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Spam United States Your Rights Online

FTC Defines Spam 193

Iphtashu Fitz writes "The FTC has just issued its final report on how it will define Spam with regards to the federal CAN-SPAM act. According to the FTC, bulk e-mail is commercial if it includes advertising and promotion or if the subject line or beginning of the message would be reasonably considered to be advertising or promotion. This is very similar to the proposed rules that were announced back in August. The modified rules also deal with the issues of transactional messages (an e-mail regarding an order that also includes advertising) and relationship-based e-mail (messages about product updates, etc)."
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FTC Defines Spam

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  • by nizo ( 81281 ) * on Friday December 17, 2004 @08:21PM (#11121574) Homepage Journal
    And it hardly includes everything. What about those freaky religious spams from strange cults trying to save my soul? And what about spam in some weird language that my mail reader can't even render properly, with a free bonus virus attachment? What about spam that has no subject or message, just a url to a website (or even a picture)? Personally I think we should just broaden the definition of spam to be "any weird crap that I didn't ask for in my inbox" and be done with it.
    • by mfh ( 56 )
      Yeah, what about all the spam I get that has things like "RE: your account" in the subject? Or "this is for you" ?

      It is clear that CAN-SPAM is nothing but a can of spam.
      • Re:Agreed (Score:3, Informative)

        by cdrguru ( 88047 )
        Understand that none of this is "spam". It is coming from a PC infected with one of 1,000s of script-kiddy worm programs that blasts out email by the thousands.

        Since you can't just use the Outlook Express contacts list anymore, they scan the computer looking for email addresses. And they find them. And, anyone that ever been sent email or participated in an email discussion with that person gets a worm email.

        And worse, everyone likes to get the latest information about "their account", so they open the
    • by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @08:37PM (#11121696) Homepage
      And it hardly includes everything.

      "It isn't perfect, therefore it's no good." That's basically what you're saying. This is a first effort at banning spam, so it isn't going to catch everything. Let's see how it works, and expect it to be extended as time goes on.

      • by St. Arbirix ( 218306 ) <`matthew.townsend' `at' `gmail.com'> on Saturday December 18, 2004 @03:35AM (#11123397) Homepage Journal
        The technology should be stopping spam, not the FTC. As much as Slashdot complains about government oversight...
      • "It isn't perfect, therefore it's no good."

        Actually, for once I think this is exactly the point. By giving a very specific set of guidlines which much spam already falls outside, the FTC is actually lending legitimacy to spam which doesn't fit their definition of spam. Alredy much spam has non-sensical subject lines and random setences at the beginning, followed by a huge advertising banner. According to the FTC, this isn't spam.

        • However, having a definition that makes part of the spam forbidden is better than no definition at all. And, once it's in place, it can be adjusted. Given time, it can get better and more restrictive. If you insist on refusing to accept any definition that isn't perfect, you'll never get one and nothing will ever be done. Is that what you want?
      • ""It isn't perfect, therefore it's no good." That's basically what you're saying."

        He also knows that it will become the single legal definition of spam in many places

        "This is a first effort at banning spam"

        No, it replaces better attempts at banning spam, and those state laws won't have been the first either (UDP anyone?)

        "it isn't going to catch everything"

        If I got a dollar for every time I heard this phrase from vendors of absolutely useless spam-filters...

        "Let's see how it works, and expect it to be
      • No. It isn't remotely adequate to start with therefore it isn't worth farting around with. Go back for a more adequate definition and other requirement refinements.
    • The definition is not a definition of spam. The definition is a definition of "bulk unsolicited commercial e-mail."
      • Sorry, my linguistic parsers don't go down to quite that thin a slice.

        The definition of UCE is actually a bit broader than my own particular definition of spam, which is basically mass-mailed ads for something either unsavory in its nature or for something I could not reasonably be expected to want. Some guy wants to send me an ad for a book on Jewish genealogy in India, which I could conceivably be expected to be interested in, though I never asked for it, doesn't bother me, since this fits into the image
        • Hmmm ... Lately I've been receiving a lot of spam that starts with a joke. Sometimes they're pretty good jokes, though usually I've heard them (having read rec.humor.funny since before it was on a web site ;-).

          I can see them arguing that this directly addresses my interests, based on my long-term reading of r.h.f and Dave Barry, and the couple dozen online cartoons that I have bookmarked.

          But I'd still consider them spam.

  • by KillerDeathRobot ( 818062 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @08:24PM (#11121599) Homepage
    It seems like the definition could be more inclusive. I get plenty of emails that have totally meaningless text and then sometimes (but not always!) a link at the bottom to something I could buy. I'm guessing that some of these are an attempt to see if there's anyone at my inbox reading mail, but in any case I'd definitely call these spam.
    • This is explicitly mentioned in the PDF (buried away on page 63), and the definition DOES include this kind of mail, since it's the recipient's perception about it being spam or not that counts:

      "As the Commission noted in the NPRM, one of its concerns in this proceeding has been that "spammers not be able to structure their messages to evade CAN-SPAM by placing them outside the technical definition of 'commercial electronic mail message.' A typical example is a hypothetical message, unrequested by the reci
  • by _PimpDaddy7_ ( 415866 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @08:26PM (#11121626)
    Main Entry: 1spam
    Pronunciation: 'spam
    Function: noun
    Etymology: from a skit on the British television series Monty Python's Flying Circus in which chanting of the word Spam (trademark for a canned meat product) overrides the other dialogue
    : unsolicited usually commercial e-mail sent to a large number of addresses
  • BUY NOW!!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by scribblej ( 195445 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @08:28PM (#11121633)
    Wow, so it's spam if the subject line reads like an advertisment.

    I guess I'm through sending my boss transaction reports with the subject line "ENLARGE YOUR PENIS!"

    Aw, just as well, I'm sure she would have slapped me with a sexual harassment suit if I kept it up.

  • Spam definition? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dorsai65 ( 804760 ) <dkmerriman@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Friday December 17, 2004 @08:33PM (#11121661) Homepage Journal
    1) I didn't ask for it.
    2) It isn't in my (native) language.
    3) I have no pre-existing relationship with the company being mentioned.
    4) The subject line must parse as normal language - |\|0 l33t-5p34| 5) May not include any attachments.
    6) May not consist of only a graphic or link to a website.

    For additional protection, hold the companies being advertised liable for the actions of the company doing the "promotion".

    • > For additional protection, hold the companies being advertised liable for the actions of the company doing the "promotion".

      NATCH! It is great in theory...until Company A Joe-Jobs Company B. (google "joe job" or check it on wikipedia....)
      • Re:Spam definition? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by winwar ( 114053 )
        "It is great in theory...until Company A Joe-Jobs Company B."

        Well, a reasonable person would conclude (with supporting information) that Company A in your example is actually doing the promotion.

        If you want to be more specific (assuming that the police and courts are not reasonable), hold the company that is PAYING for the promotion to be held liable for the actions of the company doing the promotion (in addition to the promoting company).

        Sure, it would cost legitimate companies money. But spam already d
    • I consider spam any advertisement that enters my email, regardless of all considerations.

      Let's equate this to murder since people nowadays only understand harsh things.
      1) I am killed for no apparent reason (duh)
      2) I am killed by someone who does not me, nor I him
      3) I am killed by someone who I might know, or might know me, however no relationship existed.
      4) I am killed by someone from whom I am currently buying things.
      5) I am killed by someone from whom I have told I might buy future products.

      So as
    • What about joe-jobs, or malicious false advertising? Say I spam you with a million emails a day, claiming to be a long distance carrier. You gonna hold Sprint liable for my spam, just because I have a grudge against Sprint?

      Oh yeah, and even if #3 gets implemented, the burden shifts to you to keep the filters up-to-date. Normally, legit companies generally call you on the phone (or you opt-in to an email list). They have to figure out if they have a relationship with you before they contact you. Now, you ha

    • I've been saying "hold the companies being advertised liable for the actions of the company doing the "promotion" for years.

      Follow the money, honey and squeeze where it stops.

      If there are no takers for Spam, there won't be any Spam. Market forces will work to make Spammers go and do something else.

      If you know that buying an ad over the internet will suddenly go from costing you peanuts to costing you $50k per email sent, payable to the local police force, I don't think you're going to be interested. "Via
    • Definition taken from SpamHaus [spamhaus.org]:

      A message is Spam only if it is both Unsolicited and Bulk.

      Unsolicited means that the Recipient has not granted verifiable permission for the message to be sent.

      Bulk means that the message is sent as part of a larger collection of messages, all having substantively identical content.

      Unsolicited non-bulk email is normal email, e.g. first contact enquiries, job enquiries, sales enquiries

      Bulk non-unsolicited email is normal email, e.g. subscriber newsletters, customer
    • Spammers don't actually speak l33t very well. They're far more prone to have problems with punctuation or "stuck keys," in my experience. Recent messages Gmail has dutifully filed under "spam" include such subject non-words as:

      P*H*A*R*M*A*C*Y
      oxxxyyyconntin
      scripttt
      viii i codin
      Ciali's
      pppain killllers
      weiight
      doccctor
      P.H.A.R.M.A.C.Y
      Bu' y C'ialis soft''tabs
      ppennnnny st000ckkk

      Bleah.

      I have more trouble with the russian mail-order-bride spams, since they've started using single large words as subjects. Mail wit
  • in china.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by radon28 ( 593565 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @08:35PM (#11121678)
    ..these definitions are always positive!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17, 2004 @08:36PM (#11121684)
    The kind of folks that read /. want complete freedom on the internet. They also want no more spam.

    The sad truth is that you can't have both. You either have an international body that regulates the internet (which personaly I don't want, and I assume most /.ers agree), or you have spam.

    Spammers and anoyed people will continue to fight for a long long time.
    • The kind of folks that read /. want complete freedom on the internet. They also want no more spam.

      The sad truth is that you can't have both.


      Spam is NOT freedom, it is ABUSE of email. I (and I presume the majority of slashdotters, certainly the majority of email users) don't send email to people who don't want it (whether COMMERCIAL or not - The "C" word is a red herring). Stopping those who do would NOT involve (depending on how it's done) increased regulation of the Internet.

      You either have an interna
      • The problem isn't that spam deserves freedom of speech protections. The problem is that in order to control spam, you need to control the internet. As soon as these restrictions start popping up, it makes it oh so easy to start controlling the internet to start limiting other "bad things" like porn, racism, subversive speech and p2p. What's the old saying... you can't put the genie back in the bottle? If you really think you can limit/eliminate spam without making it very easy for governments & corporat
        • But there's a difference between spam, that is pushed at you, and the other 'nasties' you mentioned, which must be sought.

          Real world comparison: it's easy enough to stop unsolicited commercial mail. Put a sign on your letterbox saying "no junk mail" and have laws to back your choice not to receive it. It would be difficult to then turn those laws, or the thinking responsible for those laws, into laws banning an adult porn shop.

          Two different things accessed in very different ways.
    • Precisely.. The ONLY successful (legally and substantively) way to stop spam is at its terminus, the inbox. That's it. Delete it when it arrives.
    • what about a technical solution, where mail is only sent from authenticated servers or something similar?
      Due to the jurisdictional issues, a technical solution is just about the only solution that has any hope of working, as that wouldn't be limited to a single country.
      • So, you support the Microsoft Tax on Email (Bonded Sender) where even non-profit mailing lists like the Linux developement lists have to pay IronPort/Bonded Sender to be able to send mail to people who've asked for the mail?

        I think the consequences of that are likely to be far more unpleasant than the current spam situation....
    • blockquoth the parent:

      Spammers and anoyed people will continue to fight for a long long time.

      Spammers spam because someone pays them to. Those who pay the spammers pay them because they think someone will buy the product being spammed.
      And so remains the question: who buys h3rb41 v14gR4? No, you aren't allowed to answer 'clueless (l)users' because, in my experience at least, even the most clueless will delete spam on sight. And anyway, will someone who just started to 'surf the web' even be able to read h3

    • Heh, how about the complete freedom not to accept any mail from spam-friendly operations? Imagine two separate, distinct Internets: one that allows spam and one that doesn't. They're both worldwide, but they're not connected to each other. You can choose which one to be on, unless you spam, then your node gets cut off from the spam-unfriendly network and the spam-friendly network is your only option. Spam all you want; your only victims will be other spammers.

      That is already happening. In a few more y

    • This is equivalent to saying that I can have freedom from full police surveillance AND protection from random persons crashing through my house whenever they wish. Perhaps more to the point, this is equivalent to saying that I can't both be free of government agents listening to every call and have a do not call list to block commercial phone spam. What is so hard about a "no unrequested spam email" list and procedures to register complaints and or automagically detect violations? Why would such a list
  • by RealAlaskan ( 576404 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @08:39PM (#11121708) Homepage Journal
    I may not be able to define it, but I know it when I see it!

    ``Unsolicited bulk email'' [spamhaus.org] seems like a pretty good definition to me, but I guess that's not quite good enough [internet.com] for the brainiacs at FTC.

    • ... I sure wish the FTC would use that definition, otherwise we're bound to start getting tons of political unsolicited messages (see my journal [slashdot.org] about the Kerry spam, though of course that was just a scam (does that make it "commercial" and fall under the FTC's claim as spam?) to steal donations to the campaign), religious unsolicited messages, and just plain garbage unsolicited messages: spam promoting beliefs and ideas instead of products and, uh, "services."

      Years ago they promoted the address uce@ftc.g
      • UBE = email spam, plain and simple. (The term "spam" can also apply to other media besides mail; I'm not aware of any all-encompasing general definition of "spam".)

        The FTC has to stick "commercial" in there somewhere, because that's the only way it has jurisdiction. Remember, it's the Federal Trade Commission.

      • Good luck stopping political email. It will be a cold day in hell when that is stopped. Same goes for all non-profit organizations.

        In all honesty these are not the beasts we are worried about. They are only the small fraction of bulk emailers we could find.
  • by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @08:39PM (#11121711) Homepage Journal
    Yahoo's business model for it's mailing list service (Yahoo Groups) is to attach ads to 'legitimate' mail it's users send.

    These mails fit the new definition of spam: "bulk e-mail is commercial if it includes advertising and promotion ".

    The same also applies to Topica, and no doubt many other ad-funded list servers.
    • Hmm, replying to my own post here, but I wonder how 'bulk' is defined?

      Does putting the same ad on lots of different indiviual mails from customers count as 'bulk'? If so, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail have to die too!
    • Yahoo's business model for it's mailing list service (Yahoo Groups) is to attach ads to 'legitimate' mail it's users send.

      These mails fit the new definition of spam: "bulk e-mail is commercial if it includes advertising and promotion ".

      This is very wrong, and it's unfortunate that someone moderated it up. The rules clearly address "primary purpose." The FTC has no authority to ban sponsorship messages in Yahoo Groups emails, whose primary purpose is other than to deliver that advertising, and whose

      • I'm glad you are in charge of what's right and wrong, as well as determining the limits of the FTC's authority :-)

        However, if you actually read the FTC's comment you'll find this bit on page 36 of the pdf: "As the Commission noted in the NPRM, however, CAN-SPAM refers to the primary purpose of the message, not of the sender. The primary purpose of an email message may be fairly determined by looking at the sender's intent or the recipient's interpretation. The latter is the better choice because it is cons
        • Spam is wrong, and there is no exemption for spam sent via a subscription based service. What counts is if the recipient interprets it as spam.

          Again, the FTC did not define "spam." It defined mail that can be considered "commercial" and therefore subject to the rules laid down by the CAN-SPAM act.

          If an email is considered "commercial," it is not necessarily prohibited. You should read the entire act carefully. It doesn't prohibit transmission of emails that have been requested by the recipient, and whe

  • That's OK then (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nine Tenths of The W ( 829559 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @08:45PM (#11121756)
    I mean, "Greetings, I am the son of the former Nigerian dictator" isn't advertising or promotional, is it?
  • Mail Abuse (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chandon Seldon ( 43083 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @08:47PM (#11121769) Homepage
    I really don't care what the definition of Commercial Bulk Email is in the context of Spam.

    Someone is abusing the email network if:
    They are intentionally sending email messages to a bunch of people who didn't ask for them.

    Counterexample?
    • There is a fine line between spam and unsolicited commercial e-mail. Spam won't be targeted to a particular group of people that may actually WANT to see the contents, it's just a shotgun. It won't provide contact information for the business behind it, and it won't provide a means of being removed that will actually work. An example of UCE that makes some sense is for one realtor to provide to other realtors in their region with new listing sheets, because it can help BOTH parties, even if one didn't as
      • When she started this, she had a short list of people she wanted to send the messages to, right?

        The appropriate protocal would have been to individually mail the people on the list with "Would you like me to send out my listing sheets to you?"

        Everyone who responded "yes" should have been added to the "mailing list", everyone else should have been left to ask to join themselves.

        If at some point in the future there was a new person who would be appropriate to send the messages to who had not been asked bef
        • Actually, no. She had a list of the e-mail addresses of everybody on the board of realtors mailing list, and used that. And from your example, even the first mailing would have been incorrect, if it was an ad, be it a "friend" list or not, should she have sent it?
          • People shouldn't be added to mailing lists unless they request it.

            Her sending personal emails to the people inviting them to be on her mailing list wouldn't be a problem.

            Bulk mailing the invitation is quesitonable. If she could send messages to the "board of realtors mailing list", that would be an appropriate place for the message. If not, it would require a judgement call to decide if the existing business relationship is close enough to send the invitation.
            • Bulk mailing the invitation is quesitonable.

              Bulk mailing of an unsolicited message is unquestionably spam.

              In this example, she can take an ad out in a newspaper/magazine/meduium other local realtors would read, offering to add them to her mailing list. Yes, this involves paying money for advertising, but advertising the list through unsolicited bulk email, while 'free' (no incremental cost above email access), is spam.
              • Bulk mailing of an unsolicited message is unquestionably spam.

                Counterexample:
                If you have a list of 7 friends/relitives and you CC them all a "Merry Christmas" message, that's not spam due to a pre-existing relationship.

                The real question there may be what number makes up "bulk", but sending 7 viagra ads to spidered addresses is definately spam.

                Going back to the realtor example, I'm sure the following wouldn't be spam, as long as the recipients are aquainted with the sender by name.

                To: "Jack", "Liz", "B

  • by qtp ( 461286 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @08:56PM (#11121840) Journal
    The FTC defining spam is the first step to a "protected speech" claim by at least a segment of the direct email marketing industry. Laws are going to be inneffective due to the interrnational nature of the problem, and due to the sub-sub-sub-contractor practices that dominate.

    The only possibly effective remedy I have come accross is the widespread addoption of SPF (as long as domains are publishing sufficiently restrictive policies), beysian filters, and blacklisting (either by users, by admins, or some combination of both).

    Before anyone gets thier panties in a knot over blacklisting, SPF changes the nature of blacklisting by making it possible to identify which persons, hosts, or domains are responsible for the offending emails. The problem of false positives goes away if sending and recieving domains are using SPF (and the persons maintaining the blacklist are behaving in a reasonable manner).

    The FTC cannot define spam, as what is spam to one might be truffles and cheese to another. Only I can decide what is spam (in my account). Quit bugging the legislators and start bugging the admins (or, better yet, the executives) to implement some simple, common sense measures (such as, if it originates at a "martian IP addy", it's probably not wanted), checking the legitimacy of the sender (SPF), allowing your users to help identify spam by submitting examples for your beyesian filters, and taking part in creating/maintaining a blacklist of the very worst offenders.

  • At work we have a project on the table to develop a web-based tool to spam a lot of people, and to try to avoid getting blacklisted by hopping mail servers.

    I have ethical concerns over having any part in the development of this software.

    Any advice on how to talk the business people out of doing this? I've sent them all the CAN-SPAM stuff I can think of, but I'm not sure they are scared yet.
    • If you don't do it, someone else will. I'd say just collect your paycheck and go about your business. I don't think you can be personally held liable.

      SPF and other technological measures will deal with spam just the same, regardless of whether you are a good samaritan. No need to risk your livelihood.

    • There is no way. If they're planning to hop servers to avoid blacklisting, they already know the possible consequences and don't care. My advice is to start looking for a job right now, and get out of there ASAP. Don't do anything to sabotage the project, either now or after you leave; you don't want to descend to their level. Of course, making sure the spam hunters know exactly where it came from isn't sabotage...
    • Re:Advice for how to (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rewt66 ( 738525 )
      There are two ways that I can see to go about it. The first (and more honorable way) is to calmly inform your boss, and perhaps his/her boss, that you cannot in good conscience work on a project that will have the primary result of irritating, annoying, and enraging innocent people whose only "crime" was having an e-mail address. Tell them that if they persist in this project, you will quit rather than have anything to do with it. And tell them that you will let it be publicly known that their company is
    • whats the name of your company, who do they host with, etc? Nothing like a pre-emptive firewalling to keep my inbox clean.

      Btw: tell your bosses that hopping mail servers is a good way to get your entire isp firewalled by a zillion mail admins, or sbl'ed, or listed in spews.

      • They host through the same ISP as my home DSL connection (on which I run a mailserver), but luckily they have their own class B address space that can be easily blacklisted. :)
    • At work we have a project on the table to develop a web-based tool to spam a lot of people, and to try to avoid getting blacklisted by hopping mail servers. Any advice on how to talk the business people out of doing this?

      I reccommend a killing spree.
      Please? We'll hide you once it's done, promise!
  • FTC Issues Hot Air (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IO ERROR ( 128968 ) * <error@@@ioerror...us> on Friday December 17, 2004 @09:17PM (#11121970) Homepage Journal
    Your post advocates a

    ( ) technical (x) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

    approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which vary from state to state.)

    ( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
    (x) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
    ( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
    ( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
    ( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
    ( ) Users of email will not put up with it
    ( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
    ( ) The police will not put up with it
    (x) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
    ( ) Requires cooperation from too many of your friends and is counterintuitive
    ( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
    ( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
    ( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
    ( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business
    ( ) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever worked
    ( ) Other:

    Specifically, your plan fails to account for

    ( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
    (x) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
    (x) Open relays in foreign countries
    ( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
    ( ) Asshats
    (x) Jurisdictional problems
    ( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
    ( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
    ( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
    ( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
    ( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
    ( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
    ( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
    (x) Extreme profitability of spam
    ( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
    (x) Technically illiterate politicians
    ( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
    (x) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
    ( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
    ( ) Outlook
    ( ) Other:

    and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

    (x) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
    (x) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
    ( ) Blacklists suck
    ( ) Whitelists suck
    (x) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
    ( ) Countermeasures cannot involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
    ( ) Countermeasures cannot involve sabotage of public networks
    ( ) Sending email should be free
    ( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
    ( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
    (x) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
    ( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
    ( ) I don't want the government reading my email
    (x) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough
    ( ) Other:

    Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

    (x) Nice try, dude, but I don't think it will work.
    ( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
    ( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!
  • in Nigeria who need my help in transferring their money from their politically assassinated parents to the US (which strangely is not where I live so I don't know how I could be of any help)

    well, it's not like there's anywhere we can easily report the stuff anyway
  • Not just bulk mail! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Friday December 17, 2004 @10:41PM (#11122318) Homepage Journal
    Buried on page 16 of the full PDF text is this little gem....

    "The text of the Act has no business-to-business exemption and
    [i]does not establish a minimum number of email messages that must be sent before the Act applies.[/i]" (my emphasis added)

    There is no requirement for the mail to be bulk, which the article implies there is. This is (imho) a very wise move, just because someone sends 1 spam instead of a million doesn't mean it's legal or morally acceptable!
  • Define spam? I wish they'd defy spam. That might make my email life better.

    Bah, humbug!
  • by Zaphod_Beebleburp ( 839364 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @02:44AM (#11123261)

    We make it unprofitable for the those that distribute spam. Now most of you are probably thinking that I'm talking about the spammers, but this is a problem that existed long before the internet.

    Look at the Postal Service. How many unwanted items, advertisements, credit card offers, coupons, etc... get delivered that are immediately thrown in the trash? And if you write return to sender on the next Capitol One credit card offer, or on the next AOL CD you receive, the USPS knows to just throw it in the trash instead of returning it. Why?, because they have already made a profit.

    Look at your telephone service. How many people actually have to screen their calls with answering machines and caller-id to avoid those annoying interruptions and solicitations during dinner or at odd hours? Why is block caller-id even available if it wasn't profitable.

    Now look at SPAM. Once again, we all know about the annoyances of this junk.

    Asking the government to enforce any kind of policy to prevent it is rediculous. First of all, Spam through the postal mail is probably what is keeping residential postal rates so cheap. Now herein lies the rub. If it can be done legally through the govt. postal service, all other avenues are fair game. And so the legal finger pointing begins, if he can do it, so can I.

    When the govt. has it's own hands in the same honeypot that telemarketers, spammers, and bulk-mailers do, it's a no win situation.

    Until that changes, avoiding spam without having to download some anti-spam tool, or anti-pop-up browser, or placing a no soliciting sign on your front door, it won't stop. Call me cynical, or even a conspiracy theorist, but public nuisances normally follow trends. One of the true pleasures of living in a capalist society.

Build a system that even a fool can use and only a fool will want to use it.

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