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Michigan Enforces Do-Not-Email Registry Law

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the think-of-the-children dept.

133

elanghe writes "The Michigan Attorney General filed suit against two companies sending adult-oriented email messages to the state's children, in violation of the Michigan Children's Protection Registry. A similar law in Utah is being challenged by the porn industry. While the FTC, influenced by the Direct Marketing Association, rejected the idea of a do-not-email registry, have these two states proven anti-spam laws like these — unlike CAN-SPAM — really have teeth?"

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The Love of Money (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888637)

A similar law in Utah is being challenged by the porn industry.
What's there to challenge? A state makes a perfectly reasonable law that requires you to check an e-mail against a database of registered users who don't want that mail. Take some porn and go to your downtown local metropolis. Now hand out those pornographic pictures to everyone, young and old alike. See how long you can do that until you're arrested. Nobody challenges those laws, why the hell would anybody be able to challenge laws against people who randomly distribute lewd messages online? The least they can do is check if the person has registered not to receive them. Ohhh, that's right. Silly me, porn is a $10 billion dollar industry. They'll just throw money and lawyers at that problem to fix it.

While the FTC, influenced by the Direct Marketing Association, rejected the idea of a do-not-email registry...
Yeah, influenced by a marketing association? Well, if you delve into this deeper, you'll find articles [washingtonpost.com] quoting FTC chairman Timothy J. Muris who offered these sage words of wisdom:
More dangerous, he said, was the possibility that spammers might get hold of the list, which would provide them with a gold mine of valid e-mail addresses that would be used for more spam.

"Consumers will be spammed if we do a registry and spammed if we don't," said Muris, who has long opposed the idea.
I'm sure that if you start hitting these companies with $10,000 fines per violation that they would pay attention to the list. And if they stole it, it's all the more fines.

Muris does raise a good point that should be taken into consideration:
Instead of starting a registry, Muris said, the FTC would first push the private sector to agree on a method for electronically authenticating senders of e-mail, which would cut down on spammers' ability to hide their identities and locations. Muris said such authentication is a necessary precursor to any no-spam registry.
I'm not sure how feasible that idea is, however. I would recommend just hitting the company that owns the last server to forward the e-mail. If they can't provide/prove another source from which the e-mail came, hit them with the $10,000 fine. I would wager that companies would be awful quick to clamp down their SMTP servers and keep records of where everything came from. Not only would this increase a company's security but it would reduce much of the spam you see that has a legitimate address from a careless company.

Re:The Love of Money (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15888683)

Take some porn and go to your downtown local metropolis. Now hand out those pornographic pictures to everyone, young and old alike. See how long you can do that until you're arrested.

Point well taken, but have you been to Las Vegas lately :).

Re:The Love of Money (3, Informative)

castoridae (453809) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888980)

Yeah - but in Vegas, notice how they have to stand in those little slices of land between the casino properties - city-owned land - because casino security won't let them distribute it on their private property which extends all the way to the street.

Funny how that works; the CASINOS of all entities are the ones enforcing "decency." :-)

Re:The Love of Money (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889136)

Yeah, I'm walking down the Strip, holding my daughter's hand, my wife is next to me holding my other daughter's hand. This idiot tries to shove an escort service flyer at me.

I mean, what are these idiots thinking?

Re:The Love of Money (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889587)

They're thinking that they don't give a damn what you do with the flyer, they just have to hand them all out. It's not like they get commission.

Re:The Love of Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15889626)

sure bring your kids to vegas, and then complain its not suitible for the family.

Re:The Love of Money (1)

humble.fool (961528) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889162)

Plus, I've walked down the strip at legal age, but with a group of highschoolers - they don't even approach anyone who looks under 21.

Re:The Love of Money (4, Insightful)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888705)

I'm sure that if you start hitting these companies with $10,000 fines per violation that they would pay attention to the list.

Good luck fining and/or shutting down a fly-by-night company registered in Vanuatu using an anonimous credit card founded via E-Gold.
Unless you barricade yourself behind a US-only barrier of SMTP servers, required by law to apply certain filtering criteria to email *or else* (China, anyone?), you're not going to stop them. And I think the remedy would be far worse than the illness, to be frank.

Re:The Love of Money (1)

andrewman327 (635952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888841)

I think the answer is better spam filters. My mother uses her Verizon e-mail account extensively and barely touches her Gmail account. The Verizon.net account is getting hit hard by spam now, but my Gmail account is almost entirely clean of spam entering the inbox. I salute the Great State of Michigan for its initiative, but most e-mail providers can do a much better job of stopping spam that has already been sent. A few years ago, people were proclaiming the end of the communicative medium as spam became the majority of e-mails. Thanks to advances in filtering, I now receive fewer spams than I did then.

Re:The Love of Money (2, Informative)

norman619 (947520) | more than 8 years ago | (#15890128)

I suggest you try using your Gmail account when registering for different forums and such. You will find after doign this on a few sites you will start to get hammered. No spam filter can get rid of the majority of spam. That's a pipe dream. Only way to get rid of spam on your system is to set your email app to only allow email form your contact/address list to get through. If they are not on either list they get tossed into the trash. I have 2 domains. Both email addresses listed in the whois info are hammered with junk. All the other email accounts I have created which are not posted for all the world to see are junk free. Only becasue I don't use them for anything other than business. I use a special junk account when applying for membership to different sites. Big suprise it's become the mother of all junkmail magnets. Mind you the places I sign up with claim to not sell or share your address with anyone if you select this little box telling them no. LOL!!! You also can't control what others do with your email address. :-) Your claim that "better filters" will reduce the problem is not true. The best draconian filters will stop the email but they will also add some administrative tasts to your email exp. The best practice is not to hand out your regular email to anyone other than those you truest. Do not use it to register with ANY website other than banking stitutions and so on. Maintain a current list of contacts and block all but the people on this list in. It's a pain but you can have a junk free email in box. It's something akin to what China does. It's not a bad idea but you have to be willing to maintain your filters. If you don't you will miss important emails and give up on it.

Re:The Love of Money (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889108)

That scheme you just proposed would honestly take a matter of hours to find out who owns the account, most people even other countries will comply with a subpeona.

Re:The Love of Money (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889269)

Oh no, you are mistaken. First of all the gov't of Vanuatu disregards any communication which doesn't become bothersome enough (1st level). If and when the gov't decides to actually read the documents they have been sent, they simply hide behind their secrecy laws (2nd level). If the case is big (as in, "plot for world domination" big, not a spammer running loose) they might force the local bank or corporation to spit out the names of the real owners - unfortunately they happen to be Ben Dover and Mike Hunt (3rd level, and the economy of Vanuatu collapses as a result, so they won't reach this stage easily). Should they decide to follow the money, it would lead them to an E-Gold funded account, which is accessed via Tor & co. The trail is lost.
What you say applies to most 1st world countries but there are some, around, that depend on this kind of services and a subpoena won't bother them in the slightest.

Re:The Love of Money (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889897)

Let me know when you find a spammer smart enough to do 1 of those things, let alone all of them flawlessly

Re:The Love of Money (2, Interesting)

Creepy (93888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889121)

bravo - I was going to post something much the same.

I think the only way enforcing a law like that would be to go after anybody in the US that is caught hiring offshore work for spam purposes. It would be hard to go after the pornographers unless they are the ones actually sending the spam because most of the time it's legal to create it where they are located. I seriously doubt that most porn mail originates in someplace like China or my spam box would be filled with Hot, Horny Asians just waiting for you - I'm pretty sure it's mostly outsourced from somebody in the US. I do get a few Russian, Asian, and Black e-mails like that, but 95% of them point to US sites tauting caucasian girls. Rarely do these get into my in-box (and if the filter catches them it blocks all links back to the site unless I release it to my inbox), but I sometimes lose legitimate mails like my Am-Ex bill (though I'm still messing with sensitivity settings)

Re:The Love of Money (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15888712)

Increadibly well said. This can't even be touted as a form of censorship either. If people do want to receive such emails, they simply dont have to submit themselves into the registry. Voluntary registers like this to provide protection against spammers should be introduced world wide as soon as possible. The cleaner our e-mail traffic the better.

Re:The Love of Money (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888768)

That's just it though, most spam doesn't originate in the states or Canada. I get quite a bit from south america these days. Hardly any of it is even in English!!!

As an aside: Anyone else notice a lot of spam getting through gmail's filters lately? I routinely wake up to see 10-20 spams in my inbox. Of course I also routinely get more than 100 spams a day, but a 10% miss rate seems a bit high.

Tom

Re:The Love of Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15888869)

As an aside: Anyone else notice a lot of spam getting through gmail's filters lately?

No, I haven't. But then again I'm not foolish enough to hand over the contents of all of my email to an advertising company.

Re:The Love of Money (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888914)

Yeah because all other mail providers are totally above board and legit. And even if you run your own, unless you encrypt all your emails what says your ISP doesn't snoop port 25 traffic?

In other words, "your face, shut it."

Google is no more evil than I just assume they are. I'm sure they single me out on a daily basis, amongst their millions of users because I'm the top shit. Hell, I've had the CIA after me since I was 11, yada yada.

The type of spam I'm getting doesn't seem well targetted [thus not the product of indepth google research]. They're mostly not in English [or French, the only two langs I speak] and usually selling things like new screensavers [I don't run windows], children, xanax, etc...

If they were really targetting me they'd be trying to sell me shit I could actually use [and or talk about].

Tom

Re:The Love of Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15889202)

And even if you run your own,

Which I do.

unless you encrypt all your emails

Again, I do. Which is very feasible for me, since I rarely do email other than internal email at work.

what says your ISP doesn't snoop port 25 traffic?

Assuming you can actually read, see the above.

If they were really targetting me

So, google doesn't do targeted advertising (albeit not spam)? Wow. You are dumber then even I thought.

Re:The Love of Money (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889259)

Um, there is difference between them showing you ads based on your email and them sending your email keywords to spammers.

I mean what is the threat? THEY CAN ALREADY READ MY GMAIL messages that are unencrypted. If I encrypt my emails [say with GPG] then their targetted ads will be on the keywords they can see like PGP, Encrypted and Message.

I'm contending that Google does not send out keywords from our emails to spammers. The evidence, albeit anecdotal, is based on the fact that none of my ads are targetted towards things I actually talk about in my plaintext emails.

Tom

Re:The Love of Money (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888793)

They need to go after these assholes for fraud and computer crimes. They are already breaking dozens of laws to get the spam to you in the first place. Why do they need aspam law? It is just another law on the books, that is much weaker than nailing them for 2,000,000 counts of fraud, and unauthorized use of computer systems (the zombies etc). They would need a calculator to figure out the time. It would only take a couple of cases where the spammer went to prison for 10 sentances of 5 years to be served consecutively. The rest of the spammers that think it isnt a big deal would quickly change their minds. Sieze absolutely everything they own also.

Re:The Love of Money (3, Insightful)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888877)

You could say the same thing about piracy, but even after the huge scene busts there are still plenty of people that consider it worth the risk.

Been to Las Vegas lately? (1, Redundant)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888716)

"Take some porn and go to your downtown local metropolis. Now hand out those pornographic pictures to everyone, young and old alike"

Have you been to Las Vegas lately? That's exactly what is happening there now. These guys line the streets aggressively handing out what looks like hooker trading cards (really advertisements)

Re:Been to Las Vegas lately? (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888726)

And the City of Las Vegas /State already has a law against that, it has been not enforced, but it is a perfectly legit law.

Re:Been to Las Vegas lately? (2, Funny)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888864)

And i just collected a Miss Veluptia - she had 450 homeruns last season.

I'm looking to complete the set, so if anyone has Foxy Downtown let me know, I'd be willing to trade.

Trading cards (3, Funny)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888892)

"I'm looking to complete the set, so if anyone has Foxy Downtown let me know, I'd be willing to trade."

You need to hook up with other collectors to play the game "Gasmic: The Gathering". You'll get a lot more cards that way.

Re:The Love of Money (3, Interesting)

thebdj (768618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888744)

What's there to challenge? A state makes a perfectly reasonable law that requires you to check an e-mail against a database of registered users who don't want that mail. Take some porn and go to your downtown local metropolis. Now hand out those pornographic pictures to everyone, young and old alike. See how long you can do that until you're arrested. Nobody challenges those laws, why the hell would anybody be able to challenge laws against people who randomly distribute lewd messages online? The least they can do is check if the person has registered not to receive them. Ohhh, that's right. Silly me, porn is a $10 billion dollar industry. They'll just throw money and lawyers at that problem to fix it.
Free speech? I do not see them slapping fines on people for unsolicited snail mail. And trust me, you can get a lot of that crap and getting addresses is really damn easy. Also, the article isn't clear about the Utah law. It could be using those nice, vague terms that make the law unenforceable and could even target e-mail that was solicited. Remember, people sometimes identify items as spam that really are not.

I'm sure that if you start hitting these companies with $10,000 fines per violation that they would pay attention to the list. And if they stole it, it's all the more fines.
The problem is that a lot of the real spam companies are outside the US. It is sort of hard to enforce US laws outside the US. If a spam company has no office, no location and no connection to the US, it will be hard to enforce. Also $10k per violation will be hard to uphold. If you charge that by millions of e-mails, companies will claim you are asking for unreasonable damages and the truth is you would. The damage caused per spam e-mail is minimal, and certainly not a $10k violation. This idea that the children are being hurt (the articles own words almost) is nothing more then a red herring.

I'm not sure how feasible that idea is, however. I would recommend just hitting the company that owns the last server to forward the e-mail. If they can't provide/prove another source from which the e-mail came, hit them with the $10,000 fine. I would wager that companies would be awful quick to clamp down their SMTP servers and keep records of where everything came from. Not only would this increase a company's security but it would reduce much of the spam you see that has a legitimate address from a careless company.
This only hurts ISPs. Watch the way an e-mail hops from router to router, point to point, on the "information super highway". Your statement almost screams, "I do not understand networks or the internet." This is unreasonable and puts blame on providers because of the actions of their users.

Re:The Love of Money (3, Informative)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888785)

Free speech? I do not see them slapping fines on people for unsolicited snail mail. And trust me, you can get a lot of that crap and getting addresses is really damn easy. Also, the article isn't clear about the Utah law. It could be using those nice, vague terms that make the law unenforceable and could even target e-mail that was solicited. Remember, people sometimes identify items as spam that really are not.
I don't know about Utah, and IANAL, but here in the UK, you do get prosecuted for sending snailmail pr0n, there are quite stringent laws about what can, and can't be sent via snail mail for this very reason.

Re:The Love of Money (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888976)

I don't know about Utah, and IANAL, but here in the UK, you do get prosecuted for sending snailmail pr0n, there are quite stringent laws about what can, and can't be sent via snail mail for this very reason.

Any chance you could post a link to a case history here? As far as I am aware, the last attempt to prosecute under the UKs indecency laws was over Lady Chatterly's Lover and was (quite literally) laughed out of court. Now, if you'd said child pornography, it would have been been a different matter...

Re:The Love of Money (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889620)

So are you saying it's legal to send unsolicited non-kiddy porn to random physical addresses? I think a large portion of parents in the U.S. and U.K. would be upset enough to take legal action if little Johnny comes from the mailbox carrying hardcore porn.

Re:The Love of Money (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888825)

Free speech? I do not see them slapping fines on people for unsolicited snail mail. And trust me, you can get a lot of that crap and getting addresses is really damn easy.

If we were talking about normal spam, then you'd be right. However, we're talking about adult-oriented spam. That takes it out of the free speech arena

Re:The Love of Money (2, Informative)

Gorm the DBA (581373) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888940)

Would you be so kind as to cite the portion of the Constitution that excludes "adult oriented" from the first amendment?

"Obscene" is a legally defined (albeit very loosey goosey and hard to know exactly where the line is) term, but the mere fact that material is of interest to Adults does not exempt it from First Amendment protection.

In this case, the issue is that Interstate Commerce is involved. You're attempting to subject a company based in, let's say Maine, to Utah's laws, becase an e-mail address that is not clearly marked as belonging to someone in Utah (let's say "@gmail.com") does. That's exactly the kind of thing that is supposed to be within the purview of Federal Regulation, not State powers.

Otherwise, what keeps South Carolina from saying "Anyone that provides an e-mail advocating kissing shall be publically flogged, unless they pay us $20 per e-mail address they want to send this to to check it against our list of folks who think girls have cooties". It's the same exact law

Re:The Love of Money (2, Informative)

Rydia (556444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888908)

The supreme court has drawn a clear distinction between speech that can be censored by parents and speech that can't. You can send whatever in snail mail because, the court reasoned, adults have an opportunity to ensure that it doesn't reach the family proper by censoring it at the mailbox. The situation with spam is much more complicated. It'd make an interesting case.

Re:The Love of Money (1)

crunch_ca (972937) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888985)

Free speech? I do not see them slapping fines on people for unsolicited snail mail. And trust me, you can get a lot of that crap and getting addresses is really damn easy.
http://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/pornography/unsoli cmail.htm [utah.gov] has a nice description of what to do if you're getting unsolicited snail mail with pornographic content. Quoted from the page:
You do not have to receive an offensive mailing before you have the right to tell adult businesses that you do not want to receive their advertisements. Federal law 39 U.S.C. 3010 specifically gives you the right to prevent all unsolicited sexually oriented mailings from being sent to you and to your children that are under 19 years of age and living in your home.
But I don't know how that relates to snail-spam delivered from outside the US. It also doesn't cut down on the non-porn snail-spam.

For me, unsolicited mail that I get at home goes straight to recycling. Unsolicited e-mail that I get goes straight to my Bayesian filters. It would save a lot of trees if I didn't get unsolicited snail mail. It would save a lot of bandwidth if I didn't get spam.

Re:The Love of Money (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15889221)

"Free speech? I do not see them slapping fines on people for unsolicited snail mail. And trust me, you can get a lot of that crap and getting addresses is really damn easy."

Junk fax laws [wikipedia.org] withstood legal challeges based on the first amendment. I can't see e-mail-related laws being any different in this respect.

"I do not understand networks or the internet." (1)

The_REAL_DZA (731082) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889516)

...Your statement almost screams, "I do not understand networks or the internet."...


In a word: tubes (I thought everyone knew that by now...)

...This is unreasonable and puts blame on providers because of the actions of their users.


Hey, any plumber worth his pay ought to be able to keep someone else's crap from flowing into one of his customers' tubes, and if he can't he deserves to be punished.

Re:The Love of Money (2, Informative)

Electrum (94638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889617)

I would recommend just hitting the company that owns the last server to forward the e-mail. If they can't provide/prove another source from which the e-mail came, hit them with the $10,000 fine. I would wager that companies would be awful quick to clamp down their SMTP servers and keep records of where everything came from. Not only would this increase a company's security but it would reduce much of the spam you see that has a legitimate address from a careless company.
This only hurts ISPs. Watch the way an e-mail hops from router to router, point to point, on the "information super highway". Your statement almost screams, "I do not understand networks or the internet." This is unreasonable and puts blame on providers because of the actions of their users.
His post was dead-on. It is you who does not understand how email works. Mail is not normally relayed. All relays need to be secure and correctly identify the sender.

Re:The Love of Money (1)

sik puppy (136743) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889781)

"Free speech? I do not see them slapping fines on people for unsolicited snail mail. And trust me, you can get a lot of that crap and getting addresses is really damn easy. Also, the article isn't clear about the Utah law. It could be using those nice, vague terms that make the law unenforceable and could even target e-mail that was solicited. Remember, people sometimes identify items as spam that really are not."

Try this: http://www.usps.com/forms/_pdf/ps1500.pdf [usps.com]

Its a form for banning explicit mail. However nothing says it has to be porn, so it works against every mailing firm. And they don't want to have the postal service after them - some of those laws have serious teeth.

Re:The Love of Money (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888759)

Muris does raise a good point that should be taken into consideration:
Instead of starting a registry, Muris said, the FTC would first push the private sector to agree on a method for electronically authenticating senders of e-mail, which would cut down on spammers' ability to hide their identities and locations. Muris said such authentication is a necessary precursor to any no-spam registry.
I'm not sure how feasible that idea is, however. I would recommend just hitting the company that owns the last server to forward the e-mail. If they can't provide/prove another source from which the e-mail came, hit them with the $10,000 fine. I would wager that companies would be awful quick to clamp down their SMTP servers and keep records of where everything came from. Not only would this increase a company's security but it would reduce much of the spam you see that has a legitimate address from a careless company.

Feasibility isn't really the issue, because undoubtedly some system can be developed for digitally signing email that could be easily authenticated. The problem comes in a) getting everyone to agree to the standard, b) implementing the standard, and c) getting everyone to use the standard. It really wouldn't do to have competing methods, and all the problems that then come with interoperability. And let's not forget, it has to be difficult to forge; if not, it's a waste of time.

Re:The Love of Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15888824)

Perhaps you do not know the definition of the word "Feasibility". You say its not a problem, then go on to list all of the problems that have to be overcome.

Re:The Love of Money (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15888880)

I would recommend just hitting the company that owns the last server to forward the e-mail

As one of those companies, we do keep the records of where everything came from. But you don't need to ask us; it is written into the header of the email you receive - the top most line. But you will find the IP address belongs to Aunt Mae who was wondering why her computer was running so slow. Your trail dead-ends there.

You are woefully misinformed if you think spam is the result of anyone being careless.

Re:The Love of Money (2, Interesting)

bhmit1 (2270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888897)

More dangerous, he said, was the possibility that spammers might get hold of the list, which would provide them with a gold mine of valid e-mail addresses that would be used for more spam.
Then only distribute the registry as a set of hashes. Simply run a hash on the email you want to send to, and skip it if it matches a hash in the registry. This has the added benefit of making the spammers waste a little more cpu time before filling our inboxes.

Re:The Love of Money (2, Interesting)

inviolet (797804) | more than 8 years ago | (#15890019)

Then only distribute the registry as a set of hashes. Simply run a hash on the email you want to send to, and skip it if it matches a hash in the registry. This has the added benefit of making the spammers waste a little more cpu time before filling our inboxes.

Do you know where spammers get their CPU time?

Indeed, the future of the internet seems to be a war over computing cycles, in the same way that the snail world was (is) a war over energy. Well, the world mostly fights over real estate, but that is at heart a fight over two things: ease of access to energy, and living areas with low energy requirements.

In any case, they are fighting to pilfer CPU cycles, which are then directed towards the most profitable endeavor that spare distributed CPU cycles can be applied to: sending spam, blackmail DDOSing, etc. But that will change as more we'll-buy-your-CPU-cycles projects come online, SETI@home and BOINC being the pioneer of course. At that time, the owners of zombie networks may switch over from spamming to something more socially and fiscally constructive.

Sorry, I'm rambling. What were we talking about again? :)

Oh yeah, hashing the do-not-email list. How long could that thing take to get brute-forced? The entropy value of a typical email address is low: maybe 15 characters from a ~30-character charset? That doesn't seem like too hard of a thing to brute-force, if you're the owner of a big zombie network.

In fact I remember when somebody brute-forced the entire AOL userlist just by sending test pings to the AOL email server: AAAAAAA@AOL.COM, nope. AAAAAAB@AOL.com, nope. AAAAAAC@AOL.COM, nope.....

Re:The Love of Money (1)

idiot900 (166952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15890032)

Simply run a hash on the email you want to send to, and skip it if it matches a hash in the registry.

Don't be ridiculous. All the spammer needs to do is check his/her entire database and save all addresses that cause a hash match. Sounds like 10 lines of Perl and an hour or two on a single PC.

Re:The Love of Money (1)

Punt3r (926089) | more than 8 years ago | (#15890084)

Except it doesn't work that way. There's no money in it for the state if they do it that way; you see, they've set it up so you have to PAY to scrub your list. Every 30 days. YOU do the hashing, and send your list to them, and they give you back a list of matches. Costs "up-to" 3 cents per address checked (not matched). See Administrative Rules, R 484.511: https://www.protectmichild.com/senders/ [protectmichild.com]

America's understanding of freedom. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15889043)

Take some porn and go to your downtown local metropolis. Now hand out those pornographic pictures to everyone, young and old alike. See how long you can do that until you're arrested. Nobody challenges those laws, why the hell would anybody be able to challenge laws against people who randomly distribute lewd messages online?

Let me tell you that I grew up in the area what is now Belarus. We would hear so often about American freedom of expression, and how great it was. But then those of us of the former Soviet Union got to see what America was really about, after the collapse. And what we saw was nothing like the claims that were so oft made!

Americans in general do not understand what freedom of expression is truly about, and that is why such laws go unchallenged. Being a person who grew up without freedom, I know that it is a black-or-white situation. You have freedom, or you do not. Any legislation that limits your freedom of expression in any way immediately strips you of the ability to freely express yourself. The content and the media are irrelevant. If there is an expression you will be punished for making, then you have no freedom of expression. Your First Amendment is bupkis!

The same idea, it goes for spam. As annoying as you may find it, spam is a method of expression. And if you are an American who believes in freedom of expression (as is necessary to be considered a real American), then you will just accept that you will get spam. I know, you will give your "Freedom of expression is not the right to be heard!" saying. And correct you would be. In this case, the "hearing" part involves you reading their message. You do not have to do so, of course! But if you truly support the American ideal of free expression, you should believe that there should be no legal restriction on the ability of spammers to express themselves in whatever way they choose.

Re:The Love of Money (1)

dustyd63 (790384) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889087)

Isn't the point of a Do Not E-mail list to make it public and then put the restriction on it of not e-mailing anyone on that list? Otherwise, it is worthless to have such a list if the spammers don't even know who not to spam.

The spammers wouldn't have to steal the list - it would be given to them. So, the whole thing is used against everyone when non-USA residents download the list and add it to their to-spam list

Re:The Love of Money (1)

!eopard (981784) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889117)

The obvious way to use a 'do not register' list while not letting spammers get hold of it, is to filter every e-mail through a secure server instance that checks the register and filters e-mails to those people on the list. Bonus is that all e-mails can be saved in the one location for your NSA to have fun with ;)

Re:The Love of Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15889401)

I'm not sure how feasible that idea is, however. I would recommend just hitting the company that owns the last server to forward the e-mail. If they can't provide/prove another source from which the e-mail came, hit them with the $10,000 fine. I would wager that companies would be awful quick to clamp down their SMTP servers and keep records of where everything came from.
but then you fall into the relm of suing the wrong person and become like the RIAA (Suing a grandmother with no computer, suing a dead guy), then you have privacy concerns, notice how many email servers show up on slashdot about those? gmail had a big one not long ago, AOL comes under fire, Hotmail (though that is the biggest spam collecter there is).

Re:The Love of Money (1)

contiguously (960265) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889504)

According to the CAN-SPAM act, commercial e-mails must include valid e-mail headers, cannot contain misleading subject lines, and must provide a way to opt-out. The penalties of not following this would be fines upwards of $11,000.

Most of the SPAM I get breaks all three conditions. So what makes you think that an opt-out list is going to deter spammers?

How does it work? (3, Interesting)

telchine (719345) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888643)

Does everyone in the world have to check these databases, or just if you're sending mail from inside of the US?

Re:How does it work? (2, Interesting)

porkmusket (954006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888876)

It works questionably, because no one HAS to use the database. There need to be clear and enforcable punishments for not using it in order to get people to use it. If a couple cases get attention and the spammers pay out, more suits could possible be filed, but obviously you'll have trouble suing some dude in Nigeria. Personally, as a victim of the whole Blue Security crap that ended up with a whole lot more spam after that DB was compromised, I am reluctant to sign up for these sorts of lists and would rather protect my inbox by being discrete about who I give email information to. It not's too much trouble to hit the 'junk' button on the mails that occassionally sneak past the filter in my opinion. However it's nice to see them trying. We suffered decades of phone abuse by solicitors before laws and structures were in place to prevent it, but that's still more of a domestic issue... doing the same thing with email is not going to be nearly as easy. At this point, I am not sure what can be done other than moving to challenge/response systems, which I plan on doing on my next email server.

Re:How does it work? (2, Insightful)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889000)

Nobody has to check against these databases at all.

The options for bulk mailers are:
1) Check against them
2) Only mail people who have opted in
or best of all
3) Don't send adult-oriented spam at all.

Re:How does it work? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15889564)

Everyone. Corporations, school kids, grandmas, geeks, porn mavens, EVERYONE

Backed up by U.N. resolution, if need be.

Re:How does it work? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889592)

Does everyone in the world have to check these databases, or just if you're sending mail from inside of the US?

1. Are you sending spam?
2. Does your country have an extradition agrement with the US?

Will someone please think of the children.... (1, Funny)

B11 (894359) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888685)

oh wait

Re:Will someone please think of the children.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15888920)

the state's children

Now that's scary.

Spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15888700)

Kill all spammers ! As "standard" for porn industry - nobody forces you to go out and buy or watch porn.

How about (1, Insightful)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888724)

How about we behave sensibly for a change? Scneario: the pr0n guys don't spam children with nekkid b00bi3z (wake up pr0n guy, children have no credit cards and probably no interest in pr0n yet); and the gov't does not pass laws restricting said b00bi3z.
Hey, I can dream...

Re:How about (2, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888804)

And when you're spamflooding through a Russian botnet, how exactly does one determine that the target email address belongs to a "think of teh children"?

Re:How about (2, Insightful)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888886)

Clearly they're trying to develop brand loyalty in these youngsters. It is a page right out of Phillip Morris's marketing playbook.

Non-miner? :) (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15888733)

What about us non-minors here? Not all of us want spam, do we have to impregnate some woman to be eligible for this kind of protection? :)... And ofcourse move to one of theese two countries of which you speak.

What about non-porn spam, like the nigeria passport scam, and all that valium crap? I don't see it providing a defence against that.

I see a new spam subject line coming soon: (1)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888836)

"Not all of us want spam, do we have to impregnate some woman to be eligible for this kind of protection? :)... "

I see a new subject line coming soon to email boxes everywhere to advertise this:
"Fr3e S3x wiht OUR Russian Models to STOP SP4M"

we should be thanking them... (2, Interesting)

Mark19960 (539856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888753)

Send these guys in Michigan a thank-you note for creating laws that have some bite.
Use Michigan as an example for your own politicians....

The feds cannot do it, they are too corrupt with big industry hanging dollar bills in their faces.
On the state level, its a little bit less corrupt and you actually have SOME chance of getting a
law against spam thru.

Re:we should be thanking them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15888857)

Federal, State? To be implemented it needs to be world wide if we want to stop the spammers! Some laws with fines are just going to make spammers work harder, i feel sorry for those home users with open access points...

Re:we should be thanking them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15889303)

Thank you, State, for creating a narrowly focused law that you can't possibly enforce broadly enough to make useful.

Re:we should be thanking them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15890169)

You're welcome.
-Some random guy from the mitten.

Cart ahead of the horse (2, Informative)

davmoo (63521) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888794)

have these two states proven anti-spam laws like these -- unlike CAN-SPAM -- really have teeth?"

Folks, we're putting the proverbial cart *way* ahead of the horse here. This law doesn't have teeth until it produces a win in a courtroom. In the US, I can file a suit against anyone reading this message just because I don't like you're hair color...but that doesn't mean I'm going to win that suit.

Re:Cart ahead of the horse (1)

Trevin (570491) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888856)

Not only do they need to produce a win against a plaintiff in the U.S., but also against a foreign spammer. Otherwise all the spam houses have to do is move overseas.

I just don't understand... (2, Interesting)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888797)

...why everybody doesn't just whitelist. Sure some spam may get by but it removes 99% of it right off the bat. Everything that isn't on my whitelist isn't email I want in the first place.

Re:I just don't understand... (2, Informative)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888896)

Why even put your email address somewhere public in the first place?

Whitelisting is very impractical for people that do email support of any kind, even if its just being the leader/owner of a website or project. Sometimes people need to contact you, and frankly email is still the best way.

Re:I just don't understand... (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889004)

you could tell anyone requiring support to put [SOME KEYWORDS] in the subject line and whitelist anyone with that subject.

Re:I just don't understand... (1)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889228)

Sure, but the article is talking about emails to private individuals and not companies.

Re:I just don't understand... (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15890139)

Sure, but the article is talking about emails to private individuals and not companies.

What does that have to do with anything? Plenty of private individuals, such as myself, run websites and support things online.

Re:I just don't understand... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888998)

Whitelisting is an impractical solution. How do you add someone to your whitelist? It's fine if you only exchange email with a small number of friends, but beyond that you can only email people you have already communicated with out-of-band. If the out-of-band channel you use is well-defined then all you do is move the spam there.

Re:I just don't understand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15889200)

Hope none of your friends or family members ever change their emails, or no new friends try to email before you've had a chance to add them to their whitelist. And forget trying to get any sort of confirmation from companies you deal with, because they never tell you what address they'll be sending those from. Whitelisting is just impractical.

Michigan residents will get pounded (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888834)

When it was possible to listwash against the BlueFrog list, the Russian v1@gr@ and r013x spammers pounded the people who had opted out with threats and used their names in spoofed From: headers. I assume we can expect the same for this list. What's Michigan going to do? Extradite the Russian mafia?

Re:Michigan residents will get pounded (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15888977)

What's Michigan going to do? Extradite the Russian mafia? Apparently you are not familiar with the Michigan Militia...

A Do-Not-Email registry will not work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15888918)

The do-not-call list does not apply to anything that you have agreed to.
Almost everytime you sign up for free online things, open an account on a site, give out your email for a mailing list, give out your email for a store, etc, there is somewhere in the fine print that says that you agree that the site you are signing up for and its affiliates can use your email and an affliate can mean anything. Say you sign up a forum that lets you download torrents or a place that gives you free subscription to a magazine, they can give your e-mail to an "affliate". Those "affliates" can give your e-mail to an affliate of theirs and so on. Somewhere down the line, bam you will get spam.

I sign up for pretty much everything under a spam e-mail account and leave my regular gmail account for reputable places. I've gotten maybe 30 spam e-mails to my gmail account in 2 years. My spam account gets hundreds per day. The reality is that there isn't a way to stop it, because somewhere down the line, I signed up for something that told me that they would give my e-mail address out.

I'm in Michigan (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15888963)

At first when I saw this article I was thinking it was a good thing. I was even wondering if it could be extended to non-children.

But then I went and looked at the website ... as a potential business owner I have problems with it. It looks like I have to pay 7 tenths of a penny to check an email address. Let's say I have a list of 10,000 addresses, it is going to cost me $70 to check it? And that has to be done every month in case a new address matches.

And whose definition of obscene do we use?

And what child has a fax machine?

Re:I'm in Michigan (3, Informative)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889204)

If you sell any items you have to check unless you like jailtime.

From their website:

  Under the law, "a person shall not send, cause to be sent, or conspire with a third party to send a message to a contact point that has been registered for more than 30 calendar days with the department if the primary purpose of the message is to, directly or indirectly, advertise or otherwise link to a message that advertises a product or service that a minor is prohibited by law from purchasing, viewing, possessing, participating in, or otherwise receiving."

The covered categories of messages include, but are not necessarily limited to:

        * Alcohol (MCL 436.1701)
        * Tobacco (MCL 722.641)
        * Pornography or Obscene Material (MCL 722.673-722.677, MCL 750.142-750.143, 47 USC 231(e)(6))
        * Gambling (MCL 432.218)
        * Illegal Drugs (MCL 333.7401)
        * Firearms (MCL 750.223,MCL 28.422)

Marketers who fail to comply with the law face criminal penalties of up to three years in jail, and criminal fines of up to $30,000. In addition, marketers may face civil penalties of up to $5,000 per message sent in violation of the law, to a maximum of $250,000 per day. Civil suits may be filed by the Michigan attorney general, Internet service providers, and parents on behalf of their children.

Re:I'm in Michigan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15890080)

(original AC again...) Ok, do you think this means it should be illegal for minors to buy a newspaper? Every Sunday paper I get has ads for alcohol, tobacco, gambling and firearms. And some people might call the Velvet Fingers ads obscene. I'm not sure I like the idea of electronic communications being treated special. If my business name is "CheapGuns.com", someone signs up for the monthly specials listserv I need to run that list against the State list every month to try and stay legal?

Hmmm, I think it is also illegal for a minor to purchase an automobile -- so car dealers also need to be very careful who they communicate with?

Re:I'm in Michigan (1)

Punt3r (926089) | more than 8 years ago | (#15890200)

If my business name is "CheapGuns.com", someone signs up for the monthly specials listserv I need to run that list against the State list every month to try and stay legal?

Oh, don't be silly.

You have to run your list against EVERY state that has such a list, every month.

Good luck!

Re:I'm in Michigan (2, Insightful)

operagost (62405) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889383)

It's the cost of doing business. Right now, spam costs nearly nothing and that's why it's overrun with halfwits and losers.

Re:I'm in Michigan (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889704)

One trick I know is that you can avoid spamming people.

Re:I'm in Michigan (2, Informative)

Secrity (742221) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889859)

You don't have to check the email address if you have the permission of the holder of the email addess, you will have permission of the holder of the email address, won't you? If you don't have permission, then you will be a spammer -- and are fair game.

Sorry, I am out of the office (-1, Offtopic)

sjonke (457707) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888974)

Sorry, but Deborah Platt Majoras is shaving her roomate's pussy and unable to respond your email at this time.

Feel showers of real young nastiness!!
        http://shavemypink.com/ [shavemypink.com]

Real men. Real meat.
        http://manburgerhelper.com/ [manburgerhelper.com]

Got horn-y?
        http://interspecieserotica.com/ [interspecieserotica.com]

The one bit I don't get (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15888975)

Why would the porn or DM industries oppose a do-not-email list? Why do they have such a boner to keep sending spam to people who are willing to sign up to a list that says they are NOT interested?

Re:The one bit I don't get (1)

alexgieg (948359) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889219)

I guess this is due to the fact that spambots running on hijacked computers send e-mails to randomly generated addresses. So, if for some reason the spammers don't have enough control over their zombies to block them in a timely manner from sending e-mails to a given list of addresses, they'll end up having to pay fines due to they not being compliant with the law if such a randomly generated address happened to be a no-spam signed one. Easiest solution for them would be no law at all.

Re:The one bit I don't get (1)

MrNougat (927651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889277)

Why would the porn or DM industries oppose a do-not-email list? Why do they have such a boner to keep sending spam to people who are willing to sign up to a list that says they are NOT interested?


Because the companies outsource their mass-mailing operations to third parties. Those third parties are the ones who would have to filter their mailing lists against myriad "do not email" lists from as many geopolitical groups. Those third parties are often small outfits that run botnets to deliver their spam.

Do you really think that someone who runs a spam botnet is going to take extra time out to filter their mailing list that way? The more time spent doing the job, the less money per hour spent doing it. Bottom line - it's cheaper not to filter a mailing list.

The only way to turn that around is to make it cheaper to filter a mailing list, possibly through large court settlements or jail time.

Re:The one bit I don't get (2, Insightful)

michaelwexler (521484) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889798)

While the porn industry certainly uses spam, there are (hard to believe) some companies which run fully confirmed opt-in mailings that outsource because (hard to believe) email done right is not in most company's capabilities.

These 3rd parties are concerned about the abusive use of the do-not-email list, including the following:
1) The only company providing those services (http://www.unspam.com/ [unspam.com] ) is the one lobbying for the laws. We don't seem to appeciate things like Cheney pushing Halliburton; should we accept the same for the do-not-email? Their solution is the very one the FTC suggested was a disaster in the report linked below; should we assume that the states did a deeper investigation of the implementation issues than the multi-year FTC one?
2) The list doesn't solve the very problem it is supposed to handle. That is, it provides an easy way to detect who are kids on the list, and then hammer-mail them with kid-oriented spam. Sure, less porn, but more spam. That seems like a problem to me.
3) Others have mentioned the forgery issues: If you get joejobbed, the current law in MI (and proposed in Utah) doesn't care. You are liable. Too bad.
4) Its a state level law, meaning that its close to impossible to use against international mailers.
5) Legit companies _agree with you_ that spam is bad. However, like many slashdotters, they think dumb laws (like DMCA) i.e. poor implementations, are bad and should be removed. The Mich and Utah laws and approaches are bad ways to solve important problems.

Previous posters are correct about spamgangs and other issues there... but not all direct marketers are spammers. If you are stupid enough to believe that all marketing is bad, etc. etc., feel free to put your name on the current do-not-email http://www.ftc.gov/reports/dneregistry/report.pdf [ftc.gov] is the link to the FTC's report, which includes many of these ideas expanded.

Why? (1)

fullphaser (939696) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889049)

Man those kids are lucky, I would just love to have a free porn image in my inbox every day... but alas I get medical advertisements... silly kids, fwd thine porn spam to me.

On a more serious note, why only target porn spam, why not just prosecute spammers period?

Michigan AG's name... (5, Funny)

SwedeGeek (545209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889195)

Is it just me or is there some irony in the Michigan AG's name being Mike Cox. Seems like we should also be protecting our children from inapproriate material by leaving his name out of the news reports!

Re:Michigan AG's name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15889561)

Hey -- it's even better than you think. The alternative in that election was named "Peters." There were some pretty amusing headlines the next day (e.g., "Cox inches out Peters"), like this [michigandaily.com] one.

Re:Michigan AG's name... (1)

The_REAL_DZA (731082) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889600)

Didn't he used to work for a certain rental-car company? He was let go after they interviewed him on the local news one night and put his name and his company's name on the screen together...

One question (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889500)

If you think that kids should be able to have unregulated access to porn and violent video games, can I assume that you also support their being able to get a concealed carry permit and be able to buy a handgun since clearly they're mature enough to handle the first two things? If you don't think they're mature enough for the latter, then it's obvious they aren't not mature enough for the former.

Re:One question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15890091)

If you think that kids should be able to have unregulated access to porn and violent video games, can I assume that you also support their being able to get a concealed carry permit and be able to buy a handgun since clearly they're mature enough to handle the first two things? If you don't think they're mature enough for the latter, then it's obvious they aren't not mature enough for the former.

This is kind of a bogus argument. If kids that don't understand the power of guns, get guns, they can kill me or themselves. If kids get access to porn...it really doesn't have an effect on me at all. I agree that it's not a great thing to expose kids to this, however, I'm not sure that the legal system is the place to duke it out, particularly when a law is vague, broad and doesn't address the real problem of pornographic spam being sent from overseas.

Of course they have teeth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15889656)

All fascist governments have teeth.

Why? (1)

y5 (993724) | more than 8 years ago | (#15889661)

Why is it that we're always trying to solve tech problems with social solutions, and social problems with tech solutions? The free market and technology created spam, and IMO they're doing a fine job of canning it too. Is government intervention really necessary?

A few slashdotters commented on how this [slashdot.org] article was a dupe, but now I'm starting to see why stories like the "untraining spam filters" are rising to the surface yet again. Ever notice how stories about unhealthy fast food/cigarettes pop up right before a lawsuit?

::adjusts tin foil hat:: It's just all too convenient for me...

Confidential Business Proposal (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15889709)

Attention: Slashdot
Confidential Business Proposal

Dear Sirs,

Having consulted with my colleagues and based on the information gathered from the Nigerian Chambers Of Commerce And Industry, I have the privilege to request for your assistance to transfer the sum of $47,500,000.00 (forty seven million, five hundred thousand United States dollars) into your accounts. The above sum resulted from an over-invoiced contract, executed commissioned and paid for about five years (5) ago by a foreign contractor. This action was however intentional and since then the fund has been in a suspense account at The Central Bank Of Nigeria Apex Bank.
We are now ready to transfer the fund overseas and that is where you come in. It is important to inform you that as civil servants, we are forbidden to operate a foreign account; that is why we require your assistance. The total sum will be shared as follows: 70% for us, 25% for you and 5% for local and international expenses incident to the transfer.
The transfer is risk free on both sides. I am an accountant with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). If you find this proposal acceptable, we shall require the following documents:
(a) your banker's name, telephone, account and fax numbers.
(b) your private telephone and fax numbers -- for confidentiality and easy communication.
(c) your letter-headed paper stamped and signed.
Alternatively we will furnish you with the text of what to type into your letter-headed paper, along with a breakdown explaining, comprehensively what we require of you. The business will take us thirty (30) working days to accomplish.

Please reply urgently.

Best regards
Anonymous Coward
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