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FCC Opens Flood Gates for Junk Faxes

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the let-the-faxing-begin dept.

276

EmagGeek writes "The FCC implemented a Report and Order on Reconsideration (R&O on Recon) that uses some of the same exemptions for junk faxes that currently exist for the Do Not Call list. The new rules specify that junk faxers can claim an Existing Business Relationship (EBR) to justify flooding you with junk faxes. Under the new rules, a junk faxer could visit your website and call that an existing business relationship. The new rules also prevent junk-fax trapping, in which someone posts their fax number on the internet, waits for junk faxes, then files suit against the faxers under the TCPA. With all of the government-sponsored selling out of The People that has been going on in the past, say, 6 or so years, one has to wonder when or even if it is going to stop."

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Wha? (5, Funny)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084291)

Can we put the FCC's FAX number on the junk fax list?

Re:Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084339)

Why don't we all send all of our travel deal faxes to the FCC main fax number. I'll bet we can get it off the website.

Govenrment Fax numbers (3, Insightful)

WinPimp2K (301497) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084429)

Sure you can, get all of the government fax numbers you can find and send em to junk faxers along with links to apporpriate .gov websites so the faxers can create that all important relationship.

You would then expect that the FCC will reconsider the regulations.
BZZT!

1> The government, hit by increased communications would determine the need for a lot more fax machines, and clerks to feed them paper and file the vital communications being received.

2> Certain specific government entities (congresscritters) would however dislike the increased demands on their time and on pain of budget cuts, force the FCC to rewrite those regs so that government agencies and officials can individually declare faxes to THEIR fax lines are illegal.

3>Certain specific entities that think they are government organizations (lobbyists, PACs and re-election committees) would contact the junk faxers directly and explain why the faxers need to immediately donate to the cause - or face the possibility of restrictive legislation.

Re:Govenrment Fax numbers (3, Funny)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084472)

Sure you can, get all of the government fax numbers you can find and send em to junk faxers along with links to apporpriate .gov websites so the faxers can create that all important relationship. You would then expect that the FCC will reconsider the regulations.

Or, just as likely, you'll find yourself going to pound-me-in-the-ass "terrorist" prison.

Re:Govenrment Fax numbers (1)

WinPimp2K (301497) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084586)

Well, actually, I considered that too obvious to mention. It is not mutually exclusive with the other outcomes I mentioned.

Re:Wha? (1)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084579)

Can we put the FCC's FAX number on the junk fax list?

Calling all Slashdotters! Please send the FCC a nice Fuck You! @ 1-866-418-0232

One solution... (1)

KC7GR (473279) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084317)

Two words: Unpublished numbers.

Give your FAX number only to those you trust, period. If someone then abuses it, it'll be easier to track down where the abuse stemmed from, and take appropriate action.

Re:One solution... (3, Insightful)

forand (530402) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084364)

I think you are being a little short sighted here. When you are a business you need to make your contact information available to your customers and those that are interested in becoming customers. While businesses certainly do want you to contact them if you are interested in becoming a customer they most certainly don't want to have a similar ammount of faxes on the floor in the morning as they find spam in the email boxes. Keeping a number unpublished is not an option for what most fax numbers are used for: business corrospondance.

Re:One solution... (1)

Mr. Cancelled (572486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084469)

Two words: Unpublished numbers.

Two more words: "Greedy politicians"

Re:One solution... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084481)

Let me give you a clue, here: IT DOESN'T WORK.

I HAVE an unlisted number. I've been very careful with it, in fact. And yet, I get BOMBARDED with goddamned junk faxes day..AND NIGHT. I don't even own a fax machine.

The best I can figure is my number, prior to me getting it, was already on some dumbasses' junk fax list.

So, despite the fact that I pay for an unlisted number, I get an answering machine full of "beep-beep-beep" every fucking day. I've been woken up at 2am by these people, too. The phone company won't do a damned thing about it other than try to sell me new services. And now the gov't has just opened the sewer to make it 1000% worse.

Oh and here's another gem: I'm in Canada. All the junk faxes I get are from AMERICAN companies (I found this out after putting a fax modem on my phone line to find out WHO the hell was sending them). So this decision isn't even a result of my own government's stupidity.

Re:One solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084608)

Is it possible to send a ton of black pages by fax back to the sender, of fax-bomb one of their numbers?

Re:One solution... (1)

Thuktun (221615) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084837)

So, despite the fact that I pay for an unlisted number, I get an answering machine full of "beep-beep-beep" every fucking day. I've been woken up at 2am by these people, too. The phone company won't do a damned thing about it other than try to sell me new services. And now the gov't has just opened the sewer to make it 1000% worse.

Prior to dumping our landline for mobile-only lines, we found a TeleZapper(tm) appeared to work with these as well as with the telemarketers.

Re:One solution... (3, Interesting)

Jon_Hanson (779123) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084542)

That doesn't work. I have a fax number that I give out to no one and yet I still get at least one junk fax per day. I have probably been found through war-dialing.

I actually sued a local company that advertised themselves that way in small-claims court under the TCPA. I did end up winning the case but I was only awarded court costs and not the $500 to $1,500 for a willful violation. The judge said that he had to keep things in perspective becuase he doesn't fine DUI offenders that much ($1,500). At least it cost the company in terms of time of an officer of the company (in this case the Vice President of Human Resources) that had to show up to defend themselves.

At one time you could assign your junk faxes to Fax Wars [faxwars.com] and they would do the research of what company was lurking behind the toll free numbers (no one is dumb enough to blantly say a company name anymore) and sue them. You would then get $25 per successful suit or settlement. Alas, their website has been under construction for a while now. They were supposed to be revamping it so you could track the progress of your faxes on-line instead of calling them.

Re:One solution... (1)

JJRRutgers (595466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084720)

You can have an unlisted number and still get junk faxes. Telemarketers have computers that randomly dial numbers, and if they get a fax-type sound on the other end, they "know" it is a viable fax machine they have dialed. That number is automatically placed on their fax-call list, and they start junk-faxing away.

They use this same method to telemarket you over the regular phone: When you pick up the phone and no one is on the other line, it really is a coputer waiting to hear a "hello?" on your end. If the computer gets a "Hello?", it forwards that number to a real telemarketer who calls you in a few minutes knowing there in a live person on the other line.

Best way to answer the phone when the phone number is foreign or unlisted? Answer in a way that sounds like an answering machine: Answering machine-type responses usually results in the computer moving on to the next number.

Don't blame the FCC for this (2, Informative)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084321)

"uses some of the same exemptions for junk faxes that currently exist for the Do Not Call list."

This was called for by the Junk Fax "Prevention" Act of 2005. It cleared the Senate unanimously and by voice vote in the House. Be sure to thank your members of Congress for this one.

Revenge (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084333)

Might this mean a return of the good old Moebius Fax? [student.uit.no] (scroll down a bit)

Re:Revenge (4, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084406)

Moebius Fax? (scroll down a bit)

Scroll down a bit, and a bit more, and a bit more... and then a bit more... and then some more... and some more...

What about telegraphs? (-1, Troll)

moehoward (668736) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084337)


Oh, shut up. Anyone with a public FAX number just needs to get slapped anymore. Give me a break. From Fortune 100 companies I work for to 1-man shops, NOBODY I work with has an always-on-public FAX number.

It's like bitching about smoke signal spam. Which, actually, really used to piss me off until my all-protecting government made it all go away. Please make it all go away, government... I'm so helpless.

Re:What about telegraphs? (2, Interesting)

novastar123 (540269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084459)

actually a lot of places have always on fax numbers, the McDonalds i worked at in highschool did, my highschool did, The 5 person Siding and Windows company i used to work for does, The billion dollar worldwide corperation I currently work for has 4 different always on fax lines that I know of, probably more in different people's offices.

Fax Is Old (4, Insightful)

chrpai (806494) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084338)

The traditional print to paper fax machine is old and should die. The last place I worked at was large enough that FAX was integrated with their VM system and all public fax machines were thrown away. If you wanted to send a FAX you went to the copier and scanned it to your inbox. If you wanted to receive one they fax'd it to your telephone number and it showed up in your inbox. Add in a FAX spam filter module and problem solved.

Re:Fax Is Old (1)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084378)

I work in a smallish office where the fax is always on (Clients like it that way so we do it, but that's another story). The thing I hate, are the junk fax calls- i.e. we get a lot of faxes to our main voice line, so you pick up the phone and you get the beep bleeep beeeeeeep beep. It is obnoxious. Even more so than the "Must invest now" or "7 Day 5 star tropical vacation for $16!!!" that come into our fax line...
Does anyone know how to stop these junk fax "calls?"

Re:Fax Is Old (2, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084413)

Does anyone know how to stop these junk fax "calls?"

There should be a phone number at the bottom of the fax which you can call to input your phone number and have it removed from their list.

Where I used to work (state government office) they had faxes on every floor and on those times I would be out and about if I saw a junk fax I'd take it with me, call the number and have the fax number removed. As far as I know junk faxes stopped coming to those machines.

Re:Fax Is Old (1)

ktappe (747125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084491)

Does anyone know how to stop these junk fax "calls?"
There should be a phone number at the bottom of the fax which you can call to input your phone number and have it removed from their list.
Re-read the post you're responding to. There is no fax to read a number from because the call is going to a voice line.

Best suggestion I can make (if you really are getting many of these per day) is register a complaint with your phone provider that you're being harrassed. Perhaps they can trace the call to the sender and get them to stop.

Good luck,
-Kurt

Re:Fax Is Old (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084536)

Ack! Yup, I misinterpreted the post.

Oh well, such is life.

Re:Fax Is Old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084549)

At a previous job, I'd just tranfer the fax calls to our fax machine (simple to do with our phone system at the time), grab the print out, and call the offender back.

if yer switchboard can handle it, (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084600)

forward the call to a fax machine, observe the output- follow up on it.

we can do this at my workplace, take an incomming call and dial a different outbound number.

Re:Fax Is Old (2, Informative)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084605)

yes, you can report it to the telephone company and they will contact the offending faxer. Next time you get it, hang up and dial *69 (the one that tells you what the last incoming number was). Then call your telephone number and say you've been receiving faxes at this voice line for [duration] and here's the offending number. They'll track down who owns the line and, well, they won't be very nice about it.

I had this happen to me in my old apartment. We didn't own a fax machine, but we got fax calls at 4am for a week. Needless to say, they were not very pleasant mornings.

Re:Fax Is Old (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084657)

I use a service provided by trustfax.com. For a pretty reasonable price, they provide an 866 (toll-free) number, and a mailbox of PDFs of the incoming faxes. No paper mess. And I haven't gotten a spam fax yet.

I have no connection with trustfax.com except as a satisfied customer; there are other, similar fax service providers.

re: fax might be "old", but it won't die yet.... (2, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084663)

The last 4 companies I worked for still relied on at least 2 or 3 stand-alone paper fax machines, along with computerized fax solutions. Why?

Primarily, there's the "simplicity" factor. No matter how nice it might be to be able to fax anything from your PC that you could print to a printer, you've still got the complexity of the system itself to deal with. Larger companies use networked fax solutions like "LightningFax", where all the outgoing faxes get queued up on a server for delivery. If a dialing rule is incorrect on the server, it might spend all afternoon trying to dial a number without putting a required 1 on the front, or not using an area-code where one is needed for an "in state long-distance call", etc. Or as occasionally happens, the driver on the server might get hung, causing all the faxes to logjam, reporting that they're all "ready to send" - but the telephony card isn't making any calls out.

When your customer is waiting for a faxed quote, your salespeople want an immediate solution. Having that old stand-alone fax machine as a backup is the easiest way to solve their problem, while you troubleshoot the issue on the network fax package.

There's also the fact that sometimes, a fax needs to be sent (or received) by a visitor to your business. Are they going to be able to log in to one of your computers, know how to use the scanner to get their document into the computer (or know how to get a received one to their workstation to print)?

The Bush Administration is thoroughly corrupt. (-1, Offtopic)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084347)

The Bush Administration is, in my opinion, thoroughly corrupt. Bush seems to have little comprehension of the events around him. Those who are associated with him sell government favors to the highest-bidding corrupter.

The result is unprecedented debt [futurepower.org] , as money is vacuumed out of government by shutting down government functions into the pockets of the corrupters.

I wrote a short, imperfect review of a few of the books an movies about the corruption: Unprecedented Corruption: A guide to conflict of interest in the U.S. government [futurepower.org] .

--
Before, Saddam got Iraq oil profits & paid part to kill Iraqis. Now a few Americans share Iraq oil profits, & U.S. citizens pay to kill Iraqis. Improvement?

Re:The Bush Administration is thoroughly corrupt. (1)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084391)

And this gets modded up becuase it is about the FAX and FCC rulings?

Re:The Bush Administration is thoroughly corrupt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084461)

I know right. This should be modded flamebait. It has NOTHING to do with the Bush administration.

Re:The Bush Administration is thoroughly corrupt. (1)

visigoth (43030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084551)

I beg to differ.

"With all of the government-sponsored selling out of The People that has been going on in the past, say, 6 or so years, one has to wonder when or even if it is going to stop."

Thus, the original article invites commentary related to government involvement. G.W. Bush is at the head of the government, and therefore is responsible for its actions.

Or are we now embarking on a "new enlightenment" where leaders are no longer considered responsible or accountable in any way for actions of their organizations?

Re:The Bush Administration is thoroughly corrupt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084511)

Wow, a corrupt government....imagine that. All governments are corrupt because they are run by imperfect people. There is no such thing as a perfect man, much less a perfect politician. So lets all just keep bitching until we can get a President who likes oral sex from chubby interns...Oh wait, that didn't work either, he still killed Iraqis with cruise missles, and somalians, croations, and serbians...Even the model President Lincoln was corrupt as Sadaam or GWB when it came to railroads, the (mass industry) of the time. Gas prices are high because the government wants us to by hybrid cars right? 9/11 was a conspiracy right? My God, think before you waste anyones time and brain cells on this type of bullshit.

You are a self righteous pompous ass, if you think you can run the government, get into politics and quit bitching like another cookie cutter disassociated ass.

And if that doesn't work, try to stop being such a liberal shitdick.

-Laz

what a joke (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084357)

Don't tell me this is Bush's fault too? I hate the guy as much as anybody but get fucking real.

They get all the blame for this and no credit at all for the do not call list. That's pretty fucking funny. I'm sure SOMEBODY here (everybody?) will explain it away with some bull shit story that I'm not interested in hearing.

Re:what a joke (2, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084702)

The DNC list is a great idea, and it does help, but there are too many exceptions in the rules to make it a final solution. Political campaigns and non-profits can still get through, and the idea of what it takes to establish an "Existing Business Relationship" is a joke. If they just changed the EBR restriction to only apply to, say, people who had actually purchased something from the company in the past, it would help a lot.

Even if the web page has a disclaimer? (2, Interesting)

Broodje (646341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084362)

I have 2 comments: 1. What if my web page says "Reading this does not a business relationship make"? 2. You still use a real FAX machine with real ink and paper? Shame on you. And don't quote me SOX rules, I've been there and conquered. -B

This is great... (1)

ezavada (91752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084384)

...because it will just hasten the day when fax dies out in favor of pure digital means of information transmission.

Liberal Bullshit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084390)

With all of the government-sponsored selling out of The People that has been going on in the past, say, 6 or so years, one has to wonder when or even if it is going to stop."

More wah wah bush wah wah big government wah wah.

More crying liberal pussydom, grow up, and shut the fuck up.

-Laz

Do they prosecute the existing laws? (3, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084410)

I get a fair number of junk faxes as it is. There's no business relationship; it's an unlisted fax number. The FCC can open the "floodgates" as far as they want with regulations if they're not going to prosecute anybody.

By contrast, the Do Not Call list appears to be more or less working. The few political and charity calls that still get through don't bother me much.

I don't know why telemarketers are respecting the DNC, but the junk faxers are fearless. Maybe junk faxes are less expensive to send, so they're more akin to spam than telemarketing?

Re:Do they prosecute the existing laws? (1)

HairyCanary (688865) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084559)

I don't know why telemarketers are respecting the DNC, but the junk faxers are fearless. Maybe junk faxes are less expensive to send, so they're more akin to spam than telemarketing?

I don't think so. Spam can be sent in bulk because the existing mail transport system has many loopholes that allow the individual "connections" to be distributed to someone else. Spam isn't actually inexpensive except for the spammer himself. Junk faxes on the other hand require a point-to-point voice connection just like a telemarketing call. There is no way to proxy the connections (that I know of).

On a related note, the very fact that these connections have to be made individually suggests that junk faxes should be easy to police if we wanted to. The technical foundation for tracing calls is very well established.

Re:Do they prosecute the existing laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084773)

Well junk faxers are a little slower than a spammer, becasue they can only send one fax at a time. But there are these devices call fax/modems and software called a wardialer that makes it pretty easy to violate a number of laws at once and blast messages out as fast as they can be transmitted.

Re:Do they prosecute the existing laws? (2, Interesting)

dpilot (134227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084751)

I never signed up for the Do Not Call list.

I never got that many nuisance calls, and that hasn't changed. I figured that the Do Not Call list was a centralized repository of live phone numbers, and I would get more calls through misuse than I get without it.

* We eat dinner as a family, and unless someone is expecting a call, we just don't answer the phone, then.
* As a general practice, I NEVER say "Hello" a second time when answering, if it appears that nobody is on the other side of the line. Perhaps it's urban legend, but someone once told me that getting the second "Hello" is the trigger for demon dialers used by telemarketers to hand off to a human.
* Again, without specific expectations of a call, we have the phone disconnected at night. We used to be one digit off of a local police dept.

One hand does not know about the other (4, Insightful)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084420)

Anyone else find it a little ridiculous that this is on the same main page with the FTC shutting down Spammers?

Only in this country could we have one department closing down spam and another opening it up...

Re:One hand does not know about the other (1)

aminorex (141494) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084484)

Why not? We have one agency conducting terrorism, and another waging war on it. Isn't spam at least as annoying as the terrorist boogeyman? If you added up all the man-years spent on spam, I'm sure it would vastly outweigh the U.S. losses in Iraq (although not the Iraqi losses, I'm equally sure).

Fun day (4, Interesting)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084421)

Stories about AT&T handing over traffic to the NSA...now this...

Honestly, there are some days when the news just makes me embarrassed to live in this country. And when I'm done being embarrassed, I become scared, because of how little power is left to we the people to incite change in the governmental powers that rule and abuse us.

As a 22 year old who admittedly does not know very much about the history of our government...can any older Slashdotters explain what it was like when there were even worse government abuses than this, and what the catalyst was that finally got the people to act? I understand that an effective catalyst from back then might not be effective today...but I'm just trying to gain some hope from the fact that some day soon, the people will collectively say "ENOUGH!" and we will be able to go about trying to fix this country into what it should be, and try to patch up the horrible mess we've made of ourselves to the rest of the world.

Although honestly part of me thinks that my youth might be the enabler of this naivety I have that there is any hope of seeing things get better in my lifetime.

(Note: To any who find this off-topic...I would pose that it is on-topic in terms of the government screwing us over yet again, mod me down if you disagree...whatever, I feel like everything is kinda pointless right now.)

Re:Fun day (1)

utexaspunk (527541) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084593)

can any older Slashdotters explain what it was like when there were even worse government abuses than this

I'm not much older than you, so I don't think I can comment much, but I don't think there has been a time (in America) where government abuses have been this bad, at least not within anyone who is still living's lifetime. Nixon and Hoover did some pretty egregious stuff, but I don't think anyone living has seen such widespread and flagrant corruption in America as the current administration. I agree with you, though- I'd love to hear how bad it was, if someone knows of it being worse...

Re:Fun day (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084632)

"I agree with you, though- I'd love to hear how bad it was, if someone knows of it being worse..."

You know...I think your comment simply states lot about the current state of things....its so bad that the only way to see any hope in things is to hear about a worse time.

Last time I heard about things being so bad that that kind of thinking was rampant was (pardon me Godwin) in the concentration camps.

Re:Fun day (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084832)

I recalled this from a History Channel show and dug up a link:

http://www.historychannel.com/tdih/tdih.jsp?catego ry=oldwest&month=10272956&day=10272985 [historychannel.com]

Basically, some miners were striking to improve living conditions so they and their families were evicted from their company owned homes. When they took up residence in the hills and continued to strike, they were fired upon by private detectives hired by Rockefeller. When that didn't work, Rockefeller got the governor of Colorado to send in the National Guard who fired on the camp. The women and children hid in ditches dug in the tents to stay safe from the bullets.

One of the strike leaders headed out to negotiate with the mining company but was shot dead instead. Then, under the cover of darkness, the National Guard snuck in set fire to the tents. More troops on the hilltops fired upon the people who fled from the burning tents. Sixty six men, women and children died and not a single person was charged with a crime.

I'd call that a pretty big abuse of government power.

Re:Fun day (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084625)

There've been 2 key reasons for "revolutions". Mostly one: Despair. The other one is idealism, but that one is rarely used and pretty much died out by today.

Despair has been a good fuel for every revolution ever. French revolution, Russian revolution, when people ain't got nothing to lose but their life, and especially if said life is close to being gone anyway, that's when they take up anyone as a leader.

Of course, governments learned since. What we got now in the US (and most of the "civilised" countries) dates back to the Roman Empire and panem et circenses: Bread and games. And of either there is no shortage in any "western" country. You have access to cheap food and cheap entertainment. Everything else is expensive, regulated and culled. Freedom isn't amongst the first things people want. What they want is food and entertainment.

And they got that. Plenty of that.

So you won't see a revolution anytime soon. People simply don't care. They don't care about freedom. They don't care about junk mail. They don't care about anything as long as their bellies are filled and their nerves are tickled.

If there was a God, he'd have replaced humanity with a sentient lifeform by now.

Re:Fun day (1)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084642)

... and what the catalyst was that finally got the people to act?

Uh.... Boston Tea Party?

Re:Fun day (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084670)

Go see Good Night, and Good Luck if you can find it in a theatre, or buy it on DVD.

Re:Fun day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084706)

No disrespect, but at 22 years old, your perspective is too short to even form a valid opinion. All 22-year-olds in every country are outraged at their government. It has nothing to do with the government itself.

With a longer perspective, you might realize that the "Republicans under Bush are raping the Constitution" crisis was preceded by the "Democrats under Roosevelt are raping the Constitution" crisis - and yet the Constitution survived. Or you might make a list of the powers We The People had in 2000 that we no longer have in 2006, and realize it's a pretty empty list. Or between laments about the death of the free and independent press, you might reflect that with thousands of blogs of every opinion, all available uncensored 24 hours per day, it's a pretty silly thing to lament about.

Seriously. I'm not trying to rail on you. I'm just saying that in ten or fifteen years you're going to think differently. And if you spend some of those years outside the US, you'll probably appreciate home a lot more. I found America in 2004 no more oppressive than Amsterdam in 1999.

Catalyst (2, Funny)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084764)

what the catalyst was that finally got the people to act?

The president getting a BJ.

Re:Fun day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084805)

Some would be surprised there was more labor violence in the US than anywhere else. It is true. (Why is the period between the civil war and WW1 so scantly covered in highschool history?)

Anything's possible!

Of course, back then Americans were more independent and had better thinking skills (this was once a country where almost everyone could read a book like _The Last of the Mohicans_).

Sorry... I'm not really going anywhere with this. Give up! It's a generation of swine that would rather be slaves than give up cable TV or their obsessions with Hollywood gossip.

What's the worse that can happen? They can't really take your freedom! If you give up your car, your TV, your telephone... they have no power. What do junk-faxes mean to someone with no fax machine?

FCC mis-step (2, Interesting)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084422)

The FCC's made a mis-step here. Junk e-mail is one thing, it costs time and hassle but not money. Junk faxes, though, cost money. The accountants will see the cost of consumables (paper, ink/toner) go up, and they'll be able to tie it directly to junk faxes. That's when the business groups start calling their Congressmen saying "Your FCC's decision is costing our members money. Do something, or come election time our contributions go to your opponent.". That's why the junk-fax provisions of the TCPA were put in in the first place.

Of course, there's also another catch. The FAX-sending entity probably has a FAX line too. If they're claiming an existing business relationship with you, they can't very well deny you having an existing business relationship with them, now can they? And these new rules allow you to send junk FAXes to entities you have an existing business relationship with, don't they?

Re:FCC mis-step (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084553)

Junk e-mail is one thing, it costs time and hassle but not money.

Bandwidth is free? It's (usually) small when you're an individual user, but ISPs have to upgrade because of spam.

Re:FCC mis-step (1)

trosenbl (191401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084576)

Of course, there's also another catch. The FAX-sending entity probably has a FAX line too. If they're claiming an existing business relationship with you, they can't very well deny you having an existing business relationship with them, now can they? And these new rules allow you to send junk FAXes to entities you have an existing business relationship with, don't they?


Yes, but they have a tendency to either have a machine handle their faxes (so the "mobius fax", a few sheets of black paper taped in a loop, won't be nearly effective), or they will have it set up so that the number does not accept incoming calls.

Coping (2, Interesting)

Phreakiture (547094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084685)

Of course, there's also another catch. The FAX-sending entity probably has a FAX line too. If they're claiming an existing business relationship with you, they can't very well deny you having an existing business relationship with them, now can they? And these new rules allow you to send junk FAXes to entities you have an existing business relationship with, don't they?

Actually, this just gave me a neat idea.

First off, I suggest that FAX machines should have the ability to read CID data, and that FAX lines should be subscribed to it.

What you then do with this data is up to you as the owner of the fax machine. I see three options:

First, you could have the FAX machine pick up the line for one second and then hang it back up when a blacklisted FAX number shows up on the CID. This would be the most efficient and least vengeful option.

Second, you could have the FAX machine fail to pick up the line when a blacklisted FAX number shows up on the CID. This is probably not the best choice, as your line is tied up ringing, and you don't really get much in return for it.

Third, and I only recommend this one for pooled-line and low-traffic FAX machines, you configure the FAX machine so that if a blacklisted or non-whitelisted FAX number sends something, the FAX machine drops to the lowest FAX protocol available (which is a 300 baud protocol) and makes liberal use of flow control. OTOH, if an approved fax number sends something, it will go to the fastest protocol (which is a 14,400 baud protocol) and receives into a buffer so that flow control is usually un-needed.

In all cases, any fax received should have the CID data printed on it, so that the guilty can be blacklisted.

Re:Coping (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084881)

Yeah, just like spam email, the junk fax CID is set to some random number, which you can blacklist, but the next junk fax will have another random CID. Blacklisting CID is as useless as blacklisting spam by sender email address (blacklisting spam by IP is more useful because spammers cant as easily forge the physical IP they are connecting from)

Re:Coping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084886)

HylaFax will do this.

Re:FCC mis-step (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084859)

The cost of receiving junk faxes may be more obvious to individuals and businesses, but don't be fooled into think email spam doesnt cost money. AOL estimated once that half of its total email bandwidth was spam - just imagine AOL's total bandwidth bill, and take half that. It amounts to quite a bit more than 'nothing'.

Not to mention all the extra servers, storage space, extra wages paid to employess to design and implement anti-spam systems (or the costs to outsource it), to clear customers mailboxes that are too full of spam for them to download over their dialup, to clear out the mailserver queues clogged with undeliverable spam and spam bounces, not to mention replies to spam from clueless customers.

Junk email certainly does have a cost, im money, as well as time and hassle (Heck 'time is money')

Please make them STOP. (4, Informative)

lancejjj (924211) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084428)

I noticed that starting about a year ago I started to get junk faxes on my fax machine... and now it has grown to 30 to 40 per day... and none of the faxers have ever had ANY business relationship with me. If I ask to take myself off a list, a new one appears the very next day!

Before that time, I used to receive a total of 3 or 4 faxes a week total (from my clients, and none from scam-marketers)

Virtually all of these faxes are of the nature of "HR is sponsoring a company trip to Aruba for $300", "June, I thought you'd be interested in this special weight loss pill, it worked for me!", and "refinance your house".

I'm not sure how congress or the FCC let this scum go nuts, but it's obvious that they have, costing ME lots in paper, toner, and consumption of my otherwise important business FAX line.

Re:Please make them STOP. (1)

Jon_Hanson (779123) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084733)

Just like you should never unsubscibe from spam, you should never call those numbers to be removed from junk fax lists. If they remove your number (doubtful) they will sell it to other junk faxers. By searching out the removal number you are also indicating that you actually look at their crap and that opens the floodgates even more as you have seen.

Re:Please make them STOP. (1, Informative)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084848)

Of course, you DO understand that you're partially to blame for the explosion?

The *first* time you called one and said "take me off your list", you just raised the value of that CONFIRMED GOOD fax number 100x. So you got bumped to the "confirmed good" fax number list, to be sold MUCH more widely.

Here's a trick: put a phone on your fax line. Hit *77 or whatever your local telco's signal is for (Anonymous call reject). Reattach your fax.

Voila, 90%+ of your incoming spamfaxen are now prevented from reaching your line.

REAL PEOPLE that send faxes don't typically BLOCK their fax numbers, and thus will come through.

It stops when you manage to ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084432)

... elect another government.

But wait, aren't elections unamerican?

Good thing FAX use is way down (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084437)

We've been seeing a big decline in FAX usage for a while now, in companies of all sizes. The small firm I work at doesn't have a dedicated FAX line anymore, and we're not alone. Pretty soon the FAX will be as rare as Telex.

The last FAXes to go are likely the one's in lawyers' and doctors' offices. They like the hard copy, cause it seems more legal . . .

Re:Good thing FAX use is way down (1)

shdragon (1797) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084631)

We've been seeing a big decline in FAX usage for a while now, in companies of all sizes. The small firm I work at doesn't have a dedicated FAX line anymore, and we're not alone. Pretty soon the FAX will be as rare as Telex.

Where I work (sales office), while there has also been a decline in faxes vs. email, the fax machine is still HEAVILY used. We have 10 incoming fax lines. I've never had someone say I can't fax it, but I get plenty of people everyday say that there email's not working & ask me to just fax it. You'd be surprised by the number of people that don't have scanners. Any time you work with an application that's filled in by hand, it's much simpler & quicker to just fax it. So, from where I'm sitting the FAX machine is here to stay for the long haul.

Cheers!

-shd

Junk (1)

kaoshin (110328) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084439)

I think the junk mail dudes are in cahoots with the trash dudes that pick up the trash. One day basically everybody is gonna kill everybody because they're jerks which owns.

I'm not claiming to be pro-Bush, but.... (2, Informative)

saintp (595331) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084440)

"With all of the government-sponsored selling out of The People that has been going on in the past, say, 6 or so years, one has to wonder when or even if it is going to stop."
s/6/200/;

The problem isn't this president; the problem is the last 38 or so.

You people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084446)

I read /. via fax... you bunch of insensitive cods!

Selling Out Six Or So Years (5, Insightful)

G)-(ostly (960826) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084468)

You missed about eight years there, buddy. Ever heard of this little thing called the DMCA?

Yea, Clinton signed that one.

Bush is an ass, but if you can't be honest about why you hate him, just keep your trap shut.

Re:Selling Out Six Or So Years (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084527)

Bush is an ass, but if you can't be honest about why you hate him, just keep your trap shut.

Ease off the coffee, man. You can hate people/things even for reasons others don't like. For instance, you appear to hate critics of Bush who fail to criticize Clinton for similar offenses . . .

Re:Selling Out Six Or So Years (2, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084606)

Calling someone out for being intellectually dishonest isn't "hate".

Re:Selling Out Six Or So Years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084618)

Yeah, just like I hate people who criticize Clinton (for lying about a BJ) but fail to criticize Bush (for lying about the justification for a war).

Re:Selling Out Six Or So Years (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084822)

People hated Clinton for abusing power. On practically his first day i the White House he had career government employees fired without cause and then when they complained to the press he had the FBI charge them with crimes they obviously didn't commit. He and his staff obtained secret FBI files on his political opponents under mysterious circumstances. The documents were never supposed to leave the FBI headquarters but somehow ended up in the White House in the charge of a political thug no one could remember hiring. His assaults on constitutional freedoms were no less dangerous than those going on today. They were just considered more politically correct.

Re:Selling Out Six Or So Years (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084671)

You know what I hate? People that mix clever with politics. For some reason that particular combination results in a smug know-it-all attitude that is so fucking indigestible that I feel compelled to dispute every point made.

OT: Your sig (0, Offtopic)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084757)

I don't get it. Explain?

Obsolete? (2, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084478)

I removed my fax number from my old business card about 6 years ago by ACCIDENT. I've been paying a little extra a month for the fax number (its all electronically processed now anyway) for those 6 years. I don't think a single person has asked me for my fax number in that time -- the only faxes I really receive is from marketers who I opted-in with, and I guarantee I have never made a purchase because of a fax.

Is the fax obsolete? Does anyone rely on faxing (maybe for contracts?) for their jobs? For me, e-mail is for documents I need, SMS is for notes and quick messages. I don't see anything in my businesses that needs the fax other than applications for accounts.

Re:Obsolete? (2, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084611)

Business to business transactions where the seller is extending credit to the buyer (a Purchase Order sale) is still handled over fax almost exclusively. Up until the last few months, insurance business was conducted via fax. Many local governments haven't gotten around to upgrading their fax based systems.

It's almost dead, but it's not dead yet. Luckily, for the most part, the fax machine is obsolete... At least on the receiving end.

Re:Obsolete? (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084640)

So basically it is government that is keeping this kludge still active. Their departments haven't upgraded from the 80s, and the law doesn't recognize any standard of electronic signature that would aid businesses in transacting contract signatures. Funny how that works ;)

Re:Obsolete? (1)

notea42 (926633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084825)

We still have to fax things at work. However, this is exclusively because our company is nationwide, and the accounting people who approve travel expense reports work on the other side of the country. The company subscribes to a scanning service and to submit receipts for expenses we have to print out a cover sheet from the expense reporting software and fax that sheet and all receipts to a specific fax number. Five minutes later, the scans are automatically visible inside the expense reporting software. I think this is a way to avoid buying scanners, and instead we have big combo printer/copier/fax machines. It certainly is more efficient than physically mailing receipts somewhere.

We also have to occasionally fax signed forms places, especially for security related things where they don't want to trust e-mail and snail mail is too slow.

Re:Obsolete? (1, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084906)

Very interesting and also very odd. Paper (to me) is the least secure form of storing documents. It is easily lost, misfiled, near impossible to track, and in the long run costly to store.

Faxing those documents makes some sense, but it is still so antiquated -- a technology from the 60s (or earlier) still being used today.

I understand e-mail's insecurity, but I don't understand why companies aren't using the option of a secured private network to transfer information. Sure the internet is hackable, but there are enough encryption technologies to make it relatively worthless to hack if there are enough layers to transport through. I would honestly think that the best resource for an accounting department would be proprietary software that basically scans a document, allows the user to enter some tagging data ("dinner", "travel", etc) and some automated tagging ("date", "employee", "origination location") plus a basic adder ("amount", "client") that the employee could tag themselves. Once this information is bundled and encrypted and sent via another encrypted network over the Internet, I would believe the company would realize huge gains in reduced overhead.

Are we creating busy work in order to keep people employed? Are the most efficient companies already doing this and passing on the savings to their customers? Will that be the next step?

Obligatory "It's Bush's fault" editorial (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084494)

"With all of the government-sponsored selling out of The People that has been going on in the past, say, 6 or so years, one has to wonder when or even if it is going to stop."

Isn't that just assumed now?

As long as CSID continues... (1)

Typingsux (65623) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084506)

This shouldn't be a problem.
(CSID)
Caller Sender Identification
When any fax machine sends a fax, it includes a Caller Sender Identification (CSID) at the top of the fax. This method is useful for routing messages when all faxes from a particular company are destined for a single user.
It was also against the law to send faxes without it, at least it was 10 years ago when I used faxserve on *choke* netware.
Bad legislation is bad legislation however, you can miss important calls for your fax machine when a 10 page spam is coming in.

Voice Calls (1)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084522)

(Phone rings)
(Me) Hello?
(Fax machine) BEEEEEEP! BEEEEEEEP!
(Me) Ugh!
(Phone rings again 5 seconds later)
(Me) Hello?
(Fax machine) BEEEEEP! BEEEEEEP!
(Me) DAMMIT!
(Phone rings again 5 seconds later)
(Me)That's it, I'm unpugging my phone!

Whatever... (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084524)

It's not like anybody paid attention to the current fax rules.

Besides, who uses a fax machine for incoming faxes anymore? Fax is a paperless process now. Incoming junk faxes don't cost the recipient money like they used to when they would use up your thermal paper.

fax spam (1)

goldfita (953969) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084532)

Great, I'll show up at work and there will already be cupons for v1agra waiting for me. I hope they don't get creative with the ascii art. Glad I don't have a fax...

I saw the restrictions go in in the first place (3, Interesting)

ianscot (591483) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084543)

I happened to be working a short-term temp job with a computer products company that sent junk faxes back when legislation originally stated you had to have specific permission to send someone such a fax.

That caused a little panic around that awful office. We had a little group meeting, in which we were told that we'd need to do a ton of "cold calls" to get permission to send people these unwanted faxes. Several recommended techniques for getting unknowing employees at the other end to sign off on that idea were provided to us.

I quit the next day, after maybe three days on the job. It was excruciating to consider how asinine the whole situation was -- on our end, on theirs, for everyone... the cost in worthless faxes that wouldn't sell anyone anything.

That was more than, oh, ten years ago now. The catalog junk mail industry has been straining at those restrictions since then, I guess. More than a little out-of-date, really, to be trying to sell hard drives over the fax... You'd think they'd be concentrating on their own Web presences long since, wouldn't you?

Receiving Faxes Costs Us Money! (1)

lumkichi (900689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084589)

At least for me it does - I do not not want to have to keep going back to Office Depot for another roll of Fax Paper just so I can have a fax machine at home for legitamate faxes that may come through once in a blue moon. Is the government going to allow me to claim expenses incurred by what is more than a nuisance?

Old iMac makes a better fax machine (2, Informative)

Jim in Buffalo (939861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084634)

You know what makes a good fax machine? An old iMac running OS X. It can receive faxes and just store them as PDFs, and even forward them to an email account, and you don't have to use one lick of toner, ink, or paper that you don't want to use. Got a junk fax? Just delete it. Use your email filters to separate out faxes from legit sources (the fax header appears in the Subject: header of the email) from the junk ones. The fax function is included with OS X, and if you buy some additional software and hardware, you can use that old iMac as a custom voicemail system as well.

Re:Old iMac makes a better fax machine (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084779)

Thats definitely a good idea, but it doesnt address the 'your fax line is busy receiving a junk fax so the important fax you do want cant get through' problem.

The FCC does not have the authority to change law. (5, Informative)

msauve (701917) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084679)

US Code Title 47, Sec.227(b)(1)(C):

"It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States to use any telephone facsimile machine, computer, or other device to send an unsolicited advertisement to a telephone facsimile machine"

A "telephone facsimile machine" is defined in Sec.227(a)(2)(B) as:

"equipment which has the capacity to transcribe text or images (or both) from an electronic signal received over a regular telephone line onto paper."

The term "established business relationship" is by law only applicable to a "telephone solicitation," which is clearly defined in the law as different than a fax. Furthermore, the FCC is by law specifically allowed to exempt by law only two specific sections, neither of which pertain to faxes.

http://uscode.house.gov/uscode-cgi/fastweb.exe?g etdoc+uscview+t45t48+1372+1++%28%29%20%20AND%20%28 %2847%29%20ADJ%20USC%29%3ACITE%20AND%20%28USC%20w% 2F10%20%28227%29%29%3ACITE%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20 %20

Have your state pass a "do not fax" law (1)

HarryMangurian (915864) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084739)

That's the way "do not call" got started.

Bad Republicans! (-1, Offtopic)

Skapare (16644) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084761)

Please don't moderate my subject line redundant.

A bit too much hype (1)

Jay Maynard (54798) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084814)

No, a junk faxer can't visit your website and claim an existing business relationship. There has to be something more, such as a request from the receipient of the fax for information or a quote, or an actual purchase. Read the Order for exact details.

If you do publish your fax number on the net, you can flag it as not being publication for the purposes of accepting fax spam. I just added the following text to my home page's fax number listing:

(NOTICE: No unsolicited advertisements are accepted at either of these fax numbers, per 47 CFR 64.1200(a)(3)(ii)(B).)

I would recommend that anyone who puts their fax number on a web page do the same. (No, I'm not a lawyer.)

It's called Democrascy (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15084820)

You have a chance to complain in November and again two years after that.

Just wait... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15084877)

In the not-so-distant future, you'll get up, in the morning... your alarm will ring out a company jingle, and remind you that you were 5 min late to work, yesterday -- if this keeps up, it'll be reflected in your performance review. You'll get out of bed, and your coffee pot will let you know that the local supermarket is having a sale on a new brand of coffee filters that you would, probably, like - considering your habits. Your stool['night-soil'] will be analyzed by your commode, and you will be informed that: 1) Your doctor's office would like to schedule an appointment to check on your hemorrhoids, 2) There's a sale on hemorrhoid cream, at the corner chemist's, and 3) Your health insurance premium just went up by $0.25/month, due to your increased risk of developing colon cancer. With this joyful news, you step into the shower, where you will be able to learn about a new sign-up special at the local health-club, to assist you in dropping those extra 2.3 kilos that you picked up, over the holiday. Looking in the mirror, you will be able to catch an ad for a new hair-color which will help you to look younger, by hiding that gray (see it, there -- left temple, *three* new white hairs!)...

&c., &c., ad infinitum, ad nauseaum
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