwanted Traffic in the Internet, July 2005.


There are a lot of parallels to the kinds of statements you want to
make about email users, and the people you want to allow to make those
statements.  Interestingly, while the paper focuses on negative
reports (statements that a host has been observed doing something
"bad"), it seems (to me) like an email reputation system should focus
on positive reports; the judgement "terminator_sex_god at yahoo.com is a
fool" may seem too harsh, but the judgement "john.q.public at gmail.com
contributed something interesting" is pretty mild.  In fact, one might
even envision that such statements witness not the general behavior of
an address, but specific bouts of cluefulness.

The decision of whether or not to tie assertions to identity is also
interesting ... the host reputation system outlined in the paper is
based on largely anonymous reports (with the option of manually
confirming identities for the purpose of making local policies), with
the reputation of particular reporting keys being locally determined
without information as to the actual reporting entity.


The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws [that have no remedy
for evils].  They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor
determined to commit crimes.
		-- Cesare Beccaria, "On Crimes and Punishments", 1764
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