Begun, the Spam Wars Have

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Is the federal antispam bill absolutely evil? amazingly great? useless? a critical law? pretty problematic after all? Follow the debate on Politech.

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  1. From the “absolutely evil?” link:
    “This bill makes it a crime to use any false or misleading information in a domain name or email account application, and then send an email.
    That would make a large fraction of hotmail users instant criminals.”

    Do you suppose that’s the government’s purpose? Standing criminal liability for a broad section of the population would be nice for them if they wanted to strike at dissent.

  2. Note how this bill defines spam as “unsolicated COMMERICAL email” instead of “unsoliciated BULK email”. These politicians don’t want this law to hinder their “unsoliciated POLITICAL email”. Politicians are above the law (yet again).

  3. What’s the past tense of spam? Spum?

  4. Here are my 1.5 new ideas for combatting spam.

    The .5: there are already some websites devoted to identifying spammers (Spamhaus and ROKSO, etc.), but they are not well known and don’t go far enough. I want to see home addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, license plates, photos, and more. Once spammers know they can be identified by their neighbors, there’ll be less spamming. Linked to this should be a campaign to name, shame and boycott the ISPs that sell spammers Internet access.

    The other idea is to create some TV/radio/Internet public service ads on the theme of “Spammers are Scammers”: you’re an idiot if you think a pill will enlarge a body part. That “cheap mortgage refinance” is no such thing. Those bargain prescription drugs are diluted, fake, or even poisoned. And if you respond to any spam, ever, your credit card will likely be stolen and you’ll be marked as a sucker forever and just get more spam.

    None of these ideas require new laws or much of an investment of money. I’m sure the talent to implement them in an Open Source sort of way exists in cyberspace among people who hate spam. And I doubt spammers will sue, as they’d have to “break cover” to do that.

  5. REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP
    FIRST, I MUST SOLICIT YOUR STRICTEST CONFIDENCE IN THIS TRANSACTION. THIS IS BY VIRTUE OF ITS NATURE AS BEING UTTERLY CONFIDENTIAL AND ‘TOP SECRET’. I AM SURE AND HAVE CONFIDENCE OF YOUR ABILITY AND RELIABILITY TO PROSECUTE A TRANSACTION OF THIS GREAT MAGNITUDE INVOLVING A PENDING TRANSACTION REQUIRING MAXIIMUM CONFIDENCE.

    WE ARE TOP OFFICIAL OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACT REVIEW PANEL WHO ARE INTERESTED IN IMPORATION OF GOODS INTO OUR COUNTRY WITH FUNDS WHICH ARE PRESENTLY TRAPPED IN NIGERIA. IN ORDER TO COMMENCE THIS BUSINESS WE SOLICIT YOUR ASSISTANCE TO ENABLE US TRANSFER INTO YOUR ACCOUNT THE SAID TRAPPED FUNDS.

    THE SOURCE OF THIS FUND IS AS FOLLOWS; DURING THE LAST MILITARY REGIME HERE IN NIGERIA, THE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS SET UP COMPANIES AND AWARDED THEMSELVES CONTRACTS WHICH WERE GROSSLY OVER-INVOICED IN VARIOUS MINISTRIES. THE PRESENT CIVILIAN GOVERNMENT SET UP A CONTRACT REVIEW PANEL AND WE HAVE IDENTIFIED A LOT OF INFLATED CONTRACT FUNDS WHICH ARE PRESENTLY FLOATING IN THE CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA READY FOR PAYMENT.

    HOWEVER, BY VIRTUE OF OUR POSITION AS CIVIL SERVANTS AND MEMBERS OF THIS PANEL, WE CANNOT ACQUIRE THIS MONEY IN OUR NAMES. I HAVE THEREFORE, BEEN DELEGATED AS A MATTER OF TRUST BY MY COLLEAGUES OF THE PANEL TO LOOK FOR AN OVERSEAS PARTNER INTO WHOSE ACCOUNT WE WOULD TRANSFER THE SUM OF US$21,320,000.00(TWENTY ONE MILLION, THREE HUNDRED AND TWENTY THOUSAND U.S DOLLARS). HENCE WE ARE WRITING YOU THIS LETTER. WE HAVE AGREED TO SHARE THE MONEY THUS; 1. 20% FOR THE ACCOUNT OWNER 2. 70% FOR US (THE OFFICIALS) 3. 10% TO BE USED IN SETTLING TAXATION AND ALL LOCAL AND FOREIGN EXPENSES. IT IS FROM THE 70% THAT WE WISH TO COMMENCE THE IMPORTATION BUSINESS.

    PLEASE,NOTE THAT THIS TRANSACTION IS 100% SAFE AND WE HOPE TO COMMENCE THE TRANSFER LATEST SEVEN (7) BANKING DAYS FROM THE DATE OF THE RECEIPT OF THE FOLLOWING INFORMATIOM BY TEL/FAX; 234-1-7740449, YOUR COMPANY’S SIGNED, AND STAMPED LETTERHEAD PAPER THE ABOVE INFORMATION WILL ENABLE US WRITE LETTERS OF CLAIM AND JOB DESCRIPTION RESPECTIVELY. THIS WAY WE WILL USE YOUR COMPANY’S NAME TO APPLY FOR PAYMENT AND RE-AWARD THE CONTRACT IN YOUR COMPANY’S NAME.

    WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO DOING THIS BUSINESS WITH YOU AND SOLICIT YOUR CONFIDENTIALITY IN THIS TRANSATION. PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE THE RECEIPT OF THIS LETTER USING THE ABOVE TEL/FAX NUMBERS. I WILL SEND YOU DETAILED INFORMATION OF THIS PENDING PROJECT WHEN I HAVE HEARD FROM YOU.

    YOURS FAITHFULLY,

    DR CLEMENT OKON

    NOTE; PLEASE QUOTE THIS REFERENCE NUMBER (VE/S/09/99) IN ALL YOUR RESPONSES.

  6. Thank you Dr Clement for a hearty albeit early morning laugh.

  7. Cyberspace has been and is a hugely successful experiment in anarchy.
    We should hope gummint manages to completely shut down cyberspace because it would mean the NEXT experiment in anarchy will be even bigger and more hugely successful.
    Then, after a few more trial runs, anarchy will be introduced with great success into actual spacial touchy-feely reality.
    All politicians/”spums” would have to get real jobs.

  8. The current “antispam” bill would actually provide a legal sanction for spamming, by making it OK as long as the spammer provides a way for the victim to confirm his address — er, I mean “request removal from the list.” It would also allow the FTC to create an “opt-out” list — in other words, a huge list of addresses in one place which spammers could harvest.

    This bill will void state laws which have stricter anti-spam standards, and will provide a stamp of approval to spammers who follow federal procedures. The result, if the Senate passes the bill and Bush signs off, will be vastly more spam than before.

    In an article in _Ideas on Liberty_ in 2000, I warned that letting the feds pass laws regulating spam would only make things worse. I still think so.

  9. Hey Julian,
    Was the title of this thread a play on Yoda speak..ref. “Clone Wars”? Just wondering.

  10. No anti-spam bill will be satisfactory unless it provides for slow, painful torture as the appropriate punishment for spammers.

    “It would also allow the FTC to create an “opt-out” list — in other words, a huge list of addresses in one place which spammers could harvest.”

    Wouldn’t they then be breaking the law and liable in court?

  11. I warned that letting the feds pass laws regulating spam would only make things worse. I still think so.

    Federal regulation are two words that should appear together as infrequently as possible. That having been said, spam has elevated to the point where it is creating technical burdens that cost money. The cost and inconvenience it incurs upon consumers is of greater monetary value than the the return it provides to advertisers. A do-not-spam list would thus be welcome.

  12. Mark Borok: US law is useless if a spammer’s only visible presence is in China or Brazil, as is true in many if not most cases. Are you willing to publish your own address in order to tell US spammers not to attack it, when doing so makes it fair game for the sleazes in other countries?

    I also wonder whether such a list would allow domains to be wildcarded. If it did, then it would be of some use. If it doesn’t, then spammers can just keep switching to a different made-up address in my domain every time I put one of my addresses on the do-not-spam list.

    In any case, the idea that people should have to submit their addresses to a do-not-spam list is repugnant in principle. Spamming is a distributed denial-of-service attack. There’s no more justification for a “don’t spam me” list than for a “don’t send me trojan horses” list.

  13. EMAIL: master-x@canada.com
    IP: 82.146.43.155
    URL: http://www.penis-pill-enlargement.com
    DATE: 02/28/2004 08:58:16
    Everything is true to someone.

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