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Anti Spam Bills Continue

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the make-money-buy-viagra-see-naked dept.

Spam 251

Brian D. writes "Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M.'s has a great bill -- $500 penalty for each piece of spam a company sends. It passed overwhelming in the House last year, but this year businesses are being persuaded to "take off the gloves" to kill it." It makes interesting points, for example differentiating between spam, and spam with bogus headers (for which I think a $500 is to light. Punishment should be sweet and simple: launch spammers into the sun).

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I just don't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#230007)

Ok... this will of course get immediately modded to flamebait, because the moderators are all crackheads... but... I have to say this anyway.

Now.. I hate spam just as much as the next guy and all, but I don't see the difference between spam, and regular snail mail junk mail. What is the difference? None of you are hammering your representatives to pass a law making it illegal to send unsolicited advertisements thru the US Postal system? What is the difference? Tell me. Don't start to bitch about how spam clogs up your mail servers, blah blah blah, because we all know thats not the case. You can say that all you want, but give me a break... whats the percentage of mail traffic going thru your server that is spam? 10-20% at the max? Big fucking deal you whining babies. Ehhh... I don't know why I'm wasting my time... This is going to get modded down so fast most people will never read it anyway. Fucking crackhead moderators.

Re:Expensive Flame (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#230008)

You use a $500 bill to light things on fire? That's a little expensive.
In fact, the provocative french singer - composer Serge Gainsbourg did this once on TV with FRF 500 as a protest on taxes. When criticized for burning money on another TV show, he signed a FRF 500000 cheque for a charity organization.

Re:I have played both sides of this fence (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#230009)

I admit it. I worked for a company that spammed people often. They got alot of business from it thus they continued to do it.

Don't worry, if you only worked for the company, we'll only send you to the moon, not all the way to the sun.

If you are paying per e-mail you receive, paying for extra bandwidth from spam etc. Go get yourself a new ISP

And you call us ignorant. Who do you think pays for all the bandwidth that spammers use on the Internet backbone? ISPs. Who do you think pays for those ISPs? Us ISP users.

It doesn't matter whether ISPs bill us directly for the amount of bandwidth used, because we end up paying for it when they have to charge us extra to upgrade their connections just so we can receive all the damn spam that assholes like your ex-employer send out.

Personally I disagree with anti-spam laws, because there are better technical solutions; but people who don't understand how spam costs us money are far more ignorant than those who call for laws to protect them.

Spam = Computer Crime (4)

Frater 219 (1455) | more than 13 years ago | (#230010)

It's been said many times before, but here goes ...

When your telemarketer calls me, you pay the long-distance fees.

When you send me bulk postal mail, you pay for the printing and the postage. (Indeed, bulk postal mail ends up subsidizing non-bulk mail, since it comes pre-sorted and thus costs the Postal Service much less.)

When you send a messenger around town who hangs a leaflet on my doorknob, you pay for the printing and the messenger.

When you send me spam email, I pay. I pay in ISP fees, which go to defray the costs of bandwidth consumed and disk space taken up. When you spam my work account, my employer pays. When you spam a public university or government account, the taxpayer pays.

You have every right to put your message out to the world at your own expense. You have no right to put it out at my expense, my employer's expense, or the taxpayer's expense. Spam is theft -- or, more accurately, spam is piecewise mailbombing; and mailbombing is a computer crime.

government misdirection (1)

Binder (2829) | more than 13 years ago | (#230012)

I believe this displays a key defficiency in our government system. The people don't want the spam, business wants us to recieve the spam. Strangely they decide to side with business, so much for democracy.

The issue with spam faxes is much the same except that businesses didn't want to pay for that particular spam. Therefore a law got passed preventing it.

dagone it! When will these people get a clue.


Re:I just don't get it (2)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 13 years ago | (#230014)

I know this is a troll, but anyway...

Junk mail advertisers pay for postage. They're not a drain on shared resources -- they pay their own way.

Spammers use my own resources to deliver their message, and that costs me money both directly (I have to transfer and store it, you know) and indirectly (so does my ISP, and I get stuck with the infrastructure improvement bill).

Re:I just don't get it (1)

Logan (7529) | more than 13 years ago | (#230019)

How is online spam any different from junk mail, then? In both cases, the spammer is paying to send the stuff. If you look closely at the situation, you'd see that the hidden costs of junk mail are really the same as the costs you perceive with online spam. Perhaps you should convince ISPs to charge spammers more. I bet most do. If they're sending bulk email, have them pay bulk email prices.


I keep launching spammers into the sun... (4)

tuffy (10202) | more than 13 years ago | (#230022)

...but they just keep bouncing off the case of my Enterprise 4500 server. It's turning into quite a mess in there.

Re:Not to mention tough to find (1)

Lx (12170) | more than 13 years ago | (#230027)

I'd lean towards lack of use. It's amazingly risky to carry around that much money in a single bill. Would -you- carry around a 10,000 bill, and risk forgetting to take it out when you washed your jeans?


To: Congress / Subject: [Fwd:] Hot sexxx action (2)

tregoweth (13591) | more than 13 years ago | (#230031)

I'd start forwarding my spam to the honorable congressmen who support it, but Barr [] 's Web site doesn't have an email address I can find (perhaps because of spam? ), and the link on Goodlatte [] 's page to "e-mail Bob" goes to a lookup page for representatives' mailing addresses. Morons. (And what's with the cookies on the House Web site?)

I suppose the Securities Industry Association [] ("We are engaged and active in trying to slow this train down") will have to do.

Cost them money today (5)

rw2 (17419) | more than 13 years ago | (#230036)

memepool at this [] link the other day. Brilliant idea actually. Goto charges per hit, the spam software makers are paying top dollar for hits. So hit em! Right where it hurts.

Poliglut []

The thing that really irks me... (5)

Darth Maul (19860) | more than 13 years ago | (#230040)

What I really hate about spam is the fact that they provide this statement at the end going on and on about how this mail conforms to bill such and such, and if you want removed, just send an e-mail to

So I send an e-mail, and of course a minute later get it bounced back because it's an unknown address.

How do you fight that besides sorting through headers and writing to or whatever? Even if they pass some $500 fine per piece of spam, how can you enforce it?

Please re-think your position (3)

nd (20186) | more than 13 years ago | (#230046)

Nearly everyone here seems to have defaulted to the view that anti-spam laws are a great thing. Why is this? What if it were a law related to content filtering? What if it were something like the DMCA?

Face it, government intervention and legislation on the internet is bad. Very bad. You can't have it both ways. If you allow the government to say what's okay and what's not okay to e-mail, then you give up freedom. Just because spam is annoying and everybody hates it doesn't change this. We need to handle these matters our own ways, and many are already doing that (spam filters, organizations that provide black list services, etc.).

Don't fall into the trap thinking that the government is the solution. I'm sure most of you can imagine what a nightmare enforcing something like this is anyway (forged spam to get someone else fined, whatever).

Re:Problem with the "Sun" solution (2)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 13 years ago | (#230047)

No way, I want to warm my bones in a bath of neutrinos riven from the atoms of Spamford's body.

Either that, or give them all toothbrushes and chisels and have them remove Chernobyl.

This is excellent (1)

LennyDotCom (26658) | more than 13 years ago | (#230050)

lets hope it does some good
but if you want to be a little more active you can follow the goatsex free link in my sig to find out more about ways to screw spammers

Expensive Flame (2)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 13 years ago | (#230051)

"a $500 is to light"

You use a $500 bill to light things on fire? That's a little expensive.

Re:Problem with the "Sun" solution (1)

macsforever2001 (32278) | more than 13 years ago | (#230053)

The funniest thing about this comment is the moderation. It is given a 5, *insightful*!! Even funnier is that I agree with that moderation.

Off shore open relays? (2)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 13 years ago | (#230063)

How can a $500 fine be assessed against an off shore entity? Honestly abot 90% of my or more is open relay spam. Most of it comes from somewhere in Korea, China, or Taiwan (no offense guys). What's to stop these mass mailers from going overseas for their bulk mailing?


Re:Lose the icon, Rob (1)

sirinek (41507) | more than 13 years ago | (#230064)

Do you really think CmdrTaco and Hemos (and most of the rest of /. staff) actually *read* the postings? I've never seen anyone besides maybe HeUnique post anything in the comments.

Re:Nice Try (2)

Steve B (42864) | more than 13 years ago | (#230065)

If spammers are trying to make money, there has to be some point of contact for them to pick it up. If the law clearly recognizes spam as theft of services, they can be caught at that point.

People who are merely trying to spread some message could use some haven (more likely, given the usual annoyed/receptive ratio of spam, the smart ones would send their opponent's message to irritate people in the other direction).

Re:I just don't get it (2)

wiredog (43288) | more than 13 years ago | (#230066)

The difference between spam and regular junk mail is the cost, and who pays it. Spam costs the sender a very small fraction of a penny to send, but the receiver pays with his time. . Junk mail costs several pennies to send. Believe me, if some of the people here got the volume of junk mail that they get of spam, their postmen would go on strike. Rough, back of the envelope calculations follow.

Cost, at 46 cents/minute (what my employer thinks I'm worth) it costs me roughly 3 cents to deal with each spam. The sender paid, what, about 1/1000 cents to send it. So, it costs me more to deal with it than they paid to send it. Same amount of time to deal with junk mail, but cost the sender 34 cents to send it. So they pay more to send it than I pay to deal with it.

Or, you can look at it this way:

100 mails/day*14g/mail=1400g/day. Three pounds for those non-metric people out there. That, and the cost, makes junk mail very self limiting. There is not a similar limitation on spam.

Re:What do they pay for a 1-800 call? (3)

droleary (47999) | more than 13 years ago | (#230068)

It is quite likely illegal to demon dial them, so I would not suggest it. What I have my computer do instead is filter spam and, for messages containing toll free numbers, call them and play the Spam skit. One message inviting me to call equals one call from my computer. That seems fair to me. One spammer apparently spammed me enough to get sufficient calls to actually call me back and (he claimed) start doing a phone harassment investigation on me. I called him back and told him to go for it! If I only call (once) when I'm invited to call, I don't see a problem with it. If it comes to a legal battle, I'm quite willing to nail this jerk and set a precedence for email harassment.

Re:I just don't get it (1)

Monte (48723) | more than 13 years ago | (#230069)

How is online spam any different from junk mail, then? In both cases, the spammer is paying to send the stuff.

Very wrong.

With physical junk mail the mailer is paying the entire cost of delivery, whereas a spammer just pays for an ISP connection. All the equipment and infrastructure that the spam goes through was paid for with private funds, for purposes other than delivering ads for Viagra and "Hot Teen Action". All the infrastructure and equipment that delivers snail mail was paid for via postage.

Re:I just don't get it (2)

Monte (48723) | more than 13 years ago | (#230071)

The biggest difference has already been pointed out to you: who bears the cost. But there's a second important difference: the legitimacy of the product being offered. Most spam offerings are at best seedy and at worst illegal: pr0n, get-rich-quick scams, gambling, drugs, snake-oil, warez, etc. I don't get much physical mail trying to sell these sorts of things, and I don't get much spam trying to sell me a pizza or a new brand of laundry detergent.

A better punishment (2)

First Person (51018) | more than 13 years ago | (#230074)

I'd settle for recieving a cubic centimeter of flesh for each spam message sent. This way, spammers can send me as many trash emails as they wish, but the costs are a bit more personal.

Re:Lose the icon, Rob (5)

DzugZug (52149) | more than 13 years ago | (#230080)

Dear Rob,

This is to inform you that you are inviolation of the DMCA for using the SPAM(tm) product image in association with the term SPAM when refering to UCE, thereby circumventing our techonological means to prevent unauthorized association. Our technological means are as follows: we told you not to.

Federal law clearly states that if you do not cease and disist this association you have no chance to survive make your time.

Hormel Foods

Re:Problem with the "Sun" solution (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#230081)

> > [spammer, 55-gal barrel, cinderblock, Marianas Trench, do what comes naturally
>> Commentators here could have fun speculating as to whether the pressure or asphixya kill the spammers first.
> Either way, what bliss.

And just think how many spammers we'd have to throw overboard to get a valid statistical sample to definitively answer the question!

Spam Avoidance (2)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 13 years ago | (#230082)

I'm beginning to think a lot of companies like spam, similar to how anti-virus companies like viruses. Makes them money. I just priced some email filtering software for Exchange and it's like $6K! You've got to be kidding me.

So... this is another win for free software. Instead of spending $6K on commercial-ware I'm building a Linux system to act as a mail relay and start using RBL and some simple content filtering. What are people's results with doing similar things? No one here cared about doing such things until the VPs started getting XXX teen hot pr0n spam. :)

I have a better idea (1)

sirket (60694) | more than 13 years ago | (#230085)

I am simply going to forward Bob Barr every piece of spam I get. I think if we all did this he might change his tune and finally support anti-spam legislation.


Got one from AT&T today! (2)

Gorimek (61128) | more than 13 years ago | (#230086)

That's pretty bad. They're a pretty established and legitimate company. Looks like spam is getting mainstream.

Subject was "Your Family Trip" if you want to compare notes.

What do they pay for a 1-800 call? (2)

Gorimek (61128) | more than 13 years ago | (#230087)

I usually try to call the 1-800 if they give one and I feel vengeful. Anyone know how much they pay for each call? Anyone got software that keeps calling them through the night? Is that somehow illegal?

Simpler solution (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 13 years ago | (#230089)

Wood Chipper. Feet first. Use the resulting mulch to grow something useful.

Yeah, but... (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 13 years ago | (#230092)

Anything that potentially legitamizes spam is a bad thing. Most legitamate companies won't spam you because they know it'll alienate more customers than it gets them. If we put a legitamate air on spam, that could change and we don't want that.

Problem with the "Sun" solution (5)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 13 years ago | (#230094)

It takes a lot of delta V to send someone to the sun. Also, unless you encase them in a life support system, they won't live long enough to feel the heat. Even at $500 per spam, the fines would not pay for punishment.

I suggest something equally gruesome, and much cheaper. Weld the spammers into 55 gallon drums weighted down with cinder blocks and drop them into the sea above the Marianas Trench. For a little more, you could add a little window through which the spammer could watch the sunlight diminish and die and they plummet into the icy depths.

Commentators here could have fun speculating as to whether the pressure or asphixya kill the spammers first.


Man this is ridiculous... (1)

jgerman (106518) | more than 13 years ago | (#230105)

... I keep seeing these arguments about how it costs you your time and money to recieve spam as opposed to the sender and it's a good thing the government is doing something about it. Bullcrap. You put your servers out on a public network. It is your responsibility to filter your own unwanted mail. It is PUBLIC. You have no say in the matter. If you're so concerned about it, that filter your mail with increasing restrictions until you're happy.

Not to mention the fact that you are allowing the government the power to effectively censor email. Where is this going to end?

I always find it amazing that people are so narrow minded and hypocritical that they only see their side of the issue. The majority of the people that are saying these spam laws are a good thing would be screaming bloody murder if there was about laws passed to censor cryptography from email.

Launching them into the sun? (1)

(void*) (113680) | more than 13 years ago | (#230112)

After This guy [] has already spent so much to get there? The injustice of it all!

Re:How... (1)

13013dobbs (113910) | more than 13 years ago | (#230113)

Each peice of mail has 'Recieved' headers that allow you to trace the path a message took to reach you. Unless the spammer is relaying thru an anonymous open relay, like some older versions of Sendmail, the originating IP can be found. With this you can track this to the ISP that controls that Ip and thus find the spammer. In many cases you will need to subpoena the ISP for the info. But, if you are suing, getting a subpoena should not be too hard.

A bit of caution about SpamCop (1)

13013dobbs (113910) | more than 13 years ago | (#230114)

Spamcop does make mistakes when parsing headers. This has causes several ISPs to blackhole all SpamCop based complaints. There are several spam header parsers out there. I would suggest learning about headers and using one ot those tools as a guide. Let the parser look at the headers and attempt to ID the spammer, but you should look at it and make sure it is OK before sending it out. This will cut down on misfires and help you learn headers to the point where you do not need the parser.

Re:Or use SpamCop (1)

13013dobbs (113910) | more than 13 years ago | (#230115)

guess you could file a suit against a "John Doe" and have the court issue the necessary orders to obtain the identity, of course.

That is what you will have to do in most cases. If you are suing a spammer, getting a subpoena should not be too hard.

Not to mention tough to find (2)

Galvatron (115029) | more than 13 years ago | (#230119)

$500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills haven't been issued since 1969, supposedly due to "lack of use," though the more cynically minded (such as myself) believe it was more likely because it's harder to track paper money than it is to track checks, credit cards and wire transfers.

If you're curious, you can see graphics of these old bills [] .

The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.

Re:Spam = Computer Crime (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 13 years ago | (#230120)

Something just occurred to me: Is any portion of the increased price of stamps related to an rise in the amount of nonstamped mail that has to be processed and delivered by the postal service?

Commendable, but... (2)

ouroboros (117584) | more than 13 years ago | (#230122)

A little while back, there was a story posted about an LA Times reporter who followed up on all SPAM that came into his mailbox for a week. I noticed that nearly all the spammers fell into a small number of categories:

1. Multi-level marketing promotions, sometimes referred to as "pyramid" schemes.

2. Businesses either blatantly illegal, banned from doing business in certain states, or operating offshore.

3. Businesses making false or questionable claims.

In each of these cases, there are already other legal recourses, and in many instances listed by the author, some legal action had in fact been taken. Yet they still persist in sending SPAM.

In short, our legal system is already overwhelmed by these losers, and passing another law (even if it is a good one) isn't likely to have a significant effect. What we really need is to increase significantly the chances of actually CATCHING and CONVICTIING the scofflaws. That's the only thing that really will help.

Legal Recourse (2)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 13 years ago | (#230129)

Will services like SpamCop [] now be in a type of "repo-man" business? Trying to get some of the $500 cut if they help catch a spammer?

Will laws like this legal recourse for spam bounty hunters?

I hope so...

Anything is better than nothing (1)

kill-hup (120930) | more than 13 years ago | (#230130)

Hopefully this will provide some help in the fight against SPAM. We have laws that help fight fax SPAM and phone SPAM, why not email SPAM? SPAM costs us money (time is money), and it is getting to the point that "just hit delete" doesn't cut it anymore.

A clear message need to be sent to spammers (and would-be spammers) that this deluge of crap email will not be tolerated. The main selling point to spammers now is that it's free, but wait till someone slaps them with a huge lawsuit ;)


What really pissing me off (1)

spiro_killglance (121572) | more than 13 years ago | (#230131)

Is when Spammers nick addresses to use as the fake senders or reply-to address. I got 248 emails to my demon account in 10 hours, all from postmaster and other autorepliers from around the world.

Our company has twice been used as a mail relay host, when mail relaying was left on our mail server, hogging our line and stopping any of our employees checking there mail. Annoyingly after we tracked down the spammers to a dial-up account in Canada using netstat, the ISP refused to give us the offenders details.

The second time we got hit it was a new email server that our SUN reseller had only installed a week before. These guys must be checking mail servers for open relays every minute of the day.

If I ever find a spammer like these fsckers i'll personally put on a spiked iron gauntlet and anally fist them to death. After having first removed their eyes and poured vandaloo sauce into the sockets. You don't even want think about what i've got planned for their genitials.

Re:Problem with the "Sun" solution (1)

Exatron (124633) | more than 13 years ago | (#230133)

Commentators here could have fun speculating as to whether the pressure or asphixya kill the spammers first.

Either way, what bliss.

Or use SpamCop (4)

yerricde (125198) | more than 13 years ago | (#230134)

Of course, when forged headers are used (as is mostly the case) you rely on the cooperation of the ISP to obtain the users identity.

Or use SpamCop [] to parse the headers and automatically route the spam to the abuse department of the ISP where it originated.

Lose the icon, Rob (5)

yerricde (125198) | more than 13 years ago | (#230135)

According to Hormel Foods' SPAM Trademark Policy [] , "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." Hormel just doesn't want SPAM Luncheon Meat to be confused with UCE.

Re:What did the sun ever do to you? (1)

claar (126368) | more than 13 years ago | (#230136)

Whatever has Detroit done to deserve such punishment? Plus, it's just North of Canada

Hm.. maybe Detroit would be a good choice..

Legit vs Spoofed (1)

austinij (139193) | more than 13 years ago | (#230143)

I hate to admit it, but I don't mind legit spam. Say I sign up for an account with a website, I fully expect them to send me information via email. I also expect them to respect my wishes if I unsubscribe, etc. Spoofed spam (spam with forged hearers, email address, ip addresses, etc) I fully support maximum punishment by law.

Re:Lose the icon, Rob (2)

fleener (140714) | more than 13 years ago | (#230144)

Hormel should simply create and sell its own bulk e-mail software and ride the wave. They've been in business since 1891. Who else would know more about Spam?

Brilliant Idea! (1)

Mr_Perl (142164) | more than 13 years ago | (#230145)

Punishment should be sweet and simple: launch spammers into the sun

Yet another well reasoned and insightful solution by Taco.

Pun intended. Deal with it.

$500 is not enough! (2) (142825) | more than 13 years ago | (#230146)

How about $500 plus attorney fees and costs?

But, that might start TV ads that say, "You have been SPAMMED, we can get you money -- call 1-800-SUE-THEM" or "Show SPAMMERS that you mean business call David Pitard. He will get you money."

Re:Cost them money today (5)

monkeyfamily (161555) | more than 13 years ago | (#230152)

Whoops - thought the prev. comment would link to the script I found somewhere a few weeks ago - so here it is on my little server: [] - it'll crawl the top 10-20 entries on the "Bulk Email Software" category of Goto, pretending to be a real user-agent and "visiting" all the links that cost 'em money. Run it as often as you can, and they'll all go out of business! -MF

Re:Simpler solution (1)

DestructioN (163267) | more than 13 years ago | (#230153)

No! Sell the resulting mulch to Hormel. They'll know what to do with it... ;)
--- is running Apache/1.3.6 (Unix) on FreeBSD

great quote (2)

alarmo (168648) | more than 13 years ago | (#230154)

Legislation should be narrowly targeted to provide law enforcement with the tools they need to combat abuses without opening the floodgates to frivolous litigation or interfering with legitimate uses of e-mail for marketing purposes," said the [competing] bill's sponsor, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. - (emphasis mine)

Um. Excuse me. I thought that was the point? :)

Re:The thing that really irks me... (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 13 years ago | (#230155)

More fun (only do with a disposable address):

Quote S1618 back at them. They usually don't follow the full restrictions of the bill and hence are "liable" for $15K per message.

(Yes, I know it's not a law, but it's fun scaring the shit out of them)

Re:I just don't get it (2)

Halo- (175936) | more than 13 years ago | (#230157)

In the US, the Postal Service is completely funded by the sale of postage. (Not taxes, etc...) The revenue brought in by "bulk mailers" helps them keep afloat. (Though stamps keep creeping up a penny...)
My problem with spam is that there is NO compensation for resources consumed. Bandwidth costs, infrastructure costs, administration costs.

The spammer provides no support for these services. I hate junk mail as much as the next guy, but at least it has some (slight) value.

I think George Carlin said it best (1)

SnapperHead (178050) | more than 13 years ago | (#230159)

We need to bring back tar and feathering (or would that be tar gzip and feater ?), beheadings, boiling people in oil, and crusifictions. (How ever you spell it)

No, this is not OT or a troll post. I am being quite serious, I think the problem in the world is that there isn't enough capital punishments. If someone does somethign seriously wrong, you beat that seneseless with a baseball bat. With in a few years, people would stop doing stuiped things in fear.

until (succeed) try { again(); }

why not develop a new mail protocol? (5)

hex1848 (182881) | more than 13 years ago | (#230161)

We've been seeing major problems with email protocols for years now. SPAM and forged headers are just some of the many problems that the current infrastructure possesses. It seems to me that a new secure mail protocol could be developed that would solve many of these problems and keep all the medalling Feds out of everyone's business.

Re:The thing that really irks me... (1)

Kazymyr (190114) | more than 13 years ago | (#230166)

Don't be too sad, man - if it didn't bounce back, you'd be (maybe) taken off a list, but added to 10-20 others...

Re:Or use SpamCop (2)

egjertse (197141) | more than 13 years ago | (#230171)

Or use SpamCop to parse the headers and automatically route the spam to the abuse department of the ISP where it originated.

Yes, but the issue here was squeezing spammers for money, to do that you need their identity - which in turn the ISP must disclose to you - which in turn leads to the ISP violating quite a handful of laws regarding privacy and appropriate use of server logs.

I guess you could file a suit against a "John Doe" and have the court issue the necessary orders to obtain the identity, of course.

Re:How... (3)

egjertse (197141) | more than 13 years ago | (#230172)

Headers can only be forged up to the point where the SMTP servers take over handling of the message. From there, the SPAM will be tagged with the servers "Received: " lines etc.

Of course, when forged headers are used (as is mostly the case) you rely on the cooperation of the ISP to obtain the users identity.

Cauce [] has a pretty good tutorial on examining mail headers for useful information, if you're interested.

Is there a lawyer in the audience? (4)

egjertse (197141) | more than 13 years ago | (#230173)

IANAL, and I am a bit curious as to what means I - as a non-US citizen - have to retaliate against spammers using the US legal system. Our country doesn't have those kinds of laws, and given that most of the SPAM passing through our networks come from the US anyways, that wouldn't help much.

Can I file a complaint agains a US citizen violating a US law outside of the US?

Re:I just don't get it (1)

Starbreeze (209787) | more than 13 years ago | (#230181)

Well I don't know about you but I get a ton more email spam than snail mail spam. I would guess in part because it costs more to send snail mail spam, postage and paper and all.

And I've never gotten some of the retarded spam in snail mail like I do for email... every day I get the same two messages, one is for financial crap, and one is for some female viagra (my sex life is already great thank you very much! :P). They always have a ton of spaces after the subject then a string of numbers. And last month they were always from a foreign country and easy to filter, this month they've moved on to hotmail and msn, etc.

I think snail mail would also be easier to trace, with postage marks and because the USPS is a government run organization, they would put the smack down real quick on abuse like that.

Re:I just don't get it (1)

Starbreeze (209787) | more than 13 years ago | (#230182)

Oh yeah, plus since the USPS is a centralized AND governmental organization, I would guess it's not a good idea to spam so much through them. At least with email they can keep exploiting various mail servers.

Re:Legit vs Spoofed (1)

Starbreeze (209787) | more than 13 years ago | (#230183)

If it's legit, it's not spam. Spam is unsolicited. Now if that company sells your email and you receive information from someone else, that's spam. But not from the company you signed up with, if you didn't opt out from their emailing info deal.

The myth of opting out -- there is no 'legit' spam (2)

Spinality (214521) | more than 13 years ago | (#230188)

It's been said before, but I think it bears repeating: An 'opt-out'/'unsubscribe' mechanism on an unsolicited e-mail simply can't work.

I won't respond to spam with an opt-out clause, because I know that many of those spammers are simply using my reply to validate my e-mail address -- they won't stop spamming me. So I'm afraid to opt-out through that route. It just generates more spam. I'm happy to opt-out on websites I visit, and I respect vendors with responsible privacy policies. No problem there. But once somebody has sent me a piece of spam, I'm powerless, and the situation just gets worse.

Another big problem with opting out is that an unscrupulous spammer can work around it so easily. What does opting out actually block? Another copy of the same message? Another message from the same advertiser? Much spam is sent out on contract, by little service bureaus. These outfits appear and disappear, change names, change IP addresses, etc. If I opt out of "Call us first for your copier supplies" they might remove me from that distribution and I won't get another version of that spam. But instead they'll send me "Training opportunity" or "Our next stock pic," or they'll pass my name along on one of those "CD's with 1,000,000 verified e-mail addresses." How do you opt out of a CD? How do you filter out the future incarnations of today's spammers? How many legitimate businesses advertise this way -- I rarely see a name I recognize or a permanent website or mailing address? And why should we have to spend time doing this?

The good guys will respect the intent of my opting out, but the good guys aren't the problem. It's the bad guys who will find a way to spam me no matter what. Even if they potentially have to pay a fine, many will simply evade the law. It's going to be hard to cut down on the spam, and it is we, the recipients, who are paying the cost of receiving the spam.

The solution is not censorship of e-mail, though some folks seem to view any anti-spam step as censorship. We're not talking about personal liberties, or protected commercial speech. We're talking about harrassment. It's the same as calling my home phone every hour from a different payphone and trying to sell me insurance.

I'm sick and tired of spending such a large part of my day dealing with e-mail from people I never heard of, never wanted, can't stop, and can't easily filter out without risking the loss of legit mail, which is the reason I pay for the connection in the first place.

Re:Is there a lawyer in the audience? (1)

MegaGremlin (216264) | more than 13 years ago | (#230190)

Well, you can of course file a complaint. But if you file it in the court system, the court will probably find that you have no standing. A better route would be to file a complaint to a consumer's group in the US. The group would be able to pursue legal action for you, as it is a legal entity of the US. I doubt you could expect any remuneration, as a non-citizen, but it might slow down the spam a little.

Re:government misdirection (1)

HiNote (238314) | more than 13 years ago | (#230195)

No, no. It _is_ a democracy. Here in the Corporate States of America, my $1 bribe to the politician counts just as much as your $1 bribe to the politician which counts just as much as every $1 in the $100,000 bribe given to the politician by the corporation. It's a beautiful thing, isn't it...

corporate blinders (1)

sonofepson (239138) | more than 13 years ago | (#230196)

"...or interfering with legitimate uses of e-mail for marketing purposes,"

This shows that congress and many corporations still don't get it.
It's almost as if they had blinders on, all they see is an inexpensive form of advertising. If they were to really look at it they would see that there is no legitimate marketing purpose in something that annoys a vast majority of their potential customers.

Re:Expensive Flame (1)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 13 years ago | (#230199)

If we're using the spammer's $500, it doesn't cost us a damn thing. And why should we care? It's what they do to us every day.

What? (1)

Bimkins (242641) | more than 13 years ago | (#230202)

"Punishment should be sweet and simple: launch spammers into the sun" And pollute the sun? Are you nuts?

Get Spam banned in 8 easy steps. (2)

V50 (248015) | more than 13 years ago | (#230203)

My proposal is as follows:

1: Get two boxes running something that can handle a HUGE load, such as FreeBSD or Linux.

2: Put them in California. Get an autoresponder going on both of them.

3: Have one forward all Spam collected in a month to the other one. It auto responds to the one that sent the mail.

4: The other box auto responds.

5: Repeat 3-4 until California is blacked out.

6: Blame it on Spam.

7: Repeat when California is back up.

8: Keep doing this until Spam is banned.

Or to just plain get email banned try Humorix's Soultion. []


A change in focal point (1)

krylan (252712) | more than 13 years ago | (#230206)

Although I dont object fining spammers or even hurling them to a fiery death, I think theres a better solution. Why not concentrate on stopping spam at service provider level. What I mean is that more service providers should focus their energy on upgrading their SMTP servers. There has been some great software written. Check out [] . I think this would be a safer first step.

The only statement that cannot be questioned, is that every statement can be questioned.

"no solicitation" (1)

hobit (253905) | more than 13 years ago | (#230207)

Why not just have the "HELO" message in the mail system announce what type of e-mail is not welcome. All we need is a standard that is clear. I suspect that with such a standard in place the analogy to an apartment complex having a "no solicitation" sign up would be obvious to our lawmakers. Mark

Re:Spam Avoidance (2)

Anoriymous Coward (257749) | more than 13 years ago | (#230208)

Plase click my homepage and vote for my wife (Angie) in this month's Sexiest Geek Alive contest!

1) s/Plase/Please/

2) Angie is quite sexy, but is not the sexiest person on that page

3) You link from a story about Spam to a site that harvests email addresses? Truly brilliant!


Spammy (2)

Husaria (262766) | more than 13 years ago | (#230209)

Considering five hundred bucks for every piece of spam...
That is quite crippling to a company if you take the time to think about it.
Companies might send 5,000 spam, multiply that by 500 and you got a 5 million dollar fine. Most of the companies that do spam, that would do major damage to them. For the small company, 50 spam alone would cripple them.
But, spam is quite annoying, can we apply this law to chain letters too.
The court though, might find 500 too extreme and lower it to 50 to 100 bucks...

How... (2)

J3zmund (301962) | more than 13 years ago | (#230212) you track "every piece" of junk email someone sends? Sounds like a great idea, in theory, 'cause nobody likes spam. In practice, I'd be interested to see the methods for tracking the spam and proving it came from the spammer (especially when they forge headers, etc). Suggestions?

I don't see what the problem is... (5)

iluvpr0n (306594) | more than 13 years ago | (#230213)

I get so-called "Spam" quite frequently. I, frankly, don't really see the problem with it. It's just people wanting some help. For instance, yesterday I was contacted by two 18-year old college freshman that were becoming models. They just wanted me to give them feedback on some pictures they took. I went to their site and not only were there pictures of them, but their friends too. I guess college girls are really into amateur photography these days. So I responded to the girl's email (her name was Justine) and gave her some feedback (for instance, I suggested she not let her friends make pop-ups and things on her site (they must be in an HTML class together, I guess). I also suggested that she urge the photographer to use better lighting.) Unfortunately, my email never reached her, I'm not sure what went wrong; it seemed like a valid email address ( Oh well, I hope that Justine reads this message so she can get my feedback.

I personally enjoy receiving "Spam", as it allows me to help out other web designers with their sites. In exchange, I get to learn about interesting young woman (with some amazing talents). Even better are the ideas people send for me to earn money. Tell me that the human soul isn't a benevolent one, when every day I get mail from people looking to help me earn free money.

God Bless America.


Re:Legal Recourse (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 13 years ago | (#230214)

  • Will services like SpamCop now be in a type of "repo-man" business? Trying to get some of the $500 cut if they help catch a spammer?

Great point! Heck, they can have all of it, I just want to receive a mail that says: "Thanks in part to your contribution, Jane Q Spammer has just had her assets seized pending payment of her $20,000 fine." Mmmmm, yummy.

I have played both sides of this fence (3)

Razzious (313108) | more than 13 years ago | (#230217)

I admit it. I worked for a company that spammed people often. They got alot of business from it thus they continued to do it.
Some of your arguments are flat out IGNORANT though. First off anyone in the US that says "I have to pay for ISP access so I shouldn't have to pay for spam" is talking without thinking. If you are paying per e-mail you receive, paying for extra bandwidth from spam etc. Go get yourself a new ISP. If you can't figure out how to FILTER your mail, then read that HELP FILE. If paying for access is what you are saying is the point, then get a P.O. BOX and file charges against all the unsolicited mail you recieve at that box since you have to pay anually for it(the P.O. Box).
People continue spamming for 1 reason. They get results. I know of a long distance company that gets 75% of its customers via SPAM. Why would they want to stop that?
If you read the numbers its not that many people that really are concerned about SPAM. The ones that are ANTI SPAM are just vocal about it.
Do I like spam? NO
Do I want the government to regulate it HELL NO!
You people talk through both sides of your mouth. You say no to more gevernemtn except when it helps your cause.

Razzious Domini

What did the sun ever do to you? (4)

BIGJIMSLATE (314762) | more than 13 years ago | (#230218)

"Punishment should be sweet and simple: launch spammers into the sun."

What did the sun ever do to you to recieve such a harsh punishment?! If you want to banish them to some place of no return, send them to Detroit.

Just a heads up (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 13 years ago | (#230219)

Indeed, bulk postal mail ends up subsidizing non-bulk mail, since it comes pre-sorted and thus costs the Postal Service much less.

I'm not sure that's correct. I used to work at Kwik Kopy and they had a bulk mailing service. Kwik Kopy did all the printing and sorting and then took it in bins to the post office. Well, because of that, postage was at a markedly reduced rate, under $0.20 per letter. So while presorted mail costs the post office less, they also charge you less for it too.

Re:The thing that really irks me... (1)

Davewpw (316818) | more than 13 years ago | (#230220)

How do you fight that besides sorting through headers and writing to or whatever? Even if they pass some $500 fine per piece of spam, how can you enforce it?

Doing everything you said does take some time. While you are at it. Find the billing address of the company (It is sometimes in the spam). Send them a Bill for the spam for storing on your computer. When it hits 90 days past due send them off to colections. If the company that sells the banned CD's got 300 bills for 500.oo each and then was sent to collections.

Sweet, yes. Simple? Well... (1)

JiffyPop (318506) | more than 13 years ago | (#230221)

I think that launching them into the sun may be a bit more complicated than you are giving it credit for... However I do agree that it would produce a deep sense of satisfaction upon completion. Perhaps simply giving them concrete shoes would be as satisfying?

An Eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth (1)

famazza (398147) | more than 13 years ago | (#230225)

Why don't we just spam them back as V50 has said today? Or even better, we could DDos them. If they want us to lose our time reading what we don't want to, why can't we lose their time fixing what they could have avoid to?

I think that money it's not the solution! I saw wonderful solutions today at this same discussion, but IMHO it's better to hit them where it hurts, money and access limitations.

Don't worry, I'm in pain [to|every]day

Re:Spammy (1)

BombTechnician (410958) | more than 13 years ago | (#230228)

Your math's a little off..... try $2.5 mil for 5,000 spam
Deus Ex Machina

Re:Lose the icon, Rob (2)

Magumbo (414471) | more than 13 years ago | (#230230)

Yes but Hormel is a sponsor of OSDN, so technically this is considered advertising. Think Geek will be selling the entire line of spamwear soon, and will also be selling 24 tin cases for $109.95 (plus shipping).

"Fuck your mama."

Re:The thing that really irks me... (3)

Magumbo (414471) | more than 13 years ago | (#230231)

Ah yes! Bill S 1618 Title III

It passed the Senate on May 12, 1998. However, it never passed the House and the President never signed it. S. 1618 was never enacted into law.

I've actually gotten apology letters from people after pointing this out and threatening them.

Thanks Google!

"Fuck your mama."

Re:I just don't get it (1)

int0x3 (416024) | more than 13 years ago | (#230232)

I do not know how the US postal system works, but here in Denmark it is possible to avoid getting junk mail. You simply go to a postal office, ask not to recieve advertising, and put a sign on your door. You can ask to receive spam again later, if you want to. It works for me, and I would certainly mind if I suddenly started to get junk mail. I do not think it is quite that easy to avoid getting spam via email.

Re:Is there a lawyer in the audience? (2)

CaptainStormfield (444795) | more than 13 years ago | (#230239)

If a U.S. court can get jurisdiction over the spammer (for example, if the spammer lives in the state where the court sits, or the spammer is served with process in the state where the court sits) then yes, you may sue him in a U.S. court even if you are not a U.S. citizen. Whether you are willing to do so for $500 is up to you.

The previous poster is incorrect -- this is not an issue of standing. You have been injured, so you have standing. The issue here is jurisdiction, which should not be a problem.


Re:great quote (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 13 years ago | (#230240)

I wish they would take that into consideration when they pass all of their legislation :)

Re:What did the sun ever do to you? (3)

actiondan (445169) | more than 13 years ago | (#230241)

Could be bad when the Earth gets into litigation with the sun for sending unsolicited spammers...

Re:The thing that really irks me... (4)

actiondan (445169) | more than 13 years ago | (#230242)

If you ever see such a message on spam, DO NOT reply to the message. If the return address does exist, it is more likely that a reply will elad to mroe spam than less. This is because many spam senders use replies to build a database of active email addresses. The fact that you reply confirms that there is a real person using that address, making it more of a target for spam.

About the only realistic things you can do are blocking the sender and emailing their ISP to complain.

Re:Lose the icon, Rob (1)

oily pants (448048) | more than 13 years ago | (#230245)

The best part about the official SPAM website [] is that it explains where the term SPAMMING comes from. I never knew it was a Monty Python skit. And I love Monty Python. Now we need to make up a use for the term "a duck". (anybody remember that great scene?) How about something that is totally illogical? Something totally illogical, like using SPAM to refer to UCE's.

false header laws (1)

darthtuttle (448989) | more than 13 years ago | (#230247)

One interesting idea I've heard is to make it a crime to send an email with any false header information, then make it a standard to identify the type of email your sending (ie. personal email, an email to an existing customer, bulk mail spam). Then, if you can easily filter it, and if you lie about bing bulk mail spam your guilty. Make the punishment something like $1000 per incident to the person who it was sent to as a civil penalty wouldn't be a bad idea either :)
Thought Architect

The best way to catch spammers.. (1)

PYves (449297) | more than 13 years ago | (#230248)

From Spammer@superspam.GOV



just reply to this email for secrets the government doesn't want you to know!

Nice Try (1)

CharlotteTheHarlot (449820) | more than 13 years ago | (#230249)

Yeah it's a nice try in the on-going war against spam, but there will always be some lame lawless island in the pacific or something, where you can place your servers and found a bogus company. So I dont get my hopes up too high of getting rid of spam.
But the initiative is good, more country's should follow it !

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