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Spamming Gets Expensive in Utah and Ohio

michael posted about 12 years ago | from the spiced-ham-still-pretty-cheap-though dept.

Spam 307

bradipo writes "A large number of lawsuits have been filed against companies that have not complied with the anti-spam statute in Utah. I'm not sure how this will turn out, but it should be interesting nonetheless." And reader spoton writes "The governor of Ohio has signed into law a bill that allows internet subscribers to sue for up to $50,000 and ISP's for up to $500,000. It allows you to sue for $100 per email + court and lawyer fees incurred. Looks like the cost of spamming is going up."

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what about jurisdiction (2, Interesting)

JPawloski (546146) | about 12 years ago | (#4002018)

for you to collect, the e-mail must have been sent FROM an Ohio company FROM an Ohio ISP TO an Ohio recipient. Obviously, no one is going to send spam from Utah/Ohio anymore. This serves to making their Spam-friendly ISPs uncompetitive, which ultimately only hurts the state.

Re:what about jurisdiction (2, Informative)

siskbc (598067) | about 12 years ago | (#4002061)

Jurisdiction on internet is typically the user - recall mid 90's when a NY porn site was busted in TN for things that were legal in NY but illegal in TN. They should be able to extradict.

Re:what about jurisdiction (1)

wo1verin3 (473094) | about 12 years ago | (#4002206)

by your logic it was right to arrest Dimitri in the US even though he broke no law in his country and home

Re:what about jurisdiction (1)

Maniakes (216039) | about 12 years ago | (#4002220)

Jurisdiction on internet is typically the user - recall mid 90's when a NY porn site was busted in TN for things that were legal in NY but illegal in TN. They should be able to extradict.

By that principle, the Saudis could extradite Americans for posting blasphemous material on Slashdot.

Re:what about jurisdiction (1)

Jim the Anti-Bob (583663) | about 12 years ago | (#4002110)

If the recipient is in Utah, then the law technically applies. If the offender is in another state and refuses to hear the lawsuite, I believe the court could still try the case. The real question is what happens when the defendant, from another state, simply refuses to pay?

The majority of the really vicious SPAM offenders I have been up against lately are using dial-ups in the European, Asia-Pacific, and Russian regions, so we are basically shifting this problem to offshore sources. Until we also start going after the sites/companies that hire these a$$holes and start addressing this problem on an international basis, we really won't see any change... although Federal legislation (still "pending" in Congress after all these years), would be a great place for us to start(!?)

Re:what about jurisdiction (3, Insightful) (142825) | about 12 years ago | (#4002162)

You can get the judgment enforced in that state to be paid. Then you can hand it to a collection agency. Or have your state's court attach funds that go through companies in your state.

The spam may be from dial up European sources, but they are usually US spammers using services from there. Go after the people hiring them. If I tell you to break the law, I am still breaking the law.

Re:what about jurisdiction (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | about 12 years ago | (#4002142)

Most likely, they will do what I believe Washington is doing (Or is it Oregon...). If the spammer is out of the state, they will be served with a summons to court. If they chose not to show up, the person suing will win by default, and the spamming company will owe the person. If the spamming company doesn't pay, I believe that in itself is another law broken, and there will most likely be warrants out for people. The people who will be making the most money out of this? Bounty Hunters. They will go anywhere in the country to round these guys up if they get some pay. Of course, you'll have to put something up front first just in case the guy in question is really broke.

How sad! (5, Insightful)

fmaxwell (249001) | about 12 years ago | (#4002177)

This serves to making their Spam-friendly ISPs uncompetitive, which ultimately only hurts the state.

What a tragedy! Spam-friendly ISPs being forced out of business in Utah/Ohio. This is almost as bad as laws that make kiddie-porn-friendly ISPs uncompetitive. Imagine the revenue loss!

When society finds something unacceptable (in this case, spam) and enacts laws to reduce it, there is an understanding that those who make a living from it will be financially harmed. Ohio convenience stores would have a competitive advantage if they could legally sell alcohol and tobacco products to minors. That doesn't mean that Ohio should make it legal.

Sometimes the good of society outweighs the financial interests of corporations.

poop (-1, Offtopic)

Ty (15982) | about 12 years ago | (#4002021)


It might catch on (4, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | about 12 years ago | (#4002023)

Now if the rest of the world follows suit, we might have a reasonable chance of greatly reducing the amount of crap that gets shoved through our inboxes every day.

Re: probably not.. (1)

destiney (149922) | about 12 years ago | (#4002133)

It's very doubtful these new laws will have anything but a minimal effect if that. Just because a law exists doesn't mean the law won't be broken. Laws do not prohibit crime or wrong doing. If they did no one would ever purchase illegal drugs or drive drunk.

An excellent solution to the problem is white-listed only procmail rule:

* ? (echo "$FROM" | $FGREP -i -f $HOME/whitelist.txt)

1zt p0-st!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4002026)

yayyyy!!!! 1zt p0stxXor 1z M3!!!

Where's my broker! (0, Troll)

jukal (523582) | about 12 years ago | (#4002028)

sell 1000000000 spammers now! Sell sell sell!

Hmm, nice income (1)

tot (30740) | about 12 years ago | (#4002032)

Let's see, I get around 20 spam per business day, on weekends much less.

This would get me 20 * 220 * $100 = $440k per year. Let them spam.

Re:Hmm, nice income (2)

rmohr02 (208447) | about 12 years ago | (#4002097)

But you'd have to file suit with each of them, and filing 20/day seems a bit excessive.

Re:Hmm, nice income (1)

Jim the Anti-Bob (583663) | about 12 years ago | (#4002151)

But it would fall under the jurisdiction of the Small Claims court which means you don't have to pay for a lawyer...

Re:Hmm, nice income (2)

scott1853 (194884) | about 12 years ago | (#4002223)

What, there's no Perl script on CPAN for this yet? Should just be a one-liner.

Damn straight. (1)

PseudoThink (576121) | about 12 years ago | (#4002172)

I think I'm going to consider setting up a honeypot ISP in the state(s) with the best record(s) for convicting spammers. This ISP would only serve enough customers to qualify as an ISP. Its primary purpose would be to house honeypot email accounts, simply to harvest spam. The ISP's business model would be to make profit from suing spammers. While I think this may present some ethical issues I have to spend more time considering, I wonder if it would actually work as a business model, and if this could be a practical strategy in the war on spam?

Interesting (2, Funny)

Coke in a Can (577836) | about 12 years ago | (#4002033)

$50,000? That'd be one hell of a way to get me a new G4 /me puts up main e-mail address on Usenet

Strap one of THESE babies on.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4002036)

Underwear []

I'm sure a lot of you 'guys' already have some of these stashed in your closet for that 'special visit' from Uncle Goatse...

I have a simple, but to the point comment: (1)

Kith_Me (257285) | about 12 years ago | (#4002050)

It is about damn time... Simple. This should be everywhere.

Ironic (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4002054)

For some reason now that awful porn email is sounding arousing. ch-ching!

The one problem with this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4002057)

is going to be tracking down spammers. How much spam do you know that comes from legitimate addresses that can easily be tracked down? I suppose if a lawyer can organize a class action suit and spend enough money tracking down spammers, they might make some money. Then again, any intellegent spammer will set up his company with no assets, hide the profits, and bankrupt the company once he gets caught - assuming he's even incorporated in the U.S.

Follow the money! (1) (142825) | about 12 years ago | (#4002170)

Spammers usually have you respond somehow. Track them that way.

Re:The one problem with this... (1)

Jim the Anti-Bob (583663) | about 12 years ago | (#4002175)

On any e-mail, it's a simple enough process to track it back to the originating ISP just by examining the message headers and looking up the first IP address at ARIN. You can never really trust the From: address - just look at how easily KLEZ.H screwed everyone up...

Also, if legal action is pending, ISPs will no longer honor their TOS Privacy Policies - which makes this a pretty simple process.

Re:The one problem with this... (2)

Ryu2 (89645) | about 12 years ago | (#4002327)

Problem is, most of these emails are relayed through servers in foreign countries (usually in Asia) using SMTP daemons which don't accurately record the IP address of the connecting host in the Received: lines (they just record whatever the HELO command gives, which is obviously prone to spoofing). Therefore, you could trace an email to Asia, but then the trail stops there.

As previous /. stories have described, getting the sysadmins in Asia to do something about it is easier said than done.

What a great way of making money (3, Funny)

burgburgburg (574866) | about 12 years ago | (#4002058)

Create a hotmail email address, sit back and wait. If that isn't fast enough for you, post a Usenet message. Better yet, sign up for AOL.

Re:What a great way of mak^H^H^Hpaying money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4002323)

You've forgotten already that you're going to have to pay for your hotmail right about soon?


Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4002060)

come on, someone please make a dumbass joke, I'm too bored

Whare's the Love? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4002064)

OH NO! This means I might get less e-mail, which could could cause me to feal alone and depresed! Will not even spammers send me e-mail now? Oh woe is me! Where's the Love!?

The first step in the right direction (1, Troll)

Sivar (316343) | about 12 years ago | (#4002072)

Now we just need to make global laws that mandate prison and castration, and probably torture, for repeat college degree/pornography spammers. :)

Re:The first step in the right direction (1)

tot (30740) | about 12 years ago | (#4002095)

Castration does not work for females, and most of the spam is either female porn or viagra. Wouldn't that mean that most of the spammers must be females?

Laws are great when they are enforced (5, Insightful)

rbanzai (596355) | about 12 years ago | (#4002079)

If laws like this are actually applied and not just presented to the media to polish the legislator's apple then it will kill spam. No matter how big the industry seems no one who makes a living at it could survive the fines. Just like mail and the telephone e-mail is there to be a convenience for the user, not the advertiser. Any abuse of this should be punished.

what costs $15k (1)

linuxislandsucks (461335) | about 12 years ago | (#4002085)

Usually after they recieve an email from me stating that every new email from them will cost $15,000 plus court costs they stop..

Theb you get one or two idiots like Bruce Cullen one fo the extras from the Movie Outbreak who are so focused on the myth tha tthey wil earn money that they will attempt tot attack you with DOS attacks, email slpamming, and other attacks..

But striking back is fun..:)

Gimme a break! (1)

schematix (533634) | about 12 years ago | (#4002086)

Talk about rediculous! I think we can all agree that spam is annoying but this is absurd. This will serve to do little but clog courts with people complaining that they received an e-mail that they didn't want. So what?!? I get over a hundred spam messages a day but I just ignore them. Its pretty obvious what is junk and what isn't. No harm is done to the user so why should they have the right to sue? And come on, $100 per message? This isn't reasonable.

Just my $.03

Re:Gimme a break! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4002195)

It's ridiculous, Asshat.

Re:Gimme a break! (1)

Jim the Anti-Bob (583663) | about 12 years ago | (#4002202)

For some of the spammers I have had to deal with, a sentance to Attica on a false kiddie-raper charge seems more appropriate than $100/message... but that's just me, and these people REALLY piss me (and my customers) off.

Re:Gimme a break! (2)

God! Awful (181117) | about 12 years ago | (#4002208)

Why should a government that tolerates (even encourages) junk mail pass laws against spam? It's simply a matter of proportion.

Junk mail gets discount postage rates, but it still costs money to send; therefore it is self-regulating. Also, a moderate portion of junk mail is stuff that people might actually want, like supermarket flyers. Finally, you can put a sign on your door requesting not to receive junk mail and the postman will respect it. Spam costs almost nothing for the spender, but it uses up a huge amount of disk space and bandwidth to deliver it. I receive much more spam than junk mail, and my automated spam filters are much less reliable than my ability to sort my mail (which I do in the elevator on the way up to my apartment so there is no time wasted).

Anyway, I'm sure that the $100 figure is mean to represent punative damages rather than compensatory ones.


Re:Gimme a break! (2)

nomadic (141991) | about 12 years ago | (#4002215)

Because 100 spams a day is too much to easily ignore for most of us. I don't like wading through junk, I don't like seeing something as astoundingly useful as e-mail rendered less so, and I certainly don't like subsidizing their annoying me through higher ISP charges.

Re:Gimme a break! (1)

ijikeru (598073) | about 12 years ago | (#4002229)

Governor Taft is running for re-election. It's grandstanding, nothing more.

Re:Gimme a break! (3, Insightful)

fmaxwell (249001) | about 12 years ago | (#4002250)

I think we can all agree that spam is annoying but this is absurd.

No, we cannot all agree that "this is absurd."

No harm is done to the user so why should they have the right to sue?

So who do you think pays your ISP for the bandwidth, storage, and additional mail server horsepower necessary to handle the influx of spam? Hint: The person paying is staring at your screen right now! Spammers try to say that the cost per spam is small and, while that's true, if I could steal one penny from every person in the United States, I'd never have to work again.

If the maximum amount was $1 per spam, no one would sue and the law would do nothing to decrease spam. The fine is set high to make the law work and to discourage spam.

Additional legislation is not the solution (1, Troll)

atrowe (209484) | about 12 years ago | (#4002089)

I'm dislike spam as much as the next guy, but I don't think that laws prohibiting spam is a desirable solution. We have many spam blocking software applications and other technological methods already which are quite effective in discouraging spammers. Our society is already far too full of bureaucratic red tape and unnecessary or unenforcable laws. Furthermore, anti-spam legislation has the potential to curb one's right to free speech, and would violate the Constitution.

Many of the personal e-mails which I send are unsolicited and, while I am certainly not a spammer, could violate anti-spam laws because the recipient did not specifically request to be sent e-mail. I don't generally send mailing list removal instructions with my personal correspondance either. Does this mean that I am in violation of anti-spam laws?

Legislating one's right to communicate freely goes against everything this country was founded upon, and anti-spam legislation is just another example of an overly powerful government taking away the rights of its citizens. I, for one will not support any such law, or any lawmaker who supports such a law.

Re:Additional legislation is not the solution (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4002100)

Care to post your phone number? We'll all call you dozens of times in the middle of the night to tell you how much we disagree with you.



Re:Additional legislation is not the solution (2)

catfood (40112) | about 12 years ago | (#4002109)

Many of the personal e-mails which I send are unsolicited and, while I am certainly not a spammer, could violate anti-spam laws because the recipient did not specifically request to be sent e-mail. I don't generally send mailing list removal instructions with my personal correspondance either. Does this mean that I am in violation of anti-spam laws?

You're right. Those arguments could not possibly have occurred to the legislators and people who advised them. *cough*

Have you tried reading the linked articles, or even reading the laws as passed? Maybe then you could show us which parts are unconstitutional?

Re:Additional legislation is not the solution (2)

qslack (239825) | about 12 years ago | (#4002130)

Spamming is not a technological problem, it is a problem of society. Trying to use technology to solve our problems that weren't created by technology is not going to get us very far. References: face recognition at the airport, censorware, and anti-spam filters.

Beware the strawman! (4, Insightful)

John Harrison (223649) | about 12 years ago | (#4002159)

Many of the personal e-mails which I send are unsolicited

Are you sending them to people that you've never met in any way? If so, then how are they personal? Otherwise you are just sending email to someone you know. I am sure that they know how to ask you to stop, unless they fear offending you.

I don't think that we need to go into a definition of "spam" here. We all "know it when we see it".

Now on to my rant!

Sending thousands of unsolicedted emails (spam) is not "communicating freely". It is an electronic slap in the face. You don't respect me as a person to keep yourself from wasting my time and resources. You have no right to my time and resources. Telemarketers are nobler than spammers, at least they bother you on a one-to-one basis rather than vomiting their filth onto every person they can possibly find at once.

Finally, I at least get to play mind games with telemarketers!

Re:Additional legislation is not the solution (5, Insightful)

coyote-san (38515) | about 12 years ago | (#4002200)

Nobody wants to outlaw legitimate replies. That's a red herring thrown out by spammers so the guillable will ignore the real issues.

What's at issue is the attempt to transfer advertising costs from the seller to the potential buyer. Note the key words "seller" and "buyer" - this particular issue only applies when somebody is trying to sell something to somebody else when there's no prior sign of interest. Today it's annoying, but without other economic brakes put on this process it will become a real burden on consumers. Already we're hearing of people who lose mail because the spammers have completely filled their 5- or 10-MB mailbox in a short time, and at the rate of increase I wouldn't be surprised to see many people essentially knocked off of email (due to the sheer volume of crap) within a few years.

Then there's the legal issues involved with spammers forging headers, often criminally impersonating third parties. Nobody has the right to impersonate a third party for commercial gain. These victims can sue, but it's difficult and costly and many courts still don't understand how much damage it can cause (e.g., by harming reputations, or having domains added to simple-minded RBLs).

If that's not enough, there's the fact that spammers often bounce their messages off of servers owned and maintained for the benefit of third parties. That's no different than somebody deciding to borrow your car to run some errands since you're not using it. Even if they return it, undamaged, before you need it again it's not acceptable behavior in our society.

Finally (on the commercial spam side), there's the fact that most of the spam is sent out with fradulent names, through hijacked mail relays, etc., since it's flat-out illegal. In an ideal world we could have the FDA go after the diet/baldness/penis + breast growth people, the SEC go after the "sure stock" people, etc., but in the real world they have other priorities and jurisdiction is often unclear. These anti-spammer laws are te best way to get the illegal crap off of the network fast.

As for the moral point that spammers have "the right to speak," you're absolutely right. But more importantly, I have the right to tell them to shut up. Every time I get a piece of mail with forged headers, fradulent subject lines, etc., all I see is some arrogant asshole saying that he's the center of the universe and I have no value other than being an easy mark. If somebody repeatedly knocks on my door, I can have the police arrest him for trespassing. If they repeatedly call me on the phone, I can have the state fine them many thousands of dollars for violating the DNC orders. Yet you would have me believe that I'm have no right to stop somebody from sending me, oh, an announcement of an exciting new insurance policy every single fucking day for close to six months now? Sure, I have the technical ability to filter that crap out (and I do), but because I don't run my own email servers I still have to absorb the bandwidth to get the damn message into the server *and* to get the damn message a second time from the server before it's deleted, unread.

Hoo-Rah (1)

Jim the Anti-Bob (583663) | about 12 years ago | (#4002239)

Very well said!!!

Re:Additional legislation is not the solution (2)

SimplyCosmic (15296) | about 12 years ago | (#4002218)

atrowe says:
Many of the personal e-mails which I send are unsolicited and, while I am certainly not a spammer, could violate anti-spam laws because the recipient did not specifically request to be sent e-mail. I don't generally send mailing list removal instructions with my personal correspondance either. Does this mean that I am in violation of anti-spam laws?
Um ... no ... At least not unless your email qualifies as an "advertisement", defined under section 4931.55 of the Ohio Revised Code as "a message or material intended to cause the sale of realty, goods, or services." If your message didn't meet this test, then the rest of the requirements do not apply.

So no personal emails would qualify under this law, but advertisements would still be safe, provided they provide accurate email contact info and a clearly laid out method of opting out of future advertisements from that source.

Not that this law will really stop the flood of spam, but it also won't cause you to get fined for a single email to a person who's not particular fond of you.

Additional legislation *IS* the solution (2)

dananderson (1880) | about 12 years ago | (#4002260)

This is a good example of capitalism, with all it's faults, helping solve the problem. No need to depend on government prosecutors or police to stop spam (they have enough to do!).

Yes, give the lawyers (like them or not), CASH INCENTIVES to stop spam now and GET RICH QUICK!!!!! HURRY--DON'T DELAY. SPAMMERS ARE STANDING BY!

Re:Additional legislation is not the solution (4, Insightful)

Telastyn (206146) | about 12 years ago | (#4002291)

Anti-spam laws are quite definately in favor of 1st amendment rights. The supreme court has, multiple times, upheld that commercial speech is "less free" than personal speech, especially with regards to speech that is not directed (TV,radio).

Spam prevents personal speech by forcing the recipient to deal with it instead of communicating with an individual's email send to the recipient.

Technological methods of stopping spam will only require spammers to get better technological methods themselves. This is quite similar to copyprotection mechanisms, if you can hear the song, you can copy it. If you want to allow arbitrary people to send you email, they will.

While I concur that bureaucracy runs amok, this is perhaps a case where the government should give people legal recourse against something that is near universally abhored.

Re:Additional legislation is not the solution (2)

intuition (74209) | about 12 years ago | (#4002299)

"atrowe: Card-carrying Mensa [] member. I have no toleranse for stupidity."

Intuition BEATS atrowe over the head with his Mensa card.

I have no TOLERANCE for your spelling errors in your sig. I digress

"Our society is already far too full of bureaucratic red tape and unnecessary or unenforcable laws."

There is no bureaucratic red tape surrounding these laws. Send SPAM and you are liable to be sued. Explain to me exactly what red tape this law creates. No new goverment agencys, no red tape, no additional paperwork. nothing. All these laws do is internalize the costs of spamming to the spammer, much like anti-pollution laws do.

"Legislating one's right to communicate freely goes against everything this country was founded upon"

Anonymous Coward BEATS atrowe over the head with the Constitution of the United States.

and with the ceremony completed...

Hey card carrying mensa dude - The United States was founded with legislated free speech as core to our values. Maybe you have heard of the first amendment? Or perhaps you just live in China?

It is likely that... (2)

cmowire (254489) | about 12 years ago | (#4002091)

It is likely that the best solution to spammers skipping town would be to make ISPs legally liable for certain spam-related infractions -- primarily signing pink contracts with spammers or not taking steps to verify the identity of a customer.

Which would make the business of being an ISP suck, but would probably eliminate the problem.

Re:It is likely that... (1)

sys$manager (25156) | about 12 years ago | (#4002171)

I worked at an ISP that provided broadband access plus e-mail and web hosting and so on. We had a server specifically set up for the spammer customers. Rather than getting rid of the spammers, that company charged them WAY more than a normal customer and let them loose on the high volume SMTP server.

I'm glad I don't work there anymore.

Re:It is likely that... (2)

orthogonal (588627) | about 12 years ago | (#4002324)

So log in as Anonymous Coward and NAME NAMES!

We can't boycott unless we know the ISP's name.

i get LOTS of spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4002092)

i get LOTS of spam, and when this oppurtunity gets to my state i am going to sue the hell out of spammers, i hate the bat rastards, i want to own their computers and their homes and cars, and their wives and children too...

i will make their wives my personal whores and make thier children do yard work till thier little hands bleed from pulling weeds in the front yard, no riding lawnmowers either, just a rusty push mower...

hahahaha hehehe, you spammers better stop and go get a real job or i will own you...

Bounty Hunters (3, Interesting)

DickBreath (207180) | about 12 years ago | (#4002099)

You can sue for $100 per message + lawyer costs. What is unclear is whether you can sue for the cost to track down the spammer.

If you could, then I predict a small industry would spring up of bounty hunters who would go to any lengths necessary to track down the origin of a spam message. Heck, they would even pay you (or other affected parties along the route) to put in necessary monitoring equipment/software, etc. in order to be able to track down the origin of a message without interferring with the operation of your mail server.

So this law needs to be ammended to allow you to recover costs associated with tracking down the spammer. Bounty hunters would be knocking at your door to offer to help track down spammers. After all their fee becomes part of your cost to track down the spammer, and therefore part of the amount you could sue for.

Re:Bounty Hunters (1)

Jim the Anti-Bob (583663) | about 12 years ago | (#4002286)

It's not that difficult to do! All you would have to do (assuming this all takes place within U.S. jurisdiction) is examine the message headers, lookup the originating ISP in ARIN, file a complaint which will get a subpeona for the ISP, which will then turn over their logs and subscriber contact information. You then have a defendant and proof that they sent the e-mail in question.

To survive as a U.S. spammer under this model, you would have to break the law (by using stolen accounts or hacked zombie systems) just to send SPAM in the first place - which is much more dangerous under current legislation than getting busted for SPAM.

No one cares about free speech? (1, Troll)

expro (597113) | about 12 years ago | (#4002104)

I find it odd that no one seems to be worried about free speech implications of this sort of action. As a participant in standards forums, I get dozens of spams a day, and I plan to set up filtering. Filtering seems to be a much better answer than government legislating what email I can and cannot send. I can think situations where this type of legislation and further logical progressions of outlawing unwanted email will come back to haunt those who valued the past freedoms of the internet. I am willing to put up with spam or create a filter in the name of freedom.

Re:No one cares about free speech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4002136)

i bet you own a spam server yourself or you would not be defending such a shitty deal, i hate spam, i did not ask for it and i don't want it...

and spam is not free speech, speaking ones mind is free speach, unsolicited salesmanship that are questionable at best is not free speach, i would not buy anything from a spam email, because who knows who is on the other end of that spam, probably some con-artist drooling over the possibility of getting someones creditcard numbers so he can reload his crack pipe...

Re:No one cares about free speech? (1)

expro (597113) | about 12 years ago | (#4002283)

How much do you bet? Or were you just spamming me with your completely-false argument? Put up or shut up, as the saying goes. If you put up a sufficiently-high amount of money with reasonable rules for an uninterested jury to resolve the question, I would happily cash in on your ignorance and donate the results to the FSF.

Your argument is a little bit like responding to an editorial in a newspaper against racial bigotry by accusing the writer of being a minority, "because any non-minority would know how disgusting a minority is." Your opinion is false and based upon stupid assumptions.

The trick with free speech is permitting it when it is offensive to you, or it really isn't free speech.

I, too, would buy nothing from a spam email, and even on the rare occasion I have seen a subject line that slightly aroused my interest, I have deleted the email rather than reading it based upon the extreme rudeness of the person sending me the unsolicited email.

But putting people into jail for sending emails to lists of people seems as wrong as putting someone in jail for port scanning or other things where there are likely to be legitimate actions that will be outlawed. Perhaps a senator who is getting too many spams from slashdot readers who all copied the same DMCA protest email should start sending those of the opposite opinion to jail?

Use of your bandwidth and storage (2)

yerricde (125198) | about 12 years ago | (#4002316)

But putting people into jail for sending emails to lists of people seems as wrong as putting someone in jail for port scanning or other things where there are likely to be legitimate actions that will be outlawed.

If somebody repeatedly sends you unsolicited messages with 120 KB Flash attachments, what are you to do? Let your ISP's provided mailbox fill up?

SPAM is not Free Speech (5, Insightful)

Jim the Anti-Bob (583663) | about 12 years ago | (#4002139)

First off, forging e-mail headers should constitue fraud, not free speech. Secondly, why is it your right to tie up my system resources at will, while I have no recourse (other than purchasing expensive filtering software) to make you quit.

Just because I have your cell phone number, does that give me the right to call you 20 times a day?

Re:SPAM is not Free Speech (1)

wolfgang_spangler (40539) | about 12 years ago | (#4002329)

expensive filtering software?
Mimedefang download []
I don't like spammers, and don't agree with the methods they use, but more legislation is NOT the answer.

Re:No one cares about free speech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4002149)

Filtering does not address the increase in bandwidth usage and storage requirements. Maybe as an individual user you don't care about those things, but if you are an ISP, spam does cost money.

Sure, you have the right to speak, but you don't have the right to consume huge amounts of my resources to force me to listen.

Cutting off Spam Doesn't Threaten Free Speech (5, Insightful)

Inexile2002 (540368) | about 12 years ago | (#4002173)

One of the central tenets of free speech is that I'm free to ignore you. I am not censoring anyone if I plug my ears. Although telemarketers are legal, they are not protected under free speech laws. No one has the right to call me up and force me to listen.

With email spammers are utilizing my resources (the bandwidth I pay for, the processor time my computer requires to handle them etc) to send me an uninvited message. They do not have any right to use my resources to disseminate that message. Nor do they have the right to use public resources to disseminate a message. If someone paints a message on the wall of the town hall, no one is censoring that person when they paint over it. People can use their own resources to say whatever the hell they want, but as soon as they start using my resources, they need my permission. Spammers automatically do not have my permission.

Regardless of the content of the spam, and regardless of the intention of the spammer, they do not have a right to send me anything. If they have a message, they can either pay to circulate it and then I will fight to the death to defend their right to do that - or they can rely upon agreed upon public forums. My inbox is not a public forum.

It isn't even a legislation issue. Spammers are trampling on other people's rights. The one thing that pretty much everyone will agree upon is that the government's role is to protect the rights of the citizen. Giving the citizen a legal recourse to go after people who use their resources without consent is exactly what the government should be doing.

Re:Cutting off Spam Doesn't Threaten Free Speech (1)

Maniakes (216039) | about 12 years ago | (#4002268)

I see spammers as equivilent to Jehovah's Witnesses. They do come to my door and waste my time, but I can always tell them to go away, or I can just close the door. It isn't that much of a burden to do so.

If it becomes and excessive burden, I can put up a "No Jehovah's Witnesses" sign and call the cops if the JWs don't stop bothering me.

However, banning the JWs or putting them on a strict opt-in policy would be a restriction on their free speech. They do have a right to offer to talk to me unless I ask them not to.

Re:Cutting off Spam Doesn't Threaten Free Speech (2)

Inexile2002 (540368) | about 12 years ago | (#4002330)

Not quite an accurate analogy though. The JW wouldn't come into your work. If they started to, it would be perfectly reasonable to ban them from work places. The reason is that when you're at work, you're on someone's pay roll and they're paying you for your time. For someone to come in and occupy that time would be wrong.

Coming to my door is fine, I have no problem with that because it's personal, it isn't something someone can do at the click of a button to a million people and most of all, it doesn't cost me anything. If I had to pay every time someone rang my door bell, even if it was a trivially small amount, I would not want unwelcome people at my door. If dozens, some days hundreds of people showed up to talk about hot wet teens and penis enlargement, I'd call my local government and pester them to get rid of these people.

It isn't "Free Speech"! (2)

fmaxwell (249001) | about 12 years ago | (#4002311)

I think I'll exercise my right to free speech by scratching a message into the paint on your car. Certainly you would rather pay to have your car painted occasionally than give up a cherished right like free speech!

I have spent hours setting up filters, blocking domains, blocking IP blocks, setting up complex forwarding schemes, maintaining lists of trusted senders and domains, etc.. I have purchased spam filtering software and, more importantly, spent what could have been billable time configuring it. And I still have spams that get through occasionally and every now and then I bounce a legitimate message. No, spammers don't have a right to put me through that.

Free Speech means that you have a right to express yourself at your own expense, not mine. That's why junk faxes are illegal (47 USC 227).

Pay to read spam (1)

yerricde (125198) | about 12 years ago | (#4002326)

As a participant in standards forums, I get dozens of spams a day, and I plan to set up filtering.

How do you filter a message that you haven't received? If you're talking about a procmail recipe or other client-side filter, then by the time the mail enters your local spool, you've already received, and paid your ISP to receive, the spam. It costs money to download data and to store it.

Get Rich Quick! (0, Troll)

Valiss (463641) | about 12 years ago | (#4002116)

I have a sudden urge to move to Ohio. Sue the crap outta ppl. Then move back to Calif. Life is good.

Sue-Happy (1)

SuperHighImpact (463360) | about 12 years ago | (#4002117)

I find it interesting how this article is going to show the ./ sue happy side that we spend a lot of time condemning.

Finally, step two revealed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4002124)

Step One: Get a computer
Step Two: Get spam
Step Three: Profit!

$|2@|\/| 1z k3\/\/|_ ~~~!!!!!! (1)

sPaMm33sPaM+R0LL (598069) | about 12 years ago | (#4002126)

$|2@mxX0rz mAk33 m3 +1n6|_33xx8!!!! +333 |-|33!!!@@@@@!!!!

Personally, I'm waiting for... (5, Funny)

myov (177946) | about 12 years ago | (#4002127)

From: (Forged Address)

Make money in your spare time suing spammers! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!

For instructions, send $20 to...

For Sale - Exclusive Offer SAVE $$ (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4002132)

EVER WANTED TO LIVE IN OHIO ?? Now you can! Send no money now!! Simply phone 1-800-FREEBIE and give your credit card details to one of our friendly consultants. With in days you will receive our glossy brochure with all the benefits of living in Ohio. Thanks you for interest in our products. Note: To remove yourself from our opt-in offer mailing list

Excessive litigation? (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | about 12 years ago | (#4002135)

Many in congress, particularly those of a conservative bent, complain about the costly litigation against the saintly American companies, allegedly brought by greedy and evil consumers and lawyers. They want to pass legislation that will limit rewards and otherwise protect companies from the liabilities of their products. In fact, few consumers actually bring lawsuits against companies due to the inherent expense and risk of such litigation.

The real reason to limit consumer is exactly these types of laws. Companies have been spamming consumers and ISPs to death. We have tried to establish voluntary laws to solve the problem. We have tried opt-in list and verified opt-in lists. We have begged web hosting companies to make sure commercial email sent from domains they host have real headers with valid email addresses, and clearly identify the source of the product and emailer. All has been to no avail.

So we are at a point where the only recourse is litigation. Is this the fault of greedy consumers or lawyers? Or is the fault of an industry that does not have the integrity to define and enforce rules that insure consumers and agents are treated with respect.

I am sure that conservatives have and are going to complain that this law and litigation are indicative of a decline in the basic moral fiber of the American consumer. At the same time, they will be raking in profits from the backs of those same consumers.

Damn... (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | about 12 years ago | (#4002152)

Strict law. Do we have the RIAA's lawyers and lobbyists on our side now?

I'd hate to be the poor bastard who (2)

(H)elix1 (231155) | about 12 years ago | (#4002157)

had a real address who the spammers used for the fake header. has a large legal department, but imagine your_mom' having to fend off all the angry folks who look at only the "sender's" email address as the person who did the spamming?

Re:I'd hate to be the poor bastard who (3, Interesting)

Styx (15057) | about 12 years ago | (#4002251)

I've had that happen to me a couple of times now. Probably because I'm a pain-in-the-ass anti-spammer.
No one has complained to either me nor my provider,though.
The only reason I know of it, is that I got all the bounces. Fortunately, there's procmail for that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4002167)

These guys should be shot, you wouldn't believe how much spam they send me!

Now this would work.. (1)

brunox (152235) | about 12 years ago | (#4002182)

Oh well, this could work, cause main reason to send spam is that it is cheap and that it would be very hard to punish someone for doing such a thing.

A law like that one could stop spammers, but it will not, just because, spam, as well as mp3 sharing, can be done with the use of a remote host, which can be anywhere outside Utah, outside the US (outside earth? not yet.... )

Im not sure on how to stop spam, blocking lists seems to be a good option, but the law just don't reach the Internet.

sign them up... (-1, Troll)

butternutz (596409) | about 12 years ago | (#4002187)

I use to werk for the this ISP called mindpring aka earthlink. when ppl use to piss me off in the phone i would take there email addy and sign them up for spamming list and just flood there addy with wonderful porn links and get rich quick plans.

Damn it now they could be making money off me.

Spammers, free speach freedom fighters?!?!? (1)

Calculus Brown (239746) | about 12 years ago | (#4002190)

A recent court decision came down on the side of long distance phone carries who relentlessly call people who are perfectly happy with thier current LD carriers. If I recall correctly (that means I couldn't find the original artical) the suit was based on a state passing a law impossing fines and/or restrictions on who and when the companies could call. ....So here is the tightrope, get spammers (and the companies that back them) to get spam and thus HTML code recognized as free speech at these companies expense. Then use that as a precedent for other types of code thus saving the EFF some serious bucks! Is spam a small enough price to pay for this?

Calculus Brown
So, line up, sign up, AND BEND OVER!

Not a good idea (2, Interesting)

WCMI92 (592436) | about 12 years ago | (#4002194)

I DESPISE SPAM'ers, but I despise the thought of the government and trial lawyers getting their greasy mitts into the net even more.

What irks me the most about some of the SPAM I get (over a hundred a day, so many that I've just started filtering whole domains, especially foreign ones) are the ones from LEGIT companies and sites, stuff I've signed up to get.

Such as news headlines from All Access, etc (I run a radio news site, and like to keep up on news items to post). Well, they, among others, have started using the lowball techniques that VeriSign's SPAMM'ers (easily the MOST obnoxious non-porn or scam SPAM on the net), in randomizing their e-mail sender.

The purpose of which is to defeat you inbox filtering (I use Agent) which I use to shunt mailing list e-mail, and news updates from All Access among others to their own folders so as to make the 200+ emails a DAY I get organized so that I MIGHT actually be able to make sense of them...

All of which is done, of course, because for some reson, marketers think they MUST be in your Inbox or else, they don't want you filtering.

In my case, getting into my Inbox makes you LESS likely to be read...

Also, I've pretty much had to make up folders and filters for the domains of all the popular "free" e-mail services, such as Yahoo! and Hotmail, so much SPAM arrives from those addresses daily. Which makes it LESS liklely that anyone needing to send me something using one of those services to get my notice, as 99% of the stuff I receive from those two domains are SPAM.

Anyone else resorted to this? I'm starting to get more and more SPAM from, as well, making me consider doing the same to them...

libility and finding the bastards (5, Informative)

_ph1ux_ (216706) | about 12 years ago | (#4002198)

only problem with this is that finding the source of the spam and actually holding them accountable will likely be a big problem.

also - who is truely responsible for the *sending* of the email e.g: the guy who was on /. a while ago about making such a great living at being a spammer etc - he provides a service to people who want to send out shitloads of spam. Under this law - who is liable for the spam - the _sender_ or the _client_ of the service?

so - if you go after spammers and you find that the email you are getting comes from someone like this said spammer guy, do you have the legal right to demand client info from him - and can you sue both him (sender) and his client for 100/email each (totalling 200/email)

the other isue is the time it will take to try to track down these people when you have false headers etc.. and when they are in china or some such country where it would be hopeless to track them....

Last time I checked... (0)

acydophyte (303244) | about 12 years ago | (#4002203)

Last time I checked, its pretty difficult for ISPs to trace where an email came from. So under this surmise, how would the wonderful state of Ohio instate these fines? Spammers suck, but most aren't stupid enough to break the law and make themselves traceable too.

Re:Last time I checked... (1)

deaconblues (522345) | about 12 years ago | (#4002314)

Actually, it's not difficult. Headers are pretty instructive to trace stuff back. Besides, in order for a spam run to make any money, there has to be some way for someone to contact the spammer: email, telephone, webpage, whatever. That's a link to trace from as well. I would venture to say a very, very large portion of all the spam out there comes from a handful of spammer gangs that are fairly notorious in the anti-spam community. A law that holds ISP responsible for pink contracts would cripple these gangs overnight. The biggest thing this kind of law will do is to raise the costs of spamming to a point where it's not profitable to do it anymore. Right now, spammers are at risk of losing an ISP account or a webhosting contract. Under this sort of law, they are at risk of losing their homes.

A nice idea (0)

SquireCD (465008) | about 12 years ago | (#4002212)

This news makes me pretty happy for our futures of spam but... This being Utah & Ohio could create a bigger problem with shared information on the internet. If the boundies of this(these) law(s) are confined to Utah & Ohio then spammers will either ignore the law all together OR they will start passing off information of where you live, as to avoid states with this new bill. That's a little worrysome to me.

I don't know if a Federal law would help much either. That could do the exact same thing. None the less, this changes the rules a little and that is comforting to me.

Here's a tip for all you guys who hate spam as much as I do. Check out [] . I've noticed a slight (any decline is good to me) decline in my spam since I've been using spamcop. You forward (with the header) the spam to the email address you signed up to get and they will process and track the spam and then allow you to email the spam's ISP straight from their forum. It's really nice. Check it out, and it's free!

What about snail mail junk mail? (1)

lord13 (39188) | about 12 years ago | (#4002226)

This is all well and good, but what about the miscellaneous crap that fills my snail-mail box at home? I'd love to fill out a card at the post office to stop recieving all of that junk, which I never even read (except the Victoria's Secret catalogs). I would think that all of the paper that stuff is printed on consumes a far greater number of natural resources as opposed to spam email.


Re:What about snail mail junk mail? (1)

deaconblues (522345) | about 12 years ago | (#4002331)

You have to understand that those of us in the lumber cartel (tinu) are working very hard to elmiminate electronic commerce so that we can continue to sell lumber to be cut down for postal mailings. Really, it's quite obvious if you look at it. Lumber Cartel member 2423

Don't forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4002231)

Services like Spamcop [] , you don't need to pay for it, and I've managed to reduce my spam to almost nothing, and it really hurts the spammers []

Make spam even more expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4002257)

Click this link [] . This is where the spamware authors advertise their vile services. Use the slashdot effect, click every link and make them pay!

It workes without legislation. (3, Interesting)

cornice (9801) | about 12 years ago | (#4002262)

I live in Utah. Yea, yea, I know. Anyway, a few months ago one of the users on my network stopped me in the hall to say he had just sent an e-mail in reply to a spam requesting that he be removed from the spammer's list. I got all upset and explained (again) that all that does is confirm to the spammer that he has a live address. Then he explained that he had told the spammer that he would sue him under some bogus Utah law. He made up the number and title, etc. I was only mildly amused until the next day when he received a personal reply from the spammer. He apologized and said he would not use the address anymore. I was amazed. I don't expect this to ever work again but at least now we have the law behind us. Oh yea, I also find it typical that the Utah law has as much to do with stopping sexually explicit mail as it does with stopping spam in general. I guess that this is where the political support comes from. Don't you wish your state had it's own Porn Csar [] ?

spammers vs. lawyers (1)

borg (95568) | about 12 years ago | (#4002284)

So now the spiel will be:

"Injured as a result of medical malpractice? Injured as a result of unsafe working conditions? Had an automobile accident? Received unsolicited commercial email? Call 1-800-scumbag now!"

I know the enemy of my enemy is supposed to be my friend...but this is pushing the limits.

Write your government officials (2)

Heem (448667) | about 12 years ago | (#4002298)

About the only recourse left in this society is to write your government officials. Ask them to help pass a law like this in your state. It's been mentioned that this will only stop spammers from those states - ok, well the more states that pass this law, the better for us.
Vote-Smart.Org []
will help you to look up the Postal and Email addresses of everyone you need to write to.

Sorta OT, sorta not (alleged "opt-in" spams...) (3, Interesting)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | about 12 years ago | (#4002303)

On the subject of spam and legalities, I've lately gotten a couple of those "blackmail" spams, you know the ones politely worded "we request your permission to contact you" in the subject, but with instructions that essentially boil down to "If you don't want us and our affiliates to spam you senseless, reply to us so we can confirm your email address and sell it to another spammer".

Is this even legal? Basically, they are asserting that if I don't actively decline their "offer", (and open myself up to be spammed by anyone they sell my "confirmed" address to), they claim I am "consenting" to be spammed by them and all of their affiliates.....

If I refuse to contact them and they spam me anyway, will that constitute harassment of some sort?

Ironically, BOTH of the last two spamming companies (both of them seem to be set up specifically to spam on behalf of others) that have done this claim on their websites that they only use "triple opt-in" addresses, which is obviously a falsehood considering they wouldn't be contacting me at all if they weren't harvesting my email address from some other not-opted-into spam list or a website or something...and only the twisted mind of a spammer thinks "refusing contact" is the same as "Oh, please, spam me!"...

two sides to this... be careful what you wish for (1)

fortinbras47 (457756) | about 12 years ago | (#4002304)

Utah passes anti spam legislation...

French court rules Yahoo can't host auctions for nazi memorabilia... Yahoo says it can't tell who is French...

Australian individual sues the Wall Street Journal (in Austrlia) for libel over an American news story on an American web server...

I'm all for anti-spam, but I would be more cautious before rooting states on in trying to assert their jurisdiction over the Internet. If US states can pass anti-spam legislation, sales tax laws won't be THAT far off. Just be careful what you wish for.

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