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Censorship Spam The Internet

Endangered Countries On The Internet 475

Vande writes "Balkanalysis.com has an article about Macedonia being driven towards internet extinction as a result of some blacklists, which also include Bulgaria and Romania. Namely, this poorly written quote from the 'export bureau' (non-gov org) states the reason for being blacklisted: 'Pay close attention to shipping or contact addresses located in countries with a high reported incidence of online fraud and many e-commerce web sites have found a high incidents of on-line fraud as well, such as Africa, Nigeria, Macedonia, Colombia, etc..' They must have lost the stats on fraud from Russia, Israel and the USA itself, because Macedonia's negligible internet population cannot possibly account for that much trouble. Cutting off an entire country only hurts the legitimate users. And I thought all this time I was surfing the 'World Wide' Web :/"
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Endangered Countries On The Internet

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  • the net... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by infonick ( 679715 ) * on Sunday July 04, 2004 @03:34AM (#9604519) Homepage
    was, after all, designed based on the idea that all people are good. when a few people turn up bad apples, people want to punish them. usually this ends up with innocent people getting hit with the punishment, and the bad apples usually can find a work around for pennies.
  • by r00zky ( 622648 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @03:42AM (#9604538)
    For these who cant RTFA: Of course, not only "Wild East" countries like Russia and Israel exceed little Macedonia in terms of online criminal output. It would be utter hypocrisy to ignore the vast internet fraud industry in the United States itself.

    In conclusion, if you must blacklist a country, you should start for these 3.
  • by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @03:50AM (#9604548)
    use a proxy located somewhere else

    Brilliant. That's mentioned in the article, of course. But what the outcome is that any fraudsters can continue (though no evidence was offered of such), but the average home user will be stymied.

  • by Xetrov ( 267777 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @03:50AM (#9604550)
    Maybe it's time for an update? -
    WWWW - Western World Wide Web

    We could descriminate even further and make that:

    WWWWW - White Western World Wide Web
  • by leereyno ( 32197 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @03:55AM (#9604565) Homepage Journal
    The problem isn't so much that there is a lot of fraud coming from these countries, but that the governments there do nothing to stop it. Rewarding a nation and a people who don't even have the wherewithal to police themselves is not the way to solve the problem. You solve the problem by making this lack of responsibility painful for them. If someone is being a screw up, you get behind them and kick them in the ass until they get their shit together. Refusing to do that because you're afraid someone might think you are being unfair doesn't do anyone any good.

    Whether it be a nigerian 419 scam, or a scam escrow service, these kinds of operations exist because law enforcement in these places is on the take. It isn't just the scammers that are screwing you, its the police as well because they're getting a cut of the loot.

  • by PHPgawd ( 744675 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @03:57AM (#9604573)
    As an e-commerce player here on the Internet I'm ready to blacklist countries that do not adquately go after criminals, pure and simple.

    Sure, the USA might account for a lot of fraud because of the sheer Internet population here, but at least criminals here have at least some fear of getting prosecuted and thrown in jail. If a country doesn't enforce the law (or there isn't one there to enforce), then the entire country might as well be waging war on my servers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2004 @04:02AM (#9604582)
    There is a much easier work around:
    -> Get a workable leagal system and enforce laws

    Works for:
    New Zealand
    USA ...

    hmmm...lots of former British colonies there...
  • A bit one-sided (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crucini ( 98210 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @04:05AM (#9604592)
    Both the article and the writeup wonder how "tiny macedonia" could be a big enough problem to blacklist. Surely Russia and Israel have more scams?

    What they're missing is that it's probably the ratio of fraudulent order volume to total order volume. It seems that the blacklisters are accusing Macedonia of too high a ratio of fraud.

    These complainers are failing to see the merchant's viewpoint. Fraud can really bite into profits. If I were starting an e-commerce business, I wouldn't ship to any questionable countries. Sorry to hurt anyone's feelings, but it doesn't make business sense.

    Sound like Macedonia needs to start catching and prosecuting the fraudsters, then publicize this fact to the e-commerce merchants.
  • by csirac ( 574795 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @04:14AM (#9604619)
    I don't see why it's Slashdot's job to be free advertising for this guy's personal opinion

    Whilst written from a personal perspective, the article raises valid issues. Some anti-spam RBLs just blacklist entire countries like Korea and China. See this here [whirlycott.com] for more about that.

    The difference is now it isn't just affecting email, but other parts of the web as well. It doesn't make living in one of these countries any easier, does it. If this article is to be believed, it seems that many admins have been quick to blacklist eg. macedonia perhaps because they are small and "not worth the risk" rather than actually being a source of trouble.

    So, we're now excluding minorities on the so-called World-Wide-Web. Sure, it's an opiniated observation, but an observation that I'm glad to have encountered. I'm glad this article ran, I got something out of it. I'm sorry you didn't. At any rate, this article is a hell of a lot more "insightful" than the Linux Users Are Spoiled [slashdot.org] drivel I had to endure recently.
  • by geoswan ( 316494 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @04:18AM (#9604632) Journal
    No, they don't call it the 3rd world for nothing. Originally, the term 3rd world was introduced to acknowledge that there were nations in the worlds beyond the west... basically Western Europe, the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and NZ. And the west was at odds with the Soviet Bloc and Red China. The term "3rd world" referred to all the other nations that weren't part of the West or the Soviet Bloc.

    So Macedonia, Romania and Bulgaria would be part of the 2nd world, to the extent these terms retain any of their original meaning.

  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @04:23AM (#9604647)
    As things stand with certain massive netblocks that have sent me nothing but spam, viruses, phishing attempts, and 419 scams for several years, I am willing to risk losing one or two legitimate contacts in favor of eliminating thousands upon thousands of undesirable contacts.

    And obviously, since you personally have only received unsolicited email from Nigeria, where you presumably have few social contacts, thousands upon thousands of them must be spammers/scammers and only one or two "legitimate contacts."

    By that logic nearly every country in the world would be blocked by nearly every other country.

    It would seem more reasonable to assume that, given the nature of spam, a few bad apples are spoiling it for thousands upon thousands of "legitimate contacts."

    Yes, it would be nice if the respective governments would/could do something about it. Perhaps "we" should set them a shining example of how to go about it properly, for a change, before we bitch overmuch.

  • by podo ( 648928 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @04:28AM (#9604653) Journal
    I feel I should point out that blacklisting an entire country is probably not as good an idea as it sounds, as it may just inadvertently set a dangerous precedent.

    Before starting my current job, I did some systems admiistration work for small ISPs here in South Africa. At one point last year, after long deliberations and searching for any other solutions we could find, we finally decided to blacklist seven U.S. ISPs, because of the never ending tidal wave of spam and worm attacks that originated from these. It worked.

    Following from this, I have often wondered about the possible effect of completely disconnecting the United States from the rest of the internet.

    Just think for a moment my fellow non-Americans, no more "legal" spam, no more pop-up adds that come from nowhere, because a hapless user clicked "Yes" somewhere, no more propaganda web sites telling us how wonderful they are and how bad we are, no more "you will use DRM because our laws say so, even though they are not your laws" attitude, no more open source projects being distributed with half the functionality removed, because it might infringe on some insignificant U.S. software patent, and someone from the States might download it, putting the author in violation of the patent, no more Carnivore servers reading every word I type as I compose this post, because I just might be saying something that could "endanger the interests or national security of the United States", ah, bliss...

    Since the introduction of the CAN-SPAM Act, spam, even non-compliant spam, has been increasing. American businesses seem to interpret the Act as a free license to spam everyone with impunity. Oh sure, the very large spammers eventually get shut down by multi-million dollar law suits filed under the Act by the very large American ISPs, but that really doesn't help the rest of the world, does it?

    We've all read the statistics about how China is such a large source of spam, but what the statistics fail to tell you is that this spam originates from Chinese companies, being payed by American spammers to do their dirty work. If spam from China could not reach the United States, because the United States isn't there in internet terms, there would be no point for the spammers to continue hiring the Chinese to do this for them, and spam from China would probably decline.

    I'm sorry if this hurts the feelings of all the American readers, but I feel I must point out that the rest of the Western world is getting very tired of your incessant moaning and paranoia.

    Inter-without-America-Net anyone? If they can justify doing this, so can we. ISPs of the world, blacklist with impunity!

    I realise that this post will probably get me flamed or even moderated into oblivion, but I think it does serve to illustrate an important point, of which even the United States should take heed.

    If the U.S. can justify blacklisting an entire country because of a minute security threat, do we, the rest of the world, not have more than sufficient justification to blacklist the entire United States?

    This is a dangerous door for the U.S. to open, and it swings both ways. Yes, blacklisting the entire U.S. does seem to be impractical, as we would probably loose most of the internet, but to be brutally honest, the only American web site I would miss is Slashdot.
  • by csirac ( 574795 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @04:32AM (#9604666)
    Thus blacklisting Macedonia is a much more efficient solution

    Of course, let's exclude the minorities because it's easier! Blocking entire country's netblocks (China, Korea, etc) from email is one thing. Online store policies preventing shipment to Macedonia is one thing.

    But to purposely block ALL 'net traffic from countries "not worthy" is just retarded - it provides no benefit to ANYONE, except for the blocker to say a big "FUCK YOU!!!" to those who want to browse the internet just like everyone else but happen to live in a country who's time is "not worth it"!

    Geez, as if blocking a whole country from even viewing your site actually helps anyone!

    I dunno - perhaps the owners of that mental health site were worried their precious web pages would become dirtied by TCP/IP packets from Macedonians?
  • by dago ( 25724 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @04:40AM (#9604698)
    Little correction : Macedonia was part of Yougoslavia, which founded the Non-Aligne Movement [wikipedia.org], and this puts them directly into the "3rd world" (cold-war meaning).

  • by achurch ( 201270 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @04:40AM (#9604699) Homepage

    The Internet still runs on protocols designed 20-30 years ago that rested on the assumption that everyone using the network could be trusted. As long as we stick with that assumption, we're going to have blacklists, spoofing, what-have-you. The trick is to not rely on the Internet for anything important.

  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @04:42AM (#9604706)
    The poster is rather plainly a Macedonian who is annoyed at having trouble with web sites. . .

    Plainly. Any number of Slashdot stories have been based on similar complaints. Do they only count if it's an American doing the bitching?

    . . .it's the USA's fault, Israel's fault, Russia's fault. . .

    He said nothing of the kind. He pointed out a certain hypocrisy in the blacklisting.

    I don't see why it's Slashdot's job to be free advertising for this guy's personal opinion. . .

    I rather thought that was one of its overt functions where the opinion might be relevant to the tech/computer/internet world.

    . . .especially given the limited news value of a pure opinion post.

    I disagree that it is pure opinion or of limited news value, but then I don't take a purely "western" point of view either.

    C'mon, really, slashdot is a news site, not "opinionated rant of the week", for that I read the comments, not the articles.

    And now you have mine.

  • Re:Foreign ISPs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zakezuke ( 229119 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @04:44AM (#9604713)
    Right, as if using the internet wasn't expensive enough already, you're going to be dialing international to a hypothetical ISP that has no qualms about selling accounts to foreign countries? The other issue is payment - Mastercard?

    There is the other issue too. If it's so easy for people in these countries to get accountes elsewhere like the parent sugests... then it would be as easy for the non-legit users to get them as well.

    This is why black listing whole countries doesn't work... you can always dialup to AOL in some other country.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2004 @04:54AM (#9604740)
    It's the good/bad per country ratio that counts, not absolute numbers. If there is very little to be gained from doing business with good Macedonians, then there's no point in dealing with the fraudsters from that country.
  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @05:01AM (#9604759)
    Let me say on the out-set: I am not impressed. Since when has Africa been a country? This is what I find wrong in the "Western" Press. When ever something about a country in Africa is being discussed, The word "Africa" is used instead of the country. Africa is a continent with more than 50 countries, each with different peoples. I will give an example of Uganda which with is 24 million people, has more than 40 tribes. Each of these tribes is different in itself. I sympathize with those that fall into the topic's fraud.
    As an African living in Canada, I hear Africa being lumped as a single entity when referring to a country in this vast place! Africa is unique in that it has climates ranging from temperate to tropical to semi-arid. Back to the point: I agree that this piece has been very very poorly written! But it's worth the read.
  • Re:Foreign ISPs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @05:04AM (#9604767)
    Considering the marginal amount of purchases from the countries in question I would say that it is nothing to shout about. Move along.

    Unless you happen to live in one of these marginal countries, as the author of the original article does.

  • by Spy Hunter ( 317220 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @05:11AM (#9604779) Journal
    You are missing the point of a blacklist. Sure, blacklists can help slow undesired activity such as spam and fraud, but a lot still gets through, and nobody is debating that. The _real_ point of a blacklist is to _motivate_ people to fix the problems at the source. If Macedonia really was cut off from the Internet due to fraud, they wouldn't just sit there. They would start a crackdown on fraud so that they could get their Internet back. Sure, there's collateral damage. But what about all the people who would have been defrauded? Surely they should be counted as damage prevented. What about the increased security of the Internet as a whole, leading to higher worldwide trust of Internet businesses and Internet growth? I believe these things are much larger than the collateral damage.
  • by The One and Only ( 691315 ) <[ten.hclewlihp] [ta] [lihp]> on Sunday July 04, 2004 @05:33AM (#9604831) Homepage
    It's a common shortcut for Westerners to talk about Africa instead of the separate unique countries. I'm not going to excuse it, but it's far from inexplicable. While Africa is certainly filled with many diverse and interesting countries and peoples, Westerners for the most part don't normally deal with single African countries because it's not usual for a single African country to come to our attention prominently.

    When they do, though, we do take notice. South Africa has a national identity to us thanks to the controversy over apartheid, Nigeria has a national identity to us thanks to the Nigerian scam (which is unfortunate, and according to a Nigerian lady I once spoke to is very bad for the country's reputation), and, in a more limited sense, Zimbabwe has a national identity to us thanks to Mugabe and the various controversies there. Rwanda and Sudan have come to Western attention due to genocides there. Egypt, Libya, and Morocco similarly have national identities to Westerners for similar reasons.
  • by fatmanone ( 772940 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @05:34AM (#9604833) Homepage
    I live in Romania and I am well aware of the aspects of fraud and all, but that is NOT the main business on the net here; we also are trying to develop the infrastructure in order to provide the necessary cultural links between the individuals and the rest of the world. We fight our way through with the old rugged "securitate"(read gestapo) service in order to provide some privacy for the user.
    You have no idea how difficult is to persuade a hacker to stop; in some cases we had to meet him in person and kick his ass.
    And now this. There are some reasons why the fraud is taking place through and in Romania; one is the goverment because they don't have the necessary expertise to deal with the issue; second is the general state of poverty (generated by the corrupt goverment as well).
    Of course you might say, it's your govt, deal with it, in the mean while you are blacklisted; but think about it: the net is the only viable way we can use to keep the people informed, to communicate to each other and all; and cutting us off will NOT lead to a fix, but to an even darker period for the people(read lemmings)
    We thought that the WWW did something good here : it helped people learn about freedom and decent living; and now, what's gonna happend? China style WWW? It tastes bad already;
    Back to 1947?
  • by CdBee ( 742846 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @05:36AM (#9604837)
    We're now arriving at a point where virus-infected users are booted off networks and told to clean their shit up, it's a logical extension that countries which can't police themselves suffer the same fate.

    Like the virused home-user PC, its a matter of local responsibility, having better safeguards means the Web community won't ever need to act against you. I hope Macedonia actually takes action to regain the trust of the world rather than just looking for ways to get around the blacklists and relays through foreign proxies.
  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @05:38AM (#9604844) Homepage
    If these countries want to get a positive reputation then they should place more real orders so that the clean orders outweight the fraudulent ones.

    And how do they do that, if the entire country is blocked?


  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2004 @06:31AM (#9604925)
    Africa is not a country. It is a continent.

    The same is true of America, but how many USians here are aware of that?
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @06:53AM (#9604951)
    Than you must support the freedom to blacklist. Remember we are NOT talking about the government doing it, that is different. We are talking about corperations, private bussinesses, and individuals doing it. If I am truly free I must be free to decide who I wish to associate with. Much as I am allowed to keeep people out of my house, or kick them out of my store, I must be allowed to block them from my server.

    People doing something is very different from a government doing something. If the government stops something form being published, that is censorship. However if I stop something from going on my website, that is free speech. It would be against that ideal to force me to publish something on my site.

    There are also objective realities to be considered when running a bussiness. If a given country has a very high occurance of fraud, which costs you money, you don't have much choice other than to not deal with them. Fraud is a fact of life, but in most countires the occurance is low because the authorities prosecute it. In countires that ignore it, it's very problematic. If it is to the point that the amount of money you make from legit sales is less than what you loose to fraud, you cannot justify doing bussiness.

    This is, for example, why so very many places will not do COD. COD these days isn't cash on delievery but check on delivery. So someone buys something, you send it to them, and when they recieve it, you get a personal check. Well if that bounces, you are screwed. Fraudsters know this, and exploit this. Hence, COD is a blacklisted method of purchase for most merchants, eBay sellers, etc. The additonal money you make from legit COD sales is less than what you loose from fradulant ones.

    The Internet is still, at this point, a real anarchy in that anyone can join and there is no overall authority. That means that people can, and will, make their own rules. That is real freedom. It is NOT freedom to tell people "YOu will not ban any IP address/range, regardless of what it does." That is being authoritarian, just as much as mandidating a ban would be.
  • Except for... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Barnett ( 550375 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @07:02AM (#9604963) Homepage
    I do get really tired of people from other countries blaming any view or action taken by a US citizen on the United States as a whole.
    CAN-SPAM? DRM? Software patents? Encryption?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2004 @07:15AM (#9604983)
    Domestically. Once the online market in a country outgrows the fraud problem, international shops will (slowly) notice the opportunity and reestablish business connections.
  • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @07:23AM (#9605005) Homepage Journal
    When a governments turns a blind eye to massive online credit card fraud, blacklisting is the best answer. Rather than bitching to the people who use blacklists, those affected should complain to their governments about the lax law enforcement that caused the situation. Merchants need to be able to complain to the Macedonian authorities about credit card fraud and have reasonable expectations that investigations and legal action will take place. Until/unless that happens, don't expect merchants to ship their goods off when collecting payment is a crap-shoot.

    If your neighborhood is filled with thugs, muggers, murderers, and thieves, don't whine to Dominoes when they won't deliver a pizza there. Clean up the neighborhood and then you can have your pizza.
  • Re:Anarchy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @07:59AM (#9605101)
    Free speech means you can say anything you want. However, it doesn't mean I have to listen to it!
  • by Oligonicella ( 659917 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @08:20AM (#9605166)
    Apparently *you* didn't place an order with *him*.

    And? He should deal with those 100% fraudsters that have tried to bilk him just because you (who don't order from him anyway) live near them?

  • by geminidomino ( 614729 ) * on Sunday July 04, 2004 @08:20AM (#9605170) Journal
    An individual internet user can't really do much, especially if the country is corrupt. And they certainly can't stop hackers from the outside world breaking into servers in that country.

    Then why the hell should we give them access to our servers?! If the government is corrupt and the criminal element runs rampant, then you block them to protect yourself. It isn't "collective punishment" or any such bullshit. When >50% of transactions from a given country are fraud, it's decision time. When that number raises into the 80-90% and up range, its kind of obvious that its time to stop pissing away your own money for some unrealistic ideal and some criminal's bankbook.
  • Re:Foreign ISPs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by picklepuss ( 749206 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @08:38AM (#9605216) Homepage
    I see this falling in line with the whole guns down kill people... people kill people argument.

    Or more closely... If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.

    It's the same thing. If you blacklist IPs, then only blacklisted spammers will get IPs.
  • by FatSean ( 18753 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @09:48AM (#9605463) Homepage Journal
    If your friends' countrymen are giving his country a bad name on the internet, the gov't should do something about it. You can't blame other entities for not wanting to do business with a locality when a large percentage of it's produce is fraud.
  • by Magnus Pym ( 237274 ) * on Sunday July 04, 2004 @09:52AM (#9605478)
    Just curious...

    How did you verify that the fradulent orders from the UK were made by Indians?

    Presumably, you are running an online store and you don't actually see your customers directly. So you have to make a mapping between some info they provide and their race.

    What is that mapping? Name to Race? If so, how did you verify that the name provided is genuine?

    I am not necessarily doubting you, I just want to know. I have been in England, and I have a few British friends. The level of contempt that they have for anybody from India/Pakistan/Bangladesh (whom they refer to as Pakis) is staggering. Just curious to see if that is based on anything other than old-fashioned racism.

  • by JRHelgeson ( 576325 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @10:06AM (#9605522) Homepage Journal
    If the country of Elbonia has 100 IP addresses, and 90 of them have been linked back to committing fraud and therefore blacklisted, then effecitvely their country has been knocked off the net.

    If Russia has 1 million IP addresses, and 9,000 or even 90,000 have been traced back to fraud and therefore blacklisted - the majority of the country is still able to access the internet even though the rates of fraud exceed Elbonia's by 100x to 1000x...

    This rate is irrellevant as the country of Elbonia needs to look at fraud as a percentage of users in their country, then introduce efforts to reduce that percentage. This effect of whining because your country is being kicked off the net is pointless.

    Macedonia, Ghana, Nigeria, et al: Clean your house, pass some laws, and we'll let you participate in the world economy again. Its as simple as that.
  • by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @10:29AM (#9605597)
    There is a big difference between refusing credit cards and cutting a country off the Internet.

    The article was not just about refusing orders, but preventing people in some countries from even viewing websites, and not just sites selling stuff. So it IS about cutting a country off the Internet.

  • by bluethundr ( 562578 ) * on Sunday July 04, 2004 @10:48AM (#9605692) Homepage Journal
    'Pay close attention to shipping or contact addresses located in countries with a high reported incidence of online fraud and many e-commerce web sites have found a high incidents of on-line fraud as well, such as Africa...'

    News to me. I always thought of Africa as more a continent with a rich and diverse assortment of tapestries of culture. With great cultural variances within groups of cultures and subgroups within those groups and so on...

    This is pretty much the same for all indigenous peoples from all continents across the globe. The only reason we can think of the United States as having a sort of unified culture is because at critical junctures of forming our own identity as a people we had devised means of communication [telegraph-history.org] and transportation [si.edu] This is the reason that whether you go to Ann Arbor Michigan, Toms River NJ, Seattle, Southern California, Denver, (you name it) a suburb is a suburb is a suburb. All this had been done after we had already colonized this continent, which until then previously had previously as diverse a population of greatly differing cultures as any indigenous area of the globe.

    I remember going to Lollapolooza [lollapalooza.com] (lots o' poor losers) back in 93. Someone had a table setup with a sign above it reading "African Food"....'Hmm..wonder what that tastes like'. So, I wander over there and ask her what kind of 'African' food they meant. It was loud so she kind of shouted back at me...'IT'S...AFRICAN...FOOOD!'...(as if I couldn't read the big bold letters above her). 'Ah! I see! What KIND of African?'...'Nigerian'...'What kind of Nigerian? Yoruba [si.edu] or Ibo?' Which I later found out is more popularly known as Igbo [qub.ac.uk]. But you could have properly referred to the plate in front of me as either.

    This question really kind of floored her. And it shouldn't have. It really kind of annoys me when greatly divergent groups of people get lumped together like that. Just as it pisses me the fuck off when people speak of all Native Americans as if they were just "Indians" (as if there were quite literally no difference between a Lakota, a Navajo, a Lenape, a Choctaw, Oglala, Onendaga and and what have you)...it really pisses me off when people start speaking of Africa as if it were a "country". It's NOT!
  • by geoswan ( 316494 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @10:53AM (#9605719) Journal
    From wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

    ...The term gained widespread popularity during the Cold War when many poorer nations adopted the category to describe themselves as neither being aligned with NATO or the USSR, but instead composing a non-aligned "third world" (in this context, the term "First World" was generally understood to mean the United States and its allies in the Cold War, which would have made the Communist bloc the "Second World" by default; however, the latter term was very seldom actually used).

    Dago is correct, as part of the former Yugoslavia , Macedonia was not part of the Soviet Bloc. My main point was that, with the disappearance of the Soviet Bloc the term "third world" should be deprecated.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2004 @11:05AM (#9605791)
    Cutting off an entire country only hurts the legitimate users.

    Many countries still don't think hacking is a crime. Many law enforcers consider online fraud is not part of their juridiction. As a result, computer crimes become a regular part of the internet in this countries. So, you can't really blame people for not wanting to do business with people from those regions. If you get robbed 9 times out of 10 when you go to a town to sell your products, you'll learn to avoid that town after several incidents. Until the town passes laws and enforces them, salespeople will avoid it like a plague.

    It shouldn't be much different here. The countries need laws to deal with computer crimes and enforce them. It is in their interests to do so. Computer crimes may be a start of a longer string of much more serious crimes. They may give them a bad name in the business world and prevent people from investing. They also prevent them from using the good things of the net.

    You are right. Cutting off an entire country only hurts the legitimate users, but it is not the fault of the e-commerce companies. Do you seriously think that cutting off the entire population good for profit unless there is a good reason to do so? Blame the governments of those countries for failing to protect them after all these years. A decade should be enough to make laws, no?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2004 @11:16AM (#9605889)
    If Macedonians don't like it, they need to change their government and crack down on fraud. Pretty simple stuff.

    Yeah, that's the thinking of many slashdotters. Very simple. How about you change your government and reverse everything bad they've done? It sure is making a lot of trouble overseas and you're lucky, you have the chance to change it in November and make the world a safer place again. Unlike many other people in other countries who get locked out from needed information/communication by narrow-minded people like you. You know, life isn't always as simple as you think it is. (I'm just assuming you're American. Forgive me if you're not, although that makes this particular comment not any less stupid and shouldn't (What an irony!) make me think you're American, but unfortunately it does.)

    Can't believe how people still think this way. The same people who haven't realized that RBL's are bad and make more damage than good. Blocking legitimate mail, because they "should change their email provider" is not always possible. Getting on your high horse doesn't help the legitimate users one bit.


    (Oh well, I leave my Karma Bonus and Subscriber bonus.... not worth it.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 04, 2004 @11:25AM (#9605965)

    I reckon its because they are displaced from their home country and don't feel any need to be honest.

    How do you figure that? Does it apply to Americans in Iraq?

  • by jvkjvk ( 102057 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @11:34AM (#9606035)
    That means that when a merchant receives payment, he is SURE that he has received REAL VALUE and not something that can be revoked.

    And that is why I an leery or the E-Gold payment system for anything other that services already received, or goods already received.

    In fact, E-Gold has on it's own website a "Fraud Alert" Step 8 of which is:
    The victim makes the e-gold spend and never hears from the escrow service again.

    It seems like a system that you can only utilize with people and businesses you already trust implicitly, since there is no recourse if you give your money to someone.
  • by lorcha ( 464930 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @11:44AM (#9606113)
    If you ran an online store and 0.1% of your business came from Eastern Europe and 90% of the business was fraud, you'd block too. Even if more fraud comes from the US, a US retailer can't very well block the US since that is the source of 99% of his business.

    This is business, my friend, not some socialist expirement.

  • Re:What the hell? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by leviramsey ( 248057 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @11:45AM (#9606122) Journal

    If I have the expectation that you will not pay, why should I even consider doing business with you?

  • by mckyj57 ( 116386 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @12:01PM (#9606246)
    >> use a proxy located somewhere else

    > Brilliant. That's mentioned in the article, of course. But what the
    > outcome is that any fraudsters can continue (though no evidence was
    > offered of such), but the average home user will be stymied.

    I blacklist only Romania on my servers. It has cut down the number of probes
    by a good percentage.

    Sure, they can use a proxy and a hacked system elsewhere. But the last
    three rooted boxes I have seen have had log entries that show them
    download their cracking tools from Romanian sites. Complaints about these
    cretins to the abuse entities at their providers are completely ignored
    -- not even acknowledged.

    In contrast, any report of probe from a real US ISP (rare these days) is
    replied to and I believe these boxes are taken offline right away. That
    is why it is now relatively rare to see probes from US-based boxen.
  • by HiThere ( 15173 ) * <charleshixsn@ea r t h l i n k.net> on Sunday July 04, 2004 @12:32PM (#9606440)
    ...deal with being blocked.

    I'm not quite sure what you're proposing. It seems to be either "lie back and enjoy it" or *forge your own headers*, neither of which seems a very good answer.

    As to checking the bank reference...that would mean you could only accept rather sizeable orders, or added a significant surcharge. A viable answer for some businesses, but certainly not for others.

    This banning of countries comes in two flavors: it seems ok when adopted by an individual web site/company, and it seems unhealthy when adopted by ISPs (of any other flavor, including, e.g., name servers).
  • by Nexus Seven ( 112882 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @01:31PM (#9606791)
    I think you need to change your friends.
  • Simple to fix. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by base3 ( 539820 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @04:40PM (#9608144)
    Don't want your third world country cut off electronically from the rest of the world? Cut off your spammers. Better yet, use your nic.$TLD site to serve videos of them being hanged. Otherwise, continue enjoying the cash coming in from the spammers and realize that you'll be pariahs in the Internet community.
  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @05:02PM (#9608267)
    Then you really have no cause to complain here, do you? Complain to your government, not to the people trying to protect themselves from the fraudsters you allow to operate in your country.
  • Re:Foreign ISPs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Sunday July 04, 2004 @07:26PM (#9609165)
    You're a complete moron.

    Yes, the USA has some problems with Ashcroft trying to be the new Big Brother, and the UK has some similar problems. But it's a lot better than living in Saudi Arabia and being locked in a windowless room until you die because you were a girl and flirted with some guys, or living in Rwanda and being hacked to death with a machete simply because you were in the wrong tribe. You want unfree? Try moving to North Korea and saying something about Kim Jong Il, or moving to China and criticizing the Communist party. If you think the US is worse than these places, you are truly stupid.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak