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Norway Bans Spam

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the anyone-else-wanna-move dept.

Spam 238

nordicfrost writes: "Everyone in Norway has aquired a law-given right to say "no" to spam. This is also happening in other countries like Germany. The spammers have to check that the people they send advertisements to aren't on the "opt-out" list, a list centrally operated by the government's National Data Register. This means that anyone sending me something I haven't requested, faces fines and up to six months of jail time." Recently a spammer got one of my addresses and is spamming me 10 times a day. Forged everything, random everything, many different messages, only a similiarities in the subject line to tie them together. At least I can filter it, but I'd love to see this ass get 6 months of jail time, especially if he's doing this to thousands of others.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Re:This would only benefit spammers (2)

KevinMS (209602) | more than 13 years ago | (#504819)

When spam is made illegal in brand-name countries, it will just move, and you'll start hearing terms like "off-shore spammers" and "swiss spam accounts". If it isnt obvious, this paralles the drug trade, where drugs were made much more profitable.

Re:My Norwegian is a little rusty... (1)

pseen (219746) | more than 13 years ago | (#504839)

Partial translation

Be careful who you give your email address. If you participate in news groups, mailing lists or competitions on game sites, you are in the danger zone.

"Spam" is the term for unwanted ads to your email box. Spam (pronounced "spæm") got its name from an old Monthy Python joke, where a bunch of vikings interrupt in the action singing "Spam, spam, spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam.

This spam is mailed by more or less ruthless business people hoping to sell services and merhandise. The method is flooding your mail box with offers.

Illegal in many countries
Spam is illegal in many countries, and on the 1st of March Norway will get one of the strictest regulations in this field, as will Denmark, Finland, Germany, Austria and Italy. A new and more EU-adapted law of marketing becomes effective, and prohibits advertisements via email and SMS (text messages) unless the consumers have given their consent in advance.

Companies violating the prohibition, will have to deal with the Forbrukerrådet (Consumers' Directorate). The reactions for breaking the new law of marketing are definitely harsher. One risks having to pay expensive tickets or having to serve up to six months in jail. Or both.

It's not spam, its UCE that has been outlawed (2)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 13 years ago | (#504841)

at least in Denmark. It is part of the marketing law, which regulates what you can do to advertize your products. One of the rules is that you cannot take direct electronic contact (email, fax or phone) with individuals for the purpose of sale without their prior agreement. At least in Denmark, you are still allowed to spam people with "Jesus loves you", and you are still allowed to spam companies with adds.

With regard to your friend, your prior contact with him would probably get you free, you are not selling anything so you would not be covered by the law, and finally, it is not criminal law in Denmark, so you would not get in jail (even though spammers should be shoot).

The deal: (1)

nordicfrost (118437) | more than 13 years ago | (#504845)

I entered my PN in the list yesterday, you don't have to enter any e-mail adress. You enter your personal number (Social Security number for you americans), and choose from a list what you don't want to recieve. The options are:
  • Telemarketing
  • Faxes
  • E-mail
  • SMS messages
  • SnailMail
  • Direct mail

The companies are forced to check their lists for a certain time before they send the spam, and have to remove any matching names permantently from their records.
The link is here:
If want any charitable orgs to continue bothering you, there's an option that will let them, but not any profitable orgs, continue sending you spam / call you etc.
You may very well hide it, but deep inside I know you Americans envy us the right to jail a telemarketeer... :o)

Re:Norwegian Hotmail Service? (1)

pseen (219746) | more than 13 years ago | (#504846)

Try this one: [] It's in Norwegian, could be a problem...

Re:This would only benefit spammers (1)

fyonn (115426) | more than 13 years ago | (#504848)

how does the RIAA get a norwegian kid arrested for decss? how does a french court prevent from auctioning off nazi memorabilia?

it's nice to see though. someone has been harvesting recently and about 70% of my spam is addresses to my ebay spamtrap. grr...


Jail?! (1)

micromoog (206608) | more than 13 years ago | (#504849)

Six months of jail time? That seems more than a little extreme to me. Fines would be much more suited to the crime.

Yes, I get spam too, and yes, I hate it too, but realistically, the bother of having to delete some extra emails every day does not deserve the same kind of punishment as, say, rapists, car thieves, bank robbers, etc. The world's prisons are crowded enough.

Re:Sneakemail (2)

KevinMS (209602) | more than 13 years ago | (#504850)

This much appreciated endorsement of Sneakemail was not solicited or sanctioned by the management of Sneakemail in any way.


All shameless promotion of Sneakemail on /. comes only directly from me.

We need this here! (1)

JCMay (158033) | more than 13 years ago | (#504861)

In the USA!

My Norwegian is a little rusty... (2)

Goonie (8651) | more than 13 years ago | (#504866)

so could somebody provide a rough (even just a partial) translation or the article? I don't think Altavista knows Norwegian.

This would only benefit spammers (2)

dattaway (3088) | more than 13 years ago | (#504869)

The spammer would just leach addresses from the list. Who said spammers have morals?

Spam is annoying, but (4)

spectatorion (209877) | more than 13 years ago | (#504871)

Spam is certainly very annoying, but is it sacrificing too much of our Internet Freedom to let governments fine and even jail people for spamming? I mean, everyone always talks about freedom on the Internet, keeping it unregulated, etc. Why should this be different? This is a huge regulation. Who is to say exactly what spam is? And what would prevent the state from jailing me for sending a friend an unsolicited email about a product i recently saw and thought he might like to buy? A little far-fetched, I admit, but this just seems like a dangerous road to go down. I say turn the filter on and keep government out of the Internet.

Good move, but (1)

melifluous3 (259586) | more than 13 years ago | (#504872)

How difficult will this be to prosecute?

Email redirection? (2)

Brazilian Geek (25299) | more than 13 years ago | (#504875)

Warning: I don't speak/read/understand norweigan.

Does anyone know if this legislation covers email redirection? If so, does anyone know of a good norweigan .no redirection service that doesn't add any special header or footer to the messages?

All browsers' default homepage should read: Don't Panic...

I hate spam as much as the next guy, BUT... (3)

Bonker (243350) | more than 13 years ago | (#504877)

All the free speech concerns aside, this stilly has some pretty scary implications. What constitutes spam? Is it unsolicited commercial email? Is it harrasment? Or will this turn out to be abused in much the same way the (very necessary) sexual harrasment laws have been?

Does anyone have an Eigo translation of this article so that we can get the specifcs? The fishy don't do Norweigan.

"Sir, you're under arrest for spamming your coworkers."

"But they *asked* me to send them 'The Big List of Blonde Jokes'! Honest, officer!"

it is UCE in Denmark. (2)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 13 years ago | (#504878)

Your list of blonde jokes would not be covered by the anti-spam law, however annoying these kind of emails are.

The article isn't very specific, unfortunately. The Danish law is pretty specific, and leave out a lot of cases that are usually considered spam, such as non-commersial UBE, and UBE directed at companies rather than individuals.

Re:This is almost useless (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 13 years ago | (#504879)

Yeah, but I don't get any regular mail from the Cayman islands. Filter on that and you get most of it.

Freedom to spam (1)

superdk (184900) | more than 13 years ago | (#504880)

Regulating spam isn't so much about freedom on the internet as it is about freedom to be free of crap.

Now, I know we all get tons of snailmail everyday we didn't ask for. I get at least one credit card in the mail every couple of weeks or so and I just tear it up and throw it away. For some reason it's just more annoying to get that crap in my email! I don't know why really, it's just a mindset I guess.

Spammers are truly the scum of the earth, right down there with lawyers and people who key random cars in parking lots. Perhaps jail is a bit extreme but for crying out loud this madness has GOT to end!

Spam sucks

spamgourmet - disposable addresses, opting, etc. (2)

jqh1 (212455) | more than 13 years ago | (#504881)

IAAL, and, let me tell you, international litigation (even just finding and serving folks) is so costly and exasperating that I'll be surprised if they go very far toward doing it, except for very extreme cases.

And what is this about opting in and opting out, anyway? I think what we're seeing is that the email protocol is just too trusting and open-ended for the current net environment. I mean, lots of sites will tell you I 'opted in' to receive their junk and a bunch of others', and, if I don't believe it, I can go back and [find and] read the small print that was hovering closeby when I tried to download something or other. It would seem that we're constantly letting other people define 'consent to receive spam' for us.

Disposable email addresses are the way to go -- by this I don't mean a hotmail address or something like that, but, rather an address that is only good for x uses. My favorite site for this is [] (free and ad-free) because the addresses are created as used -- this means there's no maintenance on the site, and, theoretically, you'd never have to go back to the site unless you changed your forwarding address, or whatever. The psychology behind this is that taking control of my inbox away from the spammers has to be easier than receiving and deleting one piece of spam, and I have to perceive this fact at that critical moment when I'm signing up for something...

From the faq:
Q. How do I create a disposable email address?

A. First, set up an account here, if you haven't already, and save your real email address in the space provided (don't skip this important step!). Remember your username. Later, when you need a disposable email address, just think of a word (any combination of letters and numbers (20 characters max), provided you haven't used it before), and decide how many messages you want to receive at the new address. Then, put the word, the number, and your spamgourmet username together with dots to form the disposable address. For instance, if your Username is "spamcowboy", then you could make a disposable address like so:
Then, you can use the address to sign up for your favorite spam-prone website, get a confirmation message, get your password in the second (and final) message, then smile and consider for a moment that no one, no-how is going to send you email with that address again.

Please note: This service summarily deletes any message that doesn't pass muster with the forwarding rules, rather than preserving it for future viewing -- I love this!, but you may prefer something that saves your spam -- you may have to put up with ads or small payments to accomodate the higher cost of saving the spam, though.

Re:Sneakemail (1)

stu_coates (156061) | more than 13 years ago | (#504882)

This is exactly what I do right now.

My ISP (Demon Internet [] ) gives you unlimited email addresses at your own domain (albeit a sub-domain of This way I can sign up to anything with a unique name, e.g.:, and then I can tell where the spammer got my email address from.

Using this technique I have been able to tell that BT [] sell their customer's email address to [] , and Virgin Radio [] will sell their user's addresses to almost anyone selling junk!

Sure is interesting to find out where the spammers harvest the email addresses from.

some problems... (1)

moz25 (262020) | more than 13 years ago | (#504883)

I like this idea, but I see some problems... how open is this opt-out list? Can anybody join this list or what? It seems only norwegian spammers are going to be held accountable, so anybody else can ignore this list or even abuse it... that is: use it as a free source of email addresses.

I'm interested to see where this goes.


Stunt-translation of first half (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#504884)

"Stop the e-mail commercials

Now, nobody are to be allowed sending advertizing to your e-mail box unless you allow it - in Norway that is. Because more than a Norwegian EU-adapted law is needed to stop the flow of ads through the Internet.

[link] How to stop spamming
[link] Prevent peepers from looking at your machine
[link] How to opt out

Watch out who you give your e-mail address to. If you participate in newsgroups, mailing lists and compos on gaming sites you are especially at risk.

"Spam" is the term for unsolicited advertizing aimed at your e-mail box. Spam (pronounced 'spæm') have received its name from an old Monty Python-sketch, where a band of vikings continue to interrupt the plot by singing "spam, spam, spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam".

This spam is being sent by more or less conscienceless business people who hope to sell services and goods. The means is to overflow your inbox with offers.

Illegal in many countries

Im many countries spam is illegal, and the 1st of March Norway will get one of the strictest regulations in this area, paralelling Denmark, Finland, Germany, Austria and Italy. A new and more EU-adapted law of marketing is then made valid, and advertising through e-mail or SMS (mobil phone text messages) will be illegal, unless the consumers have opted in nin advance.

Companies that break the law will be dealt with by the consumer ombudsman[1]. The maximum penalty for breaking the new[2] law of marketing has also been raised. One now risks heavy fines or six years in prison. Or both."

[1] No good english equivalent as far as I know, it's an organization not a person.
[2] Improved, actually

The newspaper VG is the biggest tabloid in Norway, no nude girlie on sundays but not far from it.

Re:Will the EU and the USA follow? (1)

Modeflip (161271) | more than 13 years ago | (#504885)

Hrmm.... That's a really bad comparison. You can't compare free speech with spammers. I have the right to host a Nazi site if I want to. Hence, free speech. Hopefully there will never be a standard of internet regulations agreed upon by the EU/USA/ Rest of world.

Re:Big Brother (1)

sveinb (305718) | more than 13 years ago | (#504909)

This is not the first time that the Norwegian Data Register (Datatilsynet) has shown Big Brother tendencies. They are supposed to protect people against electronic surveillance, but check out these two cases:

* The telephone directory has finally been released on the net. Datatilsynet struggled against this for years, but finally accepted it under the condition that users need to be registered to search in it. Registration includes e-mail address, full name AND social security number! Is this protection of my privacy?

* Datatilsynet has long struggled against closed-circuit video surveillance, and this is now heavily regulated. Their latest restriction on companies and individuals who set up a camera is this: You need to report your camera to a central register. Does this protect my privacy? It certainly increases the government's capability of surveillance.

I cite the Swedish secretary of economy: "Norway is the last remanining Soviet state".

Re:We need this here! (1)

micromoog (206608) | more than 13 years ago | (#504910)

It would be nice to not have to deal with spam, but I don't see this happening in the U.S. anytime soon.

The first amendment (free speech) is one of America's most basic tenets; something people do not take lightly. That's why you can still buy Nazi memorobilia, KKK literature, etc. It's generally accepted in this country that limitations on speech are very damaging, and should only be applied in extreme circumstances.

Limiting any kind of electronic communication could quickly become a slipperly slope, and free-speech advocates would most likely fight this (even though it would mean having to deal with spam).

If you can prove a spammer cost your company money through time wasted, network resources clogged, etc. just use the current U.S. legal system: sue the spammer.

Re:Spam is annoying, but (5)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 13 years ago | (#504911)

I mean, everyone always talks about freedom on the Internet, keeping it unregulated, etc. Why should this be different?

This is not "different." In fact, it is much like a denial of service attack in that it can paralyze smaller ISPs and companies when they serve as the inadvertent origin, relay, or forged "From:" domain for spam. It is also like many forms of computer fraud which are already illegal. Spammers go to great lengths to forge and mask sender information, routing information, and even web page addresses in their spam. While recipients are seldom left helpless by it, it drastically limits the way that they can use the Internet. Many will not use real addresses in Usenet postings, put a link to their e-mail address on web pages, or otherwise publically publish their e-mail address for fear of being deluged with spam.

Take the case of someone who wishes to forward his e-mail to his/her cell-phone. Spam has basically made this impossible, as spammers send huge, complex HTML messages on a regular basis. Add to that the interruptions to the recipients day as the phone goes off for one spam after another and you have a situation where a person cannot receive their e-mail in the manner that they want.

Lastly, it is theft. In the case of e-mail delivered to cell phones, it costs the recipient for each received message. When people pay for Internet use by the minute or byte, it costs them money for each piece of spam received. In this way, it is no different than the already illegal "junk faxes."

We already have legislation to protect us from other computer crimes and adding spam to that list is long overdue.

Making sure to specify exactly what SPAM is (2)

Masem (1171) | more than 13 years ago | (#504912)

As one that runs several legit mailing lists, the only thing that concerns me about spam regulations is exactly the definition of spam. If it's simply "unsolicated email", then that can harm more than hurt -- what if someone who I've never talked before send me comments on a web site or a similar feature. I never solicated for those comments, so theorhetically it's spam by the simple definition above. Make things worst: say that one of the people on my legit mailing list decides they don't like me anymore and live in a place that punishes spammers -- they can claim that mailings from my list are spamming them, and I'd be punished with no way to stop it.

Nor can you simply add "unsoliciated email advertizing" , as I've seen spam that is generally a plea for help, though poorly targeted and still going through the classic spam patterns. The content of the message does not guarentee it being spam.

And of course, you can't simply add how headers and recieverships might be hidden or such, because there are spammers that actually follow proper protocols -- they don't stay very long at one ISP, mind you, but they do continue to spam.

I think that any spam punishment provision must include the fact that if the person attempted to out-opt and yet recieved the spam from the same people after a sufficient timeframe passed for the opt-out request to be processed (2 weeks), then if they are spammed again, then the penalties start. This would allow those that run mailing lists, for example, to be free of concerns of ruthless subscribers, as well protecting casual one-time emails, while most spammers, who'd refuse to prune email lists, would be caught pants down.

Re:We need this here! (1)

Nightlight3 (248096) | more than 13 years ago | (#504913)

Those parasites, I mean Congressmen, in Washington won't pass such a law because they are getting too much money from the 'pro-spam' special interest group.

They would love to get their foot into the door of internet regulation, and this just offers one more excuse. They will probably do it, even if it means they risk doing accidentally something benefical.

while (opt-out && only email) cry (); (2)

Simplicius (304579) | more than 13 years ago | (#504914)

As we all agree that it will be hard to enforce a ban on spam, i see some problems with this.
  1. If there really is a public opt-out list available on the list, it helps spamers getting email addresses.
  2. Every law that can hardly be enforced potentially leads to ambiguity. Investigations will not be done for every spam mail, instead investigations will start with unpleasant people. Thus for a crime done by thousands of people only a small group (e.g. activists who spam a political essay) will be imprisoned.
  3. It is ridiculous to assume that the goal of politics is stopping spam. I still get about 2kg (4.4 pounds) of snail-mail spam a week. It would be easy to enforce a ban on it, and it could save me a lot more time compared to saving 1 second dedicated to deleting an email.
    I suggest 2 other explainations:
    • They just want to show that they care for the "internet generation".
    • They try get into regulating the internet, getting a long list of potential internet-delinquents.
I think people are so much concerned about spam, because they feel watched. They get email from a website, that they wanted to deny having accessed.

An effective solution: forced disclosure & fines (2)

zeno_lee (125322) | more than 13 years ago | (#504940)

The approach I would like to see is forced disclosure of spammers. People should not be allowed to spoof their identities when sending mass email. Once the spammer is tracked down, the authorities should start a record, something akin to shoplifting, which is not as severe as jailtime, but probably deterrent enough for spammers to think twice. Think of it as the scarlet letter of the online world. ISP's will refuse the spammer service for being a spammer.

Also, ISP's should be allowed to sue individuals who use their services for spam. Network bandwidth usage, and spoofed domain names cause monetary damage to ISPs' business.

Re:how enforceable is this? (2)

Cat Mara (211617) | more than 13 years ago | (#504941)

The Norwegian authorities were tripping over themselves to hand over the guy who wrote DeCSS; I reckon the US State Department owes them a couple of spammers in return.

The article.. (1)

kyrre (197103) | more than 13 years ago | (#504942)

The article mentions that Norway getting a strict version of laws that already is in effect in other countries. Denmark, Finland, Germany, Austria, and Italy

It also say that this law will mostly affect _Norwegian_ companies and people sending out spam. So all you spammers operating out of other countries can shill.Spam will not be illegal if you ask for permission. The rest of the article is the same crap you can expect from a tabloid.

The difference: we bear the cost (1)

ryan_w_scott (105772) | more than 13 years ago | (#504943)

There's one big difference between garden-variety censorship (which I agree, we must resist) and some kinds of anti-Spam laws: WE as recipients bear the cost of unsolicited commercial email as much as the sender. Our servers, our bandwidth, our memory suffers in order to accommodate messages that we did not request.

It's the same rationale that was used to support laws against "broadcast faxing" a decade ago. Unlike junk mail through the post office (where the sender bears the cost of printing and shipping, and all we do is read) junk faxes rely on the recipients' hardware and force them to bear the cost of printing. Both Spam and junk faxes have a small incremental cost to send, but impose costs on the people who receive them -- even when they don't want to pay it.

Re:This would only benefit spammers (2)

slim (1652) | more than 13 years ago | (#504944)

The spammer would just leach addresses from the list. Who said spammers have morals?

Even if this were an opt-out scheme, how would that benefit them? I once added my address to a public list of addresses which did not want spam -- the hope being that spammers would remove these addresses from their mailing lists by their own free will. That project didn't really get anywhere, and I'm assuming that's down to spammers just being lazy.

However, I got one mail that said "Hah! You put your name on a list of people who don't want spam -- fools, can't you see spammers will use this list and you'll get even more spam". That doesn't make sense to me: spam is a form of advertising. Legit advertisers go to great lengths to reach as targetted an audience as possible. Why would a spammer go out of their way to get a load of addresses for people who are virtually guaranteed to be unreceptive, hostile, or even litiginous?

What I'd really like to know, though, is this: spam is very common. Is it therefore profitable? I honestly can't say I've *ever* recieved spam containing a tempting proposition.

Re:Big Brother (1)

Werail (237604) | more than 13 years ago | (#504945)

Datatilsynet are legitimately fighting *for* the privacy of the Norwegians.

Point 1: If you had bothered to check, you'd know that the registration is for validating your ID agains the national people register, thus making sure only legitimate people get access to the phone directory. You also have to explicitly allow redistribution of your e-mail.

Point 2: The government are also under the same video surveilance rules as everyone else. And you forgot to include that these are open registers that everyone has access to, so you can check where there are cameras and if you want to, avoid them.

Re:Resources... (1)

NTSwerver (92128) | more than 13 years ago | (#504946)

It's interesting that there are steps afoot to outlaw electronic spam already, after all the www is not that old.

I have been recieving snail-mail spam (junk mail) for many years. How is this different from electronic spam (aside from bandwidth problems) ? Would the authorities not have to outlaw this kind of spam also?


Freedom is sacrificed a little at a time (2)

dsplat (73054) | more than 13 years ago | (#504947)

Spam is annoying. I expect to delete as much of it these days as I receive in real mail. At last count, I have been spammed in 7 or 8 languages, some of which I can't puzzle out even a single word of. It uses bandwidth, wastes disk space and takes up my time.

But I will not concede to any government the right to determine what can and cannot be considered unwanted e-mail. When the intent is clearly something that would be criminal when done by other means, such as death threats, fraudulent stock scams, etc., certainly those should be illegal. Consider how far anti-spam legislation may go. Do you want to jail time for a message like this:

To: Not Yet Clueful Newbie <new-b@domain>
From: Open Source Hacker <hacker@lug>
Subject: Come to our meeting next Thursday

Hey, I'm the Linux zealot you met at the
bookstore Saturday. Since you were local I
just fingered the local ISPs for someone with
your name. Are you interested in coming to
our Linux Users' Group meeting next Thursday?

I shouldn't have to consult a lawyer to determine the legality of every action I take.

Re:Jail?! (1)

yabHuj (10782) | more than 13 years ago | (#504948)

Or - as for Germany (according to a court decision) about 250 000 USD fine per incident.
The argumentation goes as follows: because it is so easy and cheap to do that, low fines will not be sufficient to stop an avalanche effect that will render the communication system (email) useless for the user.

In Germany you do not have to opt-OUT for electronic marketing (phone, fax, email). Instead the only legal way for companies is opt-IN for email lists. The only opt-OUT ("Robinson-Liste") is for classical bulk/snail mail. Here the (comparatively high) costs are automatically a limiting factor that is not given with email.

Re:This is almost useless (1)

osgeek (239988) | more than 13 years ago | (#504949)

Good, then we can just filter all traffic from the Cayman Islands. Who'd be hurt by that, us or the people of the Cayman Islands?

When it hurts enough, the people will demand that their government does something about it as well.

Re:Spam is annoying, but (1)

Ereth (194013) | more than 13 years ago | (#504950)

There is no reason to put an entrepreneur simply trying to promote his e-business in jail with hardened criminals.
Spoken like a true spammer. I agree that jail time is harsh, but significant fines are not. "Make Money Fast" is not an entrepeneur trying to promote his e-business. It's a get-rich-quick scam. Something like 90% of the spam is for tools or lists to create MORE spam. Ads for legitimate products or services are rare.

When the amount of spam a user receives exceeds the amount of real email they receive, email loses its value. Since we know that email is the "killer app" of the Internet, and that spam is destroying it, nobody (who isn't a spammer) can reasonably say that there's nothing wrong with spam and users should just delete the extra email they get.

Translation is wrong in the article. (3)

viktor (11866) | more than 13 years ago | (#504951)

When translating the article, "opt-in" and "opt-out" have been mixed up.

Opt-out means that I have to send my address to a register in order not to receive spam. Sweden has this system, and it does not work well.

Norway has chosen an opt-in system, which means that I have to actively request the advertisement from the spammer. If they can't show that I've requested the mail, they are acting against the law.

The translation mentions opt-out, which is wrong.

Norway's new law also covers advertisements sent via SMS, the instant messaging service in the GSM mobile telephone net.


US Spammers... (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 13 years ago | (#504952)

Unfortunately here we've got the minor issue of the first ammendment. Bothersome thing. Makes it very difficult to pass any laws dealing with this sort of thing. It would be ironic if one of the bigger banes of the Internet found the last hospitibal country to be the one that brought forth the net in the first place...

There are some federal laws wrt. do not call lists and all though. I wonder if you could get something like this through here. It'd be a lot easier to prove the spammer was intentionally breaking the law if there were a single federally maintained do not call list...

I'm Sure the Chinese Will Love This.... (4)

John Murdoch (102085) | more than 13 years ago | (#504953)


Everybody hates spam. Everybody thinks spam is a pain in the neck. Everybody thinks spam should go away. And those inclined to expect the government to do everything for them will--not surprisingly--tend to expect the government to protect them from spam.

Which may be a good thing, except for one little detail. If the government is going to protect you from "spam", the government is going to define what "spam" means. And you may not be happy with that definition--because as sure as the fact that the sun is coming up tomorrow, any government is going to figure out a way to protect itself with its definition of spam.

Remember "Junk Fax"?
Back when fax machines first appeared it didn't take office supply companies, delis, and a horde of other advertisers to figure out that they could send you virtual flyers with a local phone call--substantially cheaper than paying for postage.

Lots of people objected to junk fax. Lots of legislators climbed on the bandwagon--junk fax came to be viewed by politicians as an easy target: nobody was in favor of (euphemism) "unsolicited commercial fax."

Then a funny thing happened--except that it wasn't funny at all if you are old enough to remember watching it on CNN. Students in the People's Republic of China staged a demonstration in Tianamien Square in Beijing that quickly became a serious challenge to the authority of the Communist Party. At first the authorities dismissed this as an annoyance--but as the protest continued, the government got more and more scared. The government ultimately crushed the protest with tanks and machine guns--no one in the West knows yet how many students were killed.

What was significant about the "uprising" was that the Chinese government was right about one thing: the PRC kept insisting that the protest was being directed by "outside agitators". They were right--Chinese dissidents, in the U.S. as graduate students, were directing the protests across China from an office in suburban Boston--via fax. The PRC finally figured it out, and blocked phone traffic from the Boston area--but they never figured out concepts like call-forwarding, etc. The students were able to communicate with very little restriction right up until the end.

In the aftermath, the Communists decided that "the people" needed protection from "unsolicited fax". They required every fax machine to be registered. They enacted laws spelling out draconian punishments for unregistered fax usage. They tried their damndest to prevent anybody ever doing this again.

Now the Internet is here.
And try as the Chinese Communists might, they're having a tough time preventing people from getting information. The PRC has worked diligently to block access to foreign news sites, foreign chat sites, etc.--especially anything published in Chinese. I'm certain that one dimension of the PRC's reported enthusiasm for Linux is that they can be certain that the U.S. doesn't have a trap door in their computers--and that they can install a trap door of their own. (Somehow, I'm sure the PRC will--what a surprise!--forget to distribute the source code of their distros.)

But they can't block e-mail.
I have mail in my in-box from a young Chinese man. He and his wife are deeply fond of my mother--she and my late stepfather helped them escape from China in the immediate aftermath of Tianemien Square. They are still actively in touch with friends and relatives back in China--by email. And if the need ever arises, they can maintain those communication links: through open relays; through "anonymizer" relays; through throwaway accounts--in short, using exactly the same techniques as the spammers.

We live in a free society--with the advent of the Internet our freedom of expression and (if only virtual) assembly are practically limitless. It doesn't work that way everywhere in the world. There are places in the world where defaming the Imam earns you a fatwa--a price on your head. There are places in the world where refusing to pledge allegiance to the Dear Leader and embrace the "scientific truths" of Kim-Il-Sungism means that your family doesn't get food rations, and is left to starve. There are places in the world where billions of people are "protected" from "unsolicited fax" and other such dangers.

Those places all have governments that would be more than happy to "protect" their citizens from "spam."

Yup. Spam is an annoyance. By golly, I have to press that Delete key four, sometimes five times a day. And I'm sure that having the government decide what email I can see, and making sure that I only see "unsolicited" mail from people they approve of, will make my life so much more enjoyable. So much more buoyant--so much more vibrant--so much more liberating. At least, right up to the point where I want to send or receive messages the government doesn't approve of.

Thanks, but...
For me and my household--we'll just use SpamCop [spamcop.nettargetblank] , and the Delete key.

A trick for helping with Spam (2)

Masem (1171) | more than 13 years ago | (#504967)

Certainly not my idea, but one that's been repeated here by many others before: If you are running your own mail server, create email aliases for accounts that are used on the web (see my address above, for example) that all point back to your normal account. Not just for sites that would publish your email, but those that don't, such as NYT. Make sure they are sufficiently different for each one so that you can tell exactly which email address, and therefore what site was used to start the spam. Do note that some sites can't help it -- /. is prone to email harvesters for example, but there's no way that a normal email harverster is going to get the email that I use at NYT or Amazon since it's not posted on any content page there at all. However, if *they* sell that email address to others, then you have a way to track that down. If you find that in this latter case this happens, it's easy enough to change the alias to drop everything in /dev/null or some alternative mail folder that you can check and purge periodically as opposed to seeing crap in your main in-box. If you are so inclined, you can simply delete the alias, and the spam will just bounce off your mail server.

IMO, this works much better than munging your email address, as the fake address does work (as opposed to having a legit email sender try to figure out how to demunge your munged address), and it's rather easy to turn off the mail feed for a particularly spammed account.

Re:Spam is annoying, but (1)

osgeek (239988) | more than 13 years ago | (#504968)

Spam is about infringement of privacy and theft of resources. It's an infringement of privacy because your information: your name, address, telephone number, email address, etc. are yours. No one else has a right to catalog you or your habits without your explicit permission. No one has a right to contact you without a reasonable expectation that you desire the contact - and no, starting spam off with "I thought you might be interested in this" should not be good enough.

Spam is a theft of resources because unlike with even junk postal mail (which is already an infringement of privacy), the spammer pays for very little of the cost of sending you spam. The costs of their inordinate amount of bandwidth and storage usage are shouldered by you and me. When you consider that some users actually pay for their bandwidth by the byte, the theft becomes even more obvious - it's the same reason why making telemarketing calls to cell phones is illegal (in the USA).

Yes, it's sad that the government needs to step in. It's also sad that the there need to be cops, the FBI, and mall security dudes. Letting the "Industry" and the Internet regulate themselves just hasn't worked in this regard.

My toolkit against spam (2)

Brian Kendig (1959) | more than 13 years ago | (#504969)

I use:

The Spam Bouncer [] , a procmail script to identify incoming spam and either tag it, move it to a different mailbox file, or bounce it.

SpamCop [] , to file official complaints about the spam that gets through.

Sugarplum [] , to stick lots of irrelevant fake email addresses (and the addresses of other spammers) up on my web pages. If spammers want to harvest addresses from MY pages, they're going to fill up their databases with useless data and end up spamming each other.

And finally, Web Ad Blocking [] is a site which provides a new 'hosts' file which redirects major web page ad sites to, which removes a whole lot of banner ads from web pages.

Re:My Norwegian is a little rusty... (5)

Werail (237604) | more than 13 years ago | (#504970)

Full translation, the wording may not be perfect, but it's a long article and I'm not going to bother reading it yet another time.
Stop the e-mail adds.
By: Jon Martin Larsen

From now on, in Norway, nobody are allowed to send advertisement to your e-mail, unless you let them. Of course, it requires more than an EU adjusted law to stop the flow advertisement on the internet.

RECIEVES SPAM: Jan Ingvoldstad (28) are a student doing his main subject in computer science, and he recieves between thirty and fifty spam mails per week. Last weekend he got 17 such messages.

Make sure you trust who you give your e-mail address to. If you participate in newsgroup, mailing lists or competitions og gaming sites, then you are specially vulnerable.

The unsolicited mail which are sent to your e-mail are refered to as Spam. It has gotten it's name from an old Monthy Python sketch, where a bunch of viking constantly interrupts and sings Spam, spam, spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam.

The spam is distributed by more or less unscrupulous businesspeople which hopes to sell services and product. And their way of doing it is to fill your e-mail.

In many countries this is allready illegal, and from the 1st of march will Norway have one of the strictest regulations in this area. Other countries are Denmark, Finland, Germany, Austria and Italy. A new marketing law which is more suited to EU becomes operative and makes it illegal to send advertisments through e-mail or SMS (Short Messaging Service) unless the consumers has given their explicit permission up front.

Anyone that breaks the prohibition, will explain onesself to the consumers ombudsman. the sentences in the new marketing laws are also a lot stricter. You now risk getting large fines or up to six months in jail. Or both.

Norwegian companies and companies who markets themselves in Norway can be held responsible if they send you spam, provided you haven't explicitly requested it up front. "The consumer gets more power." concludes chief information officer Anne Nyeggen in the Data Inspectorate. "The new marketing law overlaps and surpasses the personal information law(NOTE: In Norway, it's hard getting personal information and you also need clearance for keeping databases) when it comes down to rights, and it results in a much stronger protection against advertisments and sales through e-mail and SMS."

"We think this is a kind of marketing that enters into the private areas, and thusly we think the recipients should give their permission in advance", says Harald Hilton. He is counceler in the consumer branch of the Children and family departement.

Some companies are allready following the lines of the new law. These are mainly compaines that operates partly or completely on the internet. One example is the new telephone directory on the net. You have to register to recieve information, and the e-mail address are your user name. The service is closed to accomodate the demands from the Data Inspectorate demands about protecting private information and to hinder abuse.

This means you have to identify yourself to get access. Telenor Media have been given permission to verify your identity by requesting your social security number and checking this against the national register. You are also explicitly asked if you want your e-mail to be available to others, both for private and for businesses. You are also specifically queried about if you wish to recieve unsolicited e-mails.

But Norwegian law does not govern the internet. When you are surfing the net, you have to watch out. If you find you are being massively spammed, it might be because you were careless.

When you are surfing on the net, you can easily be tempted by offers and links. You're surfing along, maybe downloading an image and you click on another link.

Don't be surprised if someone has a small data mining script on one of the pages. Such a program would attempt to gain access to your e-mail address through your browser. The address is stored, then sold, and sold and sold to everyone that wants it. And that's how you get offers from the strangest places about all kinds of weird things.

Re:Sneakemail (1)

Weh (219305) | more than 13 years ago | (#504971)

Here's another way of finding out how spammers got your address: When you're filling in your address on some form, capitalize some letters, the mail systems never uncapitalize them. So if you get spam with certain letters in your address capitalized you can trace it.

I suspect that the way spammers get my address most is by computer-illiterate friends (especially girls) using my address carelessly. Filling my address in forms to send me 'fun' stuff like on-line postcards, personality-tests etc. etc.

Re:Sneakemail (2)

finkployd (12902) | more than 13 years ago | (#504972)

I do this now since every single mail send to any address in my domain is forwarded to my one 'main' address. I usually fill out froms with emails such as or with the intent of finding out just who is leaking my name. Or course, this is rarely sucessfull since most spammers don't disclose recipient lists (I'm assuming they just BCC everyone) so I rarely see the address used to get to me, but it works every now and then.


You all really think this??? (1)

Gannoc (210256) | more than 13 years ago | (#504973)

You really think jailtime is an appropriate punishment for spam mail? What is spam mail? If the National Kidney foundation sends you an email asking you to donate your car, and ONE person out there complains because he was on an opt-out list, should government officers rush the NKF headquarters busting heads and arresting people?

I know that's an extreme/unrealistic example, but I don't think anything like this will ever happen in the US. I think most people in this country associate email with snail mail, and accept junk mail is a part of it. It needs to be associated with telemarketing, where lots of legislation is already in place to protect people from being harassed.

Re:This is almost useless (2)

Technician (215283) | more than 13 years ago | (#504974)

I lived in the Cayman Islands. It would be a horible place to spam from. (forged headers may be another thing). The only ISP granted by the government is the telco Cable and Wireless. Dialup is per minute. (CI not US$) There was no Fiber to the island when I lived there 4 years ago. The entire island was on 3 128K sat lines. Long latency and SLOW transfers are the norm. It would take forever to send any good sized spam batch. If you want to check the link speed, surf in. The Telco web site is The rates are

Base Price per month $17 for 10 hours Cost for additional hour $2.90 per hour does the same thing (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 13 years ago | (#504975)

My ISP (Demon Internet) gives you unlimited email addresses at your own domain (albeit a sub-domain of

So doe Freeservers [] , who hosts [] . Freeservers redirects all mail sent to your subdomain to the email address (a Hotmail/Yahoo account is OK) you gave when you signed up.

Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? []

Re:Spam is annoying, but (2)

British (51765) | more than 13 years ago | (#504976)

Free gift? I'd hate to have to purchase a gift someone is giving me.

CmdrTaco is a far left liberal (1)

MarNuke (34221) | more than 13 years ago | (#504977)

spectatorion, you have to rember CmdrTaco is a far left liberal. Liberals don't give a hoot about others personal freedoms, only thier own. If endless people are fine and put into jail for petty crimes it's all the better, as long as they aren't affected. But just like any liberal, he fail to see the long term affects that you have decussed in your post.

Regulations are bad. It puts more goverment in peoples lives, increase taxes (someone has to pay), and makes life hell for everyone. No one need move goverment. Goverment is not the answer. The only answer is people doing what is right. Not accepting spam, not making so damn easy to send spam, and not looking looking to the goverment to solve all of thier personal problems.

we can fight spam on our own (1)

LennyDotCom (26658) | more than 13 years ago | (#504978)

follow the link in my sig.
to findout how you can
fight spam

This is a law we DO need: (1)

Gannoc (210256) | more than 13 years ago | (#504979)

Spam email is pretty easily filtered. The big problem nowadays are the shotgun spammers. The guys who send "FREE XXX SITE!!!!" emails from everyone from to

I guarantee that the internet slowdown that results in is causing you a lot more delay and inconvienience than the occasional click of the delete button.

Use of the "SPAM" topic icon (3)

yerricde (125198) | more than 13 years ago | (#504980)

According to SPAM® and the Internet [] from
We do not object to use of this slang term to describe UCE, although we do object to the use of our product image in association with that term. Also, if the term is to be used, it should be used in all lower-case letters to distinguish it from our trademark SPAM, which should be used with all uppercase letters.
Rob, please change the topic icon before you get sued.
Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? []

vigilanty justice is the only way!!!!!!! (1)

LennyDotCom (26658) | more than 13 years ago | (#504981)

Follow the link in my sig.
to findout how you can help the cause

don't send me anything unless you ask first (1)

mark_lybarger (199098) | more than 13 years ago | (#504982)

what is all this complaining about email spam? i've seen this here too many times before, and i just don't get it. why should email be any different than any other medium? why not make it a law so that no one can send anything that they don't want? I'm sure we all get loads of crap in the mail box every day that we didn't ask for. we should send those people to jail and gouge them with huge fines. how about the grocery store ads that somehow appear every week in a plastic bag on the door? should those people check a list to see who wants the ads and who doesn't?

any regulation of this sort is going to cost tax dollars. how much money should the government spend to fill a jail with "spammers"? how much of your tax dollars do you want to be spent fighting spammers in the courts?
please, can't we all just filter the crap and get over it?

reply to spam please!!!!!! (1)

LennyDotCom (26658) | more than 13 years ago | (#504983)

Folow the link in my sig.
and you to can ruin a spammers day

Here in Florida (1)

Mynn (209621) | more than 13 years ago | (#504984)

we have an opt-out list that we can join, for a fee. It is sponsored by the telephone company.

However, it doesn't do us a blooody bit of good because telemarketing companies are not required to subscribe to it.

If we do that with email, it's the same thing...if headers are forged and companies don't use it, what's the use of the list? I'd like to bill some of the S0B's for the time and bandwith they are wasting.

Of course, that is the point, that they figure we will just ignore them rather than hunt them down. A few places I know have sold my email addy...I call them up personally and tell them to stop it; it usually works. Then again, that's what I have my "spam me" email account for.

Re:We need this here! (1)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 13 years ago | (#504985)

I agree, but it will never happen.

Those parasites, I mean Congressmen, in Washington won't pass such a law because they are getting too much money from the 'pro-spam' special interest group.

And even it were to come close to passing, someone would tack an unrelated addition on to it, to ensure that it dies.

And unless the 'law' allowed going after spammers in other countries, there would be a quick dash by all the spam-mongers to Mexico or Canada.

Don't get me wrong, though... I would love to see this, but I'm too much of a realist to expect it to happen.

Will the EU and the USA follow? (1)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 13 years ago | (#504986)

What is the likelyhood that the EU and USA (and other countries/unions) will follow? Because this means very little unless it is agreed upon by most governments:

I doubt they can enforce Norwegian law on a spammer not from Norway, so it's still kind of legal in the rest of the world. And this means nothing has really changed yet, although this might set things in motion. As long as it's legal *somewhere*, it will be a problem. Just look at all the Nazi sites in free speech USA and the high number of child porn sites in Russia.

Re:Email redirection? (1)

JCMay (158033) | more than 13 years ago | (#504987)

In other words, "Hey, I'm Norweigan, and I need to get around this pesky law. Please help me."

As Homey the Clown would say, "I don't think so."

Hm (1)

shinji1911 (238955) | more than 13 years ago | (#504989)

Fining spammers is difficult, since they are hard to find. Better to fine the shitty pr0n website or the asshole selling you the toner. If there are no _markets_ for spam, it should decrease.

As for the people doing it in house: same idea. Fine them into oblivion.

Big Brother (2)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 13 years ago | (#504991)

Neat way for the government to get a complete list of national email addresses.

Re:Email redirection? (1)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 13 years ago | (#504992)

In other words, "Hey, I'm Norweigan, and I need to get around this pesky law. Please help me."

No... It's "Can I pretend to be Norweigan, using a redirector, so I never have to see spam again?"

As Homey the Clown would say, "I don't think so."

I thought it was, "Homey don't play that."

Re:This would only benefit spammers (2)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 13 years ago | (#504995)

Who said spammers have morals?
Goes right along with the Rules of Spambotics: 1. Spammers lie. 2. When in doubt about spammer lies, see Rule 1. 3. Spammers are stupid. Also, what about all the spam that comes in from other countries? How will a single national jurisdiction have any impact on spam sent from outside it's borders? I'm in the US and feel that since a majority of spam originates from USA dialups, either state laws or a single federal law with the same penalties as the Junk Fax law (USC47.5.II.227) would have a significant effect on the spamload. However, it does nothing to combat spam sent from places like Brazil or Argentina (another small source of my spamload). Here's to hoping something happens in the US along these same lines. Rich

Sneakemail (4)

citizenc (60589) | more than 13 years ago | (#504999)

Sneakemail [] is a free service that you can use to generate disposable email addresses.

From their website:
These "sneak email" addresses are aliases of your real address, which is kept hidden.

You can enter these Sneakemail addresses into web forms or use them to contact e-businesses without the risk of your real address being abused or bought and sold.

Consider each Sneakemail address as an informal agreement between you and an online business or organization.

You agree to allow them to contact you through this address, and they in turn, by accepting and using this address, agree not to abuse this privilege by sending you unwanted solicitations or to give or sell your address to others.

The best way to understand Sneakemail, if you don't know the technology involved, is with a telephone analogy.

Imagine you discovered that, due to a technical error, the phone company freely gave you a new phone number whenever you asked and didn't revoke the previous number. If you kept asking you would accumulate a bunch of phone numbers that all went to your one phone line. You realized that, if you could find a phone that showed the number somebody was using to call you (reverse-caller-id?) you could do something very useful.

Every time you needed to fill out a credit card application, or a store clerk asks for your phone number, you would give out a unique phone number obtained just for that purpose. That way, if you start getting calls from telemarketers at that particular number you could call up the phone company and tell them to disconnect it. Not only do you succeed in stopping the annoying calls, but you know who gave them your number.

Sneakemail works just like an unlimited supply of phone numbers and a "reverse-caller-id" phone, except, of course, the phone numbers are sneakemail addresses, which you can create freely, and the special phone is your inbox. [] - Neat.


Re:This would only benefit spammers (1)

osgeek (239988) | more than 13 years ago | (#505005)

Fine. That'll make it all the easier for groups like ORBS [] and MAPS [] to isolate spam-friendly IP blocks and mail servers from the rest of the Internet.

I can sacrifice the off chance of receiving something from someone I know from Switzerland if it eliminates all spam sent to my account. Sooner or later, the netizens of Switzerland will demand that their own government take action as well to end the Internet embargo.

You need spamido. (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 13 years ago | (#505006)

Get a spamtrap account into their database. You then won't get any mail from them.

Re:My Norwegian is a little rusty... (1)

lars_stefan_axelsson (236283) | more than 13 years ago | (#505007)

Translators note: Well Norwegian isn't my native language, but anyway. Also there's a good word for "advertisement" that can be applied to UCE aka "junk mail" in the Nordic languages, I'm going to use "advertisement" through out, even though I know it's not current usage.

End email advertisement

by Jon Martin Larsen

From now on no-one will have the right to send "advertisements" to your mail box unless you allow them yourself---N.B. in Norway. It takes more than a Norwegian EU harmonised law to stop the stream of advertisements over the Internet.

Watch out to whom you give your email address. If you participate in news groups, mailing lists or raffles, then you are particularly at risk.

"Spam" is the term for unwanted advertisements directed towards your mail box. Spam (pronounced spam") was named after an old Monty Python sketch where a band of Vikings constantly interrupt the show and sing "Spam, spam, spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam."

This spam is sent out by more or less unscrupulous business men hoping to sell services and gods. Their means is to shower your mailbox with offers.

Illegal in many countries

In many countries spam is illegal, and from 1 March Norway enacts one of the strictest regulations in this area, as has Denmark, Finland, Germany, Austria, and Italy. A new more EU harmonised marketing law then comes into effect, and it forbidds advertisement via email and SMS (textmessages) unless the recipients have given their consent in advance.

Businesses that break the law have to deal with the public consumer "ombudsman". (A state official that investigates consumer complaints against businesses. Transl. Rem.) The penalties by the new marketing law have also been markedly stiffened. You now risk stiff fines or imprisonment up to six months. Or both.

Sharp slap (as in "on the wrist" Transl. rem.).

Norwegian businesses and businesses that market themselves in Norway thus gets slapped sharply if they send spam to you --- unless you have been asked beforehand. - "The consumers have greater power," states chief information officer Anne Nyeggen of the Norwegian Data Inspection Board. The new marketing law overlaps and extends the protection of personal information act when it comes to rights (for the consumer), and results in much stricter protection against advertisement and sales through email and SMS.

- "We mean that this is a type of marketing that intrudes into the private sphere, and therefore we wish the receivers to give their prior consent," says Harlad Hilton. He is an advisor to the child and family departments consumer protection board.

Individual enterprises have already begun to adhere to the new law. They are mainly enterprises that operate wholly or in part on the Internet. One example is the new "phone". Here you have to register to receive any information, and your email address is your username. The service is closed to meet the Norwegian Data protection boards demands on the protection of personal information, and avoid abuse.

Identifies you

This means that you have to identify yourself to gain access. Telenor Media have been given the right to verify your identity by asking you for your personal identification number (like, but not at all similar to the US soc. sec. no. transl. rem.) and verify this against the Norwegian population register. You are also asked whether you allow your email address to be passed on - both to individuals and businesses. You have to agree separately to recive product information and advertisement for the 'phone book' or Telenors other products.

But Norwegian law is not binding on the Internet. When you operate abroad on the net, you have to watch out. Often you have yourself to thank when you are being massively spammed.


When you surf the internet, you can easily be tempted by offers and links. You surf on, happily download an image on the way, and click on the next link.

Don't be surprised in someone have entered a small "hacker program" on one of the pages. The programs break into your browser and collect your email address. The address is recorded, and sold, and sold, and sold to anyone who wants it. That way you get email from the strangest senders, with the most unusual contents and offers.

Re:Sneakemail (1)

embo (133713) | more than 13 years ago | (#505008)

You can already do this yourself if your ISP uses qmail [] and allows you to edit your own .qmail files [] . (Pay attention to Section 4.1.5 on extension addresses)

Re:This would only benefit spammers (1)

YourFingerYouFool (74063) | more than 13 years ago | (#505009)

>Why would a spammer go out of their way to get a >load of addresses for people who are virtually >guaranteed to be unreceptive, hostile, or even >litiginous?

The biggest spammers market is spam. They sell addres lists, the more valid addresses they have the more their lists are worth

This is not the place for the government!!!! (1)

LennyDotCom (26658) | more than 13 years ago | (#505010)

This is the domain of the vigilanty

follow the link in my sig. for details

Re:This would only benefit spammers (1)

osgeek (239988) | more than 13 years ago | (#505011)

Your point is basically valid, but one thing to keep in mind is that the people harvesting addresses aren't necessarily the same people making the advertising decisions. Address harvesters just want to be able to say that they have lots of addresses. I've received lots of spam advertising "Millions of email addresses".

I'd imagine that these people aren't very worried about getting repeat business, since they're mostly fly-by-night operations.

Why not just fines (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 13 years ago | (#505012)

Six months of jail time? That seems more than a little extreme to me. Fines would be much more suited to the crime.

And watch the spammers just absorb those fines into their operating expenses. Jail time is the only way to discourage spamming.

bother of having to delete [spam] does not deserve the same kind of punishment as, say, rapists

spammers rape your wallet because it costs the ISP to receive spam (costs passed on to subscribers), and it costs subscribers per minute to download spam through the telco's phone lines. (Local telephone calls are AFAIK billed by the minute pretty much everywhere but North America.)

Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? []

Re:Spam is annoying, but (1)

ThomK (194273) | more than 13 years ago | (#505013)

Something like 90% of the spam is for tools or lists to create MORE spam

Um, no it isn't. It's XXX teenage girls who blah blah blah, or get your blah enlarged 2 times!, or get a college degree from a blah blah blah.

Maybe 5% is 'spamming tools', the rest is stuff that I've basically been seeing for years. Case in point: Here are two email's caught in todays spam net:
"FREE GIFT" For Visiting Our Site !!!
How To Make $80,000 QUICKLY on the Net...with...
Same Sh*t different day.

What to do about it (1)

rhadc (14182) | more than 13 years ago | (#505014)

Well, this isn't a fix-all, but community involvement would really help reduce spam. Here's how:

You receive spam. This particular piece of email is one you've recieved tens or hundreds of times. I have one that comes in regarding "U N I V E R S I T Y D I P L O M A S". You call the number and talk to the people. You may have to leave your phone number. Yes, I know they put you on a phone number list. When they call you back, keep them on the phone for a while.

For a week or two, I'd get calls from people who wanted to talk with someone who didn't live at my residence. They always asked for the same wrong person. I finally realized that they were saying my name wrong.
With that particular company, I spoke with the guy who called me back for 10-20 minutes. I gave him hell about the spam. I demanded that he not contact me again.
A week later, a woman from the same company called up. This time I spoke with her for 30-40 minutes. This is long distance for them, BTW. I told the woman that I would try to make it unfeasible for her to afford to do business using spam.

If just a small percentage of the slashdot users alone would do this, I think some of these high-spam senders would go away. I did this once, and I'll do it again. If you make it your habit that once a month or quarter you'll give your least-favorite spam company hell, you'll be helping everybody.


Re:Use of the "SPAM" topic icon (2)

dattaway (3088) | more than 13 years ago | (#505015)

Interesting. A whole website devoted to SPAM, the luncheon meat. Who would have thought? Like I'm going to have that urge in the middle of the night to look up for my cravings.

Too bad there isn't a dedicated site for Hershey's Chocolate Syrup (tm).

If you hate spam reply to it!!!!!!! (1)

LennyDotCom (26658) | more than 13 years ago | (#505016)

You should reply to any spam
you get yo can be a real pain for spammers
you can even cost them money!!!
follow the link in my sig. for details

Re:Hm (1)

shinji1911 (238955) | more than 13 years ago | (#505017)

No. You don't understand what I'm saying. I have nothing against any type of content, irregardless. I would have just as much issue with Amnesty International paying someone to spam me as Joe's XXX website spamming me.

I'm saying cut off the source of the funding for the spam -- the companies that employ the spammers, and the problem goes away.

I don't like this... (2)

Millennium (2451) | more than 13 years ago | (#505018)

...The spam-banning is a very good idea, but it has to be implemented very carefully, so as not to tread on freedoms.

The way I'd do it is as follows. All advertising sent over the Internet, solicited or not, must have the option attached in some manner to not receive advertisements from that company at any future date. Whether this is via a Web form, replying to an e-mail with specific commands, or whatever does not matter, so long as the option exists.

Once a user opts out, they are sent one final message confirming this, as a sort of receipt so they can prove that they opted out. If the company ever sends them advertising over that channel again, they can be held liable for harassment.

Another possible implementation of this would instead require all direct-marketing advertising to be opt-in; a company may not send advertising to someone who has not previously given his or her explicit consent. This one leaves more of a bad taste in my mouth, though; it has the potential to set some rather nasty precedents.

A third approach would be to ban direct-marketing outright, on the grounds that it is necessarey to violate a person's privacy in order to obtain the requisite data. This one's only arguably good, though. It's true that no speech is actually being banned (you simply have to resort to mass-marketing techniques in order to say it, in the case of advertisements), but again some very dangerous precedents could be set here.

The fact is, we do have a right to free speech, and this is a Very Good Thing. But we also have the right to not be harassed, and that's basically what spam does. It's all about striking a good balance. I'm not sure what the ideal balance is. Anyone else have thoughts on this?

Someone in Norway wanna trade email addresses? (1)

Steepe (114037) | more than 13 years ago | (#505019)

I'll give you one on my server in the US for one on your server in Norway. :)

Would be nice to have one address that doesn't get spam.

Re:Big Brother (2)

dattaway (3088) | more than 13 years ago | (#505020)

...allowing the government to be a spammer too!

It *is* an EU regulation (3)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 13 years ago | (#505023)

This is an implementation of an EU regulation. Norway is not a proper EU member, but is a member of the broader EFTA group, and tend to implement EU regulations even more than most EU member.

how enforceable is this? (1)

Apps (21158) | more than 13 years ago | (#505025)

I don't speak (or read) Norwegian but...

If a spammer from the USA (most seem to be from there) spams someone on this list how are they going to be fined?
Surely it is unrealistic to try a prossecution or even an extradition.

Re:Spam is annoying, but (2)

mrfiddlehead (129279) | more than 13 years ago | (#505027)

We all know what spam is. It's unsolicited email. The headers are hacked. The people doing it are clueless. Many of them are criminals who are just out to make a fast buck. No one will ever convince me that this is a legitimate way to make money. Some days I think these fsckwits deserve a good public flogging - something that alarms my normally liberal sensibilities, ie., something is wrong here.

The government is necessary in some instances of life to instill a sense of control. The constant blathering about freedom on the internet will lead to the death of the beast unless we realise who we have to protect ourselves from (the bloody corporations who are trying to take over the net). The government protects citizens from unscrupulous telephone solicitation, so why not expect the same for spammers?

There is a common standard (1)

CyberQ (304799) | more than 13 years ago | (#505030)

There is a minimal common standard in the EU. Article 7 of the e-commerce directive [] demands that "unsolicited commercial communication" must be clearly identifiable as such and spammers have to check robinson lists regularly. However it was left to the member states to set sanctions for non-compliance.

Resources... (2)

beebware (149208) | more than 13 years ago | (#505031)

Don't forget that SpamCop [] can help with spam (although it appears down ATM), while [] can aid tracking down spammers.

There is also an article on The Register [] about Europe considering a ban on spam.

I've [] also got a collection of Spam resources [] , along with details of WIndows spam prevention [] and details of spam filters [] .

Richy C.

It is *not opt-out, it is opt-in. (3)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 13 years ago | (#505032)

The submission text is misleading, you have to explicitly opt-in in order to get spam.

Denmark has a similar law, allthough it only covers UCE, not UBE, since it is part of the marketing law. We also have an opt-out system for snailmail, including a central list for direct snailmail.

Identifying Marks (3)

AirSupply (210301) | more than 13 years ago | (#505036)

To the extent that I've used RADIUS protocol, the "reverse caller ID" thing is called DNIS (Dialed Number Incoming String, or something like that), although this might be a vendor-specific term. It's also called "Called-Station-ID", as opposed to "Calling-Station-ID" which is what we call "Caller ID" in common parlance. Needless to say, the ISP I work for actually uses these numbers to determine different classes of service. In principle, it allows you to give a busy signal to one number whilst allowing another number access, because you can actually get access to this info before you tell the other end whether you are willing to accept the call.

That would be great to have at home, wouldn't it? You get a range of 100 telephone numbers, and you can assign them how you like. Based on the incoming number (and the caller ID too, if you like) you can give an engaged signal, direct to a screening service, have the phone ring with one of several identifying tones, etc. The possibilities are endless! Pity it's only available on ISDN-like connections, and usualy only the really high bandwidth ones. Still, sooner or later...

But this whole "identifying marks" thing is something you can use in a broad sense. I'm one of the privileged many (many on Slashdot at least) that can create new email addresses at whim because I have one or more domain names and administrative control over the mail for that domain. But how about physical mail addresses?

I use a PO Box, of course, but that doesn't stop companies sending me junk. But what I make a policy of doing now is tainting every postal address I'm obliged to give out. The address for a PO Box is very short, and it usually gives me one spare line to fill in with irrelevant data. I use this to fill in a "care of" address. Thus, if I'm obliged to give my postal address to because my employer gave me credit there as a Christmas gift, I tell them that I'm "Air Supply, c/o C.D.Overmeyer, PO Box blah blah etc". The "C.D.Overmeyer" guff is enough to remind me who I gave that address to, and to write "return to sender" on unpoened envelopes to that address if they start spamming me postally.

As an aside, the most annoying junk mail I get in my PO Box is the stuff that the Post Office puts there, having accepted money from someone else to do so. I think if I'm paying for the box I should be able to say no to this, but I've yet to take it up with the staff. In the meantime, I hurl said junk back through the PO Box onto their floor. Why should I put their junk in the bin for them? Always aim for the bottom line. If everyone did it, they might at least ask us all whether we wanted the junk in the first place instead of stuffing it straight in.

I hate spam, in all its forms.

Re:Big Brother (1)

sveinb (305718) | more than 13 years ago | (#505037)

Point 1: Yes, they protect me from telemarketing from foreign companies, which has not happened to me yet. At the same time, they make it possible (for the state-owned telco) to check who's telephone numbers I search for.

Point 2: Yes, these _registers_ might be publicly available, but only the state has the authority to demand the _tapes_, i.e. during a criminal investigation. This register serves the government, not me. I can't avoid the cameras if I want to live in a city.

Re:You all really think this??? (1)

Paulo (3416) | more than 13 years ago | (#505038)

If the National Kidney Fundation send me an email that I have not asked for, using an address that they harvested without my knowledge, it IS spam. Period.
Spam isn't defined by its commercial nature; it's defined by the fact that it's sent to you without your permission, and WITH YOU PAYING ITS COST. And if you disagree with this, wait a moment until I send you these 2256 chain letters concerning women in Afghanistan and dying children who want to receive postcards from all around the world...

Re:Here in Florida (1)

mrfiddlehead (129279) | more than 13 years ago | (#505047)

Florida is not renowned for being a forward thinking democratic part of the world at the moment, I'm afraid. Of course, I think that opt-out lists are dangerous. I'd be much more comfortable with opt-in lists.

That would be a lonely list.

It's opt-in, not opt-out. (2)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 13 years ago | (#505048)

The submission text is misleading.

This is almost useless (2)

Caid Raspa (304283) | more than 13 years ago | (#505049)

If you get spammed by someone sitting in Taiwan, how do you sue him? (Assuming you can track him)

Even if US and EU banned spamming, what would be the result?

Small spamming companies would be founded in Cayman Islands, I guess.

Norwegian Hotmail Service? (1)

proletariat (208581) | more than 13 years ago | (#505052)

Is there a Norwegian Hotmail? I'd like to get an account and add it to Norway's no spam list.

Now THAT's what WE need to do... (1)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 13 years ago | (#505054)

...declare spam illegal and ban it like the filth that it is.

Sure, mod me down as redundant, but I said it my way.

Re:Spam is annoying, but (2)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 13 years ago | (#505055)

Spam is certainly very annoying, but is it sacrificing too much of our Internet Freedom to let governments fine and even jail people for spamming? I mean, everyone always talks about freedom on the Internet, keeping it unregulated, etc. Why should this be different? This is a huge regulation. Who is to say exactly what spam is? And what would prevent the state from jailing me for sending a friend an unsolicited email about a product i recently saw and thought he might like to buy? A little far-fetched, I admit, but this just seems like a dangerous road to go down. I say turn the filter on and keep government out of the Internet.
The defining requirement about spam is its unsolicited nature. Did I ask you to send me that ad that you thought I might be interested in? Do I even know you? I would think that if I know you, I'd certainly make an exception if you send me an ad you found to be interesting. I'd also bet that being that I already know and respect your opinion on some things, I'd not consider your email spam.

However, consider the facts concerning current spam: It's usually from some unknown source, complete with forged envelope headers, sent from some free ISP using dialups via open relays on the Western Pacific Rim. Is there any question about the label UCE on messages that fit this criteria?

As I said earlier, make an antispam law similar to the Junk Fax law, where the complainant can sue in small claims for $50 per message ( would owe me about $1000 right now) and give ISP's the legal right to charge cleanup fees. Make it so that it begins to cost spammers money to send their garbage and you'd see the spamload die a slow, horrible death.

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