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Laurence 'Green Card' Canter Has No Regrets 342

Posted by michael
from the father-of-the-modern-spam-has-a-nice-ring-to-it dept.
madmagic writes "News.com has an interview today with the surviving lawyer who spammed Usenet with multiple "Green Card Lottery" posts in '94." And today we can get spam in 20 different languages. Hurray.
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Laurence 'Green Card' Canter Has No Regrets

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  • It was inevitable (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CProgrammer98 (240351)
    I guess we shouldn't be too hard on this guy. If he hadn't "invented" spam, lots of others would have. It was inevitable. We have to resign ourselves to the fact that it's just part of life on the net. I don't think any amount of legislation or technology will ever totally eradicate spam, it's here to stay.
    .
    • I guess we shouldn't be too hard on this guy. If he hadn't "invented" spam, lots of others would have. It was inevitable

      Perhaps, but he was the first, and has absolutely no remorse or regret about his actions. Quite the contrary - when asked whether he currently sends SPAM he replies:

      I haven't been, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't at some time.

      Bastard!
  • by secondsun (195377) <secondsun@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @08:25AM (#3227611) Journal
    Does anyone have his email address; I want to tell him about this new penis surgury...
    • The night he systematically destroyed usenet news, we noticed there was a fax number on that famous spam. Surprisingly, it wasn't busy so we did the responsible thing and loaded it up with black pages in hopes it would melt.

      Unfortunately, he must have loved all that attention and convinced other budding marketers they could reap the rewards of spam too. Perhaps the usenet death penalty needed to be applied in a more stricter sense so people like him can't father children.
    • A little Googling around suggests l-ware.com [l-ware.com] might be a place to start.
  • Spam (Score:4, Funny)

    by the_Bionic_lemming (446569) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @08:27AM (#3227616)
    Well, I didn't know who started it, but now I know who to forward it all to.

  • "I myself probably get 300 (spam e-mails) a day. I don't even attempt to read them. I just delete them all right away."

    I guess there's justice in the world after all :)
  • by Dynamoo (527749)
    Back in 1987 we mass-mailed everyone at the university I was studying at to offer them floppy disks for sale. We gathered the names from the mail system usage tables on our Multics system.

    Needless to say we got dragged up before the head of school, and severely told off.. but in those days they didn't have any rules against spamming, so that was all they could do.

    That was 15 years ago. I guess we weren't the first then either.

    We never did sell any floppy disks though! :)

    • So you mailed a small list of people to sell floppies, and got no sales. This guy sends out mail to every usenet group his script could find, successfully generating between $100,000 and $200,000 despite the fact that the cancelling of their account meant that they could not read tens of thousands more emails. He proved it was commercially viable, and thus spawned a myriad of copycats. Gee, I wonder why they wrote the article about him not you ;-)

      /changes subject

      Okay, so spamming is a royal pain in the arse. but some people are vilifying this man to a stupid extent, like the poster who said he was like Hitler (and I think he was being serious) Please try not to lose perspective of how relatively trivial this matter was. Yes, I said trivial and meant it; every day atrocities happen that are far worse than this - spam is annoying and very little more. Besides, it's evidently creating business for advertisers, and created an industry of providers, so it's not all bad...
  • by skroz (7870) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @08:30AM (#3227630) Homepage
    Oh, there's a special place in hell roped off for this guy. His role in hell? He'll be running satan's mail servers, hunting down open relays that will mysteriously never close. He'll spend hours per day blocking OTHER open relays, only to find twice as many open up. He'll have nightmarish visions of "Free XXX Adult Action," "Over 60 and still HOT TO TROT" and "FREE $$$ HOME MORTGAGES ON THE CHEAP!"

    Hopefully all of this will come with a white hot poker in his ass.
    • by Bowfinger (559430) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @08:58AM (#3227803)
      Oh, there's a special place in hell roped off for this guy. His role in hell? He'll be running satan's mail servers, hunting down open relays that will mysteriously never close. He'll spend hours per day blocking OTHER open relays, only to find twice as many open up. He'll have nightmarish visions of "Free XXX Adult Action," "Over 60 and still HOT TO TROT" and "FREE $$$ HOME MORTGAGES ON THE CHEAP!"

      Wouldn't the ads be more like "FREE ice water!!!!!" and "Make your own air conditioner - absolutely legal", with maybe an occasional "Hidden heaven cam, hot teen angels! (34231)"?

  • by jc42 (318812) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @08:35AM (#3227662) Homepage Journal
    This guy definitely has a slender hold on reality. He describes 1994 as a time when the "Internet was new", and talk about using Compuserve, which was a "precursor to the Internet".

    If this is what passes for factual history in his world, there's no apparent reason that we should listen to anything else he has to say.

    What's disappointing is that the reporter apparently saw no need to comment on the accuracy of such "facts".

    • by khendron (225184) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @08:54AM (#3227779) Homepage
      I'd actually have to let that one slide.

      Back in 1994 the Internet *was* new, from the general public perspective. Sure, it had been around for years, but but wasn't in the news that much. A better way of phrasing it would be to state that something new was happening *to* the Internet: the average person was climbing on board. For the first time in history a large number of average citizens were accessible via electronic means.

      To most people, Compuserve *did* come before the Internet. Back in 1984 I paid a reasonable monthly charge to access Compuserve. I couldn't do the same with the Internet until 1993.

      That said, I still find his smug "if we didn't do it somebody else would have" attitude annoying.

      • Eh? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by MrFredBloggs (529276)
        "To most people, Compuserve *did* come before the Internet"

        Quack quack quack.
      • Back in 1984 I paid a reasonable monthly charge to access Compuserve. I couldn't do the same with the Internet until 1993.

        Reasonable? I remember at looking at the compuserv price lists and being astounded at the cost. Of course I was just a kid back then, but it was still pretty pricey.
  • When he comes to work at 8:00 am and has 30 pieces of spam in his mailbox....
  • After all, he is a lawyer so scummy, that other lawyers disbarred him.
  • This just in!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nochops (522181) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @08:44AM (#3227713)
    We have determined the caveman who is responsible for the first murder of another human being on planet Earth. Feel free to blame him for all subsequent murders.

    Gimme a break. This guy is *NOT* responsible for all of the spam the we deal with today. A society made up of a bunch of money-hungry-but-too-lazy-to-get-off-their-asses-a nd-earn-some-money assholes is responsible for this.

    If this guy is responsible for the spam plague, then why do we bother complaining to spammers / ISPs / web-hosts about our spam...Why not just send all of our complaints to this guy, since he's responsible, right?
    • Well, this guy committed quite an act against a great form of communication that had been around for some time.

      Imagine a serial killer talking with great passion about the acts he committed and the reaction sure to follow. Now imagine since he is the first serial killer, we must let him go since there surely must be more to follow. Might as well throw punishment away too.

      No need for a deterrent here. Let's make a whole industry to thrive off the evils we allowed to enter our world. After all the anti-virus and spam software industry helps our economy and increases our standard of living. NOT!
    • Re:This just in!!! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Erasmus Darwin (183180) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @10:50AM (#3228445)
      "Gimme a break. This guy is *NOT* responsible for all of the spam the we deal with today."

      In addition to the infamous greencard spam, he later coauthored the book "How to Make a Fortune on the Information Superhighway" which encouraged others to do what he did (and rationalized such actions as being acceptable). So while he may not be exclusively responsible, he carries significantly more culpability than you're giving him credit for.

  • Either ISPs or a government tax should charge one cent per email. The average user who probably sends less than a dollar's worth per day would hardly notice the charge. The spammer would be paralyzed.
    • legitimate businesses who use email for a variety of purposes.

      I get my phone and internet bill through email -- so I can pay online from work instead of trying to weasel time in at home.

      I am on several mailing lists that go out to hundreds of people -- if I send an email that goes to hundreds, is that one cent, or hundreds of cents? Who gets billed? Me, my ISP, the host of the list?

      There -ARE- legimate email-marketing businesses. Who do opt-in, double-subscribe, instant unsubscribe lists.

      ---

      Why should we penalize EVERYONE for the actions of some assholes who can't remember how to get permission first?
      • I think a rate where 1,000 emails a month would be free and then 1c an email would be good. One could quibble about the price, I guess, but the principle is a sound one.

        I get my phone and internet bill through email -- so I can pay online from work instead of trying to weasel time in at home.

        It'd still be less than what they'd pay the US mail.

        I am on several mailing lists that go out to hundreds of people -- if I send an email that goes to hundreds, is that one cent, or hundreds of cents?

        If you're sending it to a central server, it's one cent.

        Who gets billed? Me, my ISP, the host of the list?

        You get billed once and when your host sends out the daily digest, he gets billed once. That would be no more than 31 emails a month, so with the first 1,000 free, he wouldn't be paying anyway.

        There -ARE- legimate email-marketing businesses. Who do opt-in, double-subscribe, instant unsubscribe lists.

        It would be part of the cost of doing business. It's cheaper than snail mail or phone calls.

        Why should we penalize EVERYONE for the actions of some assholes who can't remember how to get permission first?

        It's not a penalization of everyone - most people don't send 1,000 emails a month. And it's not penalizing those who do - it's asking them to pay for a service they're using heavily. It would have the added benefit of making spam expensive and unprofitable.
        • You get billed once and when your host sends out the daily digest, he gets billed once. That would be no more than 31 emails a month, so with the first 1,000 free, he wouldn't be paying anyway.

          Well, actually with a mailing list of 100 people, say, he would be sending 3100 emails a month and would pay. Still, there are other ways things like this could be done.
        • Okay, lets take this a little more personally.

          I get my slashdot responses in email. How many responses are posted PER article, per day?

          --

          The return on bulk mail via the Post Office is -maybe- one in 10,000.

          And that makes a profit on the rates the Post Office charge.

          A one-cent tax won't stop spam, it won't halt spam, it won't slow spam.

          It'll just mean that everyone ELSE will have a harder time sending email.

          (and as for 1,000 emails a month, well, just on average, I send 100 a -day-. Tech support. LOTS of emails. And that doens't count the personal ones.)

          Additionally - it won't work.

          Why? Because like you just said -- you send one email, you get charged one cent. The email goes to multiple people -- do you get changed multiple cents? Then mailing lists get penalized. Because daily digests are a pain to read -- and if you FORCE daily digests on everyone, you punish everyone for the spam of a few -- AND -- its still a -very- large number on a large scale list.
    • Yes, and governments across the world should charge for the air we breathe. After all, if we don't pay our taxes, there would be no air on the planet. The average person only uses a dollar's worth of air anyway, so few people would notice the charge.
    • Either ISPs or a government tax should charge one cent per email. The average user who probably sends less than a dollar's worth per day would hardly notice the charge. The spammer would be paralyzed.

      I really hate it when people propose things without thinking them through.

      Okay, lets say they did. What would be involved? We would have to create a structure, both technological (finding a way to bill you your pennies) and sociological (finding a way to get people to tolerate their government charging them for sending email)

      Let's say you get your wish. There are certainly people working on both fronts right now to grant it. Now what? "Only a penny" right? But then, in the name of national security, we are going to have to raise it to a nickle. You aren't on the terrorists side, right? But Rush Limbaugh says that businesses are going to be hurt by this "tax" so GE and Disney will be exempted. They NEED their email. And [insert powerful liberal equivalent of Rush here] will point out that the health care industry NEEDS its email, so that will be exempt, too. To make up the shortfall, we'll have to raise it to a dime.

      Once you allow the government to tax your email, you are foolish if you think it will remain at a penny. It is hard to create a new tax. It is easy to raise an existing one.
    • I already pay - I pay $27.99 a month to send e-mail, view web pages, etc... why should I pay twice?
  • by martin (1336) <maxsec.gmail@com> on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @08:52AM (#3227771) Journal

    I gotta say my first reaction was ahah so that's the (expletive deleted) who started all this.

    But then if it wasn't them then it would have been someone else. I get junk mail through my letter box so thid is just the logical extension for the internet.

    Sure it's a pain in the bum, a total waste of bandwidth etc but given that the problem lays with ISP's allowing this stuff to go on (ie the spammers are their customers!) I can't see any solution to it (apart from ignoring and deleting it).

    Just my 2 pence worth.
  • How do you think spam will affect the way we use the Internet in the future?
    It's not going to stop us from using (e-mail) because it's such a marvelous form of communication. But something does have to be done to eliminate the unbelievable volume (of spam) that many people get. One would think that it would lessen itself because it's not as effective.


    Not as effective?

    Not as effective?

    Spam costs virtually nothing to send when compared to reaching the same numbers of people with the same message via any other media that even if you get only 1 response per million I'm sure its still an order of magnitude more cost effective than, for example, running an add during the Super Bowl. Anyone have any stats on this? How much does it cost per email to send spam?
  • Look... (Score:5, Funny)

    by xtermz (234073) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @08:55AM (#3227784) Homepage Journal
    ...Stop harping on the guy. If it wasnt for him, I'ld still be bald, my wang wouldnt be 20-30% bigger, my vast real-estate empire would be nothing, and my hot willing wife from asia would still be over there picking rice...

    God bless the spam...it changed my life
    • I too have benefitted from spam.. I now have 8 diplomas from prestigious non-accredited universities, I accept 24 different credit cards, and I've refinanced my morgatge 11 times. I can also find out any secret about anyone using this powerful software I bought.
  • Moral justification (Score:5, Interesting)

    by briggsb (217215) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @08:58AM (#3227802)
    Do you have any regrets about sending the spam?
    I don't think so. Given the same set of circumstance--the same time, the stage of the Internet--I'd probably do the same thing. Somebody would have done it, if we hadn't done it.
    Great moral justification - no surprise that this came from a lawyer. "But judge somebody was gonna steal that money if my client hadn't."
  • Siegel died? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Seth Finkelstein (90154) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @09:00AM (#3227811) Homepage Journal
    and Siegel died in 2001
    Is this true? I went looking for the obituary, but could not find it. I'd have thought there would be some notice. I wondered if the obituary would have mentioned her as the "co-inventor" of spam (what a thing to be remembered for, in one's life ...)

    Sig: What Happened To The Censorware Project (censorware.org) [sethf.com]

  • by mlas (165698) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @09:07AM (#3227840) Homepage

    ...it's really irrelevant who cast the first stone. Looking back, the commercialization of the Internet (incl. Usenet, email, the Web) seems more like a historical inevitability. If it wasn't Canter and Siegel, it would have been someone else two weeks later, guaranteed. The network was simply too rich and too full of potential at that point in time to not be mined for profit.

    Don't forget, the "unwritten rules" of the Internet as a non-commercial venue included the Web(!) at first; there were always "dot-com" addresses, but outright advertising was seriously frowned upon. However, had this fundamentalist purity somehow miraculously stayed intact, most of us would probably be out of a job today. I know I would.

    Canter and Siegel's place in history will be less on the magnitude of Jimi Hendrix, and more like the name of the first concertgoer through the gates at Woodstock-- a piece of trivia at a historical event.

    • Don't forget, the "unwritten rules" of the Internet as a non-commercial venue included the Web(!) at first; there were always "dot-com" addresses, but outright advertising was seriously frowned upon. However, had this fundamentalist purity somehow miraculously stayed intact, most of us would probably be out of a job today. I know I would.

      It is not right to treat PULL information sources like web sites as analogous to PUSH information sources. The commercialization was never the problem for any but a tiny fraction of people. If you had done a "Canter and Siegel" about the Israeli/Palestinian question you would have been flamed also. The only reason that commercialism made it worse is because it was clear that if there was profit in it there would be no end to it.

    • ...it's really irrelevant who cast the first stone. Looking back, the commercialization of the Internet (incl. Usenet, email, the Web) seems more like a historical inevitability.

      So is war, but that doesn't mean I want to give a free pass to the people who start one.

    • I agree, if they hadn't done it, someone else would have.

      But for those of us who were there and lived through the firestorm following, the names Canter and Siegel will be forever burned into our memories. When it was happening, I knew the internet was about to take a serious turn, and that we'd never go back to the way things were, for better or worse.

      And yeah, who knows if history will recall the names Canter and Siegel 100 years from now. But it was a pretty significant event -- the first large-scale commercial advertisement on the internet! Tell your kids or grandkids in 10 or 20 or 30 years that you were there for that. They'll look at you the same way you'd look at a great-grandparent that says they remember when the first person on their block got a telephone or television.
    • Don't forget, the "unwritten rules" of the Internet as a non-commercial venue included the Web(!) at first; there were always "dot-com" addresses, but outright advertising was seriously frowned upon

      They weren't unwritten rules intially. When the NSF was still funding part costs of the backbone (through '94 or so IIRC), the feds required you to sign an "Acceptible Use Policy" to get a feed from an ISP. This AUP applied to all users, even on .com domains. It prohibited any sort of commercial solicitations. The only commerical activity allowed was things like distribution of subscription content. You could fulfill subscriptions on the Internet, but you couldn't solicit them.

      As I recall, the ISPs were in charge of enforcing the AUP. In those days there were fewer of them around, so the threat of losing one's feed from any one ISP might mean having no other option to reconnect, so the threat was taken seriously.

    • Looking back, the commercialization of the Internet (incl. Usenet, email, the Web) seems more like a historical inevitability.

      Perhaps this is a nitpick, but spamming isn't "the commercialization of the Internet." Commercialization is a matter of something being used for trade, which is a voluntary exchange between two parties. Spamming isn't voluntary on the part of the recipient (or recipient's mail host) -- it's an expense forced upon the recipient by the sender. That's trespass and involuntary conversion, not commercialization.

      Yes, the Internet has become commercialized. The first examples of that were UUNET and the other early ISPs -- selling Internet access was a new thing once upon a time. Another example would be the commercialization of the Web -- the rise of online stores and the like. Another would be banner ads, which differ from spam in that they are not "pushed" at the recipient; the recipient instructs his computer to download them by viewing a Web page.

      Spam isn't commerce. It's crime. Let's not malign honest businesspeople by conflating them with those who "advertise" by spray-painting on other people's property.

  • by sdo1 (213835) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @09:07AM (#3227842) Journal
    Canter wrote: But something does have to be done to eliminate the unbelievable volume (of spam) that many people get.

    Apparantly his parents were lacking in teaching him morals. My parents always taught me "Before you do anything, think about what the world would be like if EVERYONE did that thing. Before you toss that gum wrapper out of the car window, think about what the street would look like if everyone did it. Before you say something nasty to someone, think about how you'd feel if the rolls were reversed."

    It's pretty basic stuff. I can't tell you how many spammers I've confronted via email (I report every spam I get) only to be told "Lighten up jerk! It's only one email. My response is always "Yea, but what if every business on the planet did what you did?"

    I'll never understand spammers. They seem to be almost universally lacking in the ability to tell right from wrong. That Canter's excuse is "if I hadn't done it, someone else would have, so it's OK" only shows that he too is lacking in that ability.

    -S

    • My parents always taught me "Before you do anything, think about what the world would be like if EVERYONE did that thing. Before you toss that gum wrapper out of the car window, think about what the street would look like if everyone did it.

      "Well, I was going to take the 401 into work today, but with 6 billion people on it, maybe I'll stick with the subway..."
  • by wiredog (43288) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @09:13AM (#3227872) Journal
    It was with a fairly simple script, a Perl script,

    That's right, the first usenet spam was sent with a Perl script. We must stop the spread of tools, such as perl, that allow this sort of evil.

    And, since perl makes no attempt to stop spam, or evil hackers copying DVD's, we must souppport the CBDTPAYHBTYHLHAND legislation that will put a stop to the evil that is perl!

  • by marnanel (98063) <slashdotNO@SPAMmarnanel.org> on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @09:13AM (#3227873) Homepage Journal

    From the article: The Usenet, to my way of thinking, is very different than e-mail because it's not something that's just coming to you.

    Isn't he thinking backwards here? Here's a clue: people have to store and transmit Usenet posts, just like they do with email, and they have to pay for the time and the storage, just like they do with email. The only difference from email for our purposes is in the opposite direction from that which he implies.

    So when he says that Usenet spam isn't something that's "just coming to you", he's confusing the issue: the real difference from email spam is that it's not coming just to you. The spammer gets to make thousands of people pay to read their one ad, instead of having to go to the trouble of sending an individual message for each one.

    You're going to these message boards for whatever reason,

    Sure. And 99 times out of a hundred it isn't to get told about how to find a green card.

    and although it may be true that mass posting to every Usenet group in sight wasn't good, I still don't see how it is nearly as intrusive as receiving 300 pornographic e-mail solicitations every day

    Which makes it quite all right, of course.

    <bad-taste> "News.com has an interview today with the surviving lawyer who spammed Usenet with multiple "Green Card Lottery" posts in '94."

    You mean someone got the other one? :) </bad-taste>

  • by Seth Finkelstein (90154) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @09:14AM (#3227876) Homepage Journal
    Ah, memories [google.com] ... (I was one of those "MIT thugs")
    In spite of the reprehensible tactics of the MIT thugs, mass posting to USENET remains a profitable way to market to the huge majority of people on the Internet who do not share the warped MIT mentality. Every day more and more businesses are mass posting to USENET because it is effective. It is particularly beneficial to small businesses, which our government has an interest in fostering. If Cybersell's connection to the Internet were to be eliminated, the advertising posted to USENET every day would still continue and grow. Our company would also continue on, advising businesses of how to advertise through their own accounts, just as Mr. Boyle did.

    The public is becoming increasingly aware and intolerant of academic institutions who support the dissemination of pornography and the commission of computer crimes as exercises in free speech but act sociopathically in response to advertising. This set of values is not reflective of the beliefs of most Americans. In this regard, an investigation of MIT and their flagrant negligence in turning a blind eye to the misuses of their system is long overdue. Meanwhile, Cybersell stands behind all its actions as being both legal and highly successful business pursuits. We continue to encourage others to follow the path we are cutting through this virtual war zone.

    Laurence A. Canter
    Martha S. Siegel
    Cybersell (tm)

    Who knew then, what we know now ... especially that remark about a "virtual war zone" ...

    Sig: What Happened To The Censorware Project (censorware.org) [sethf.com]

  • by halflinger_n (534215) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @09:20AM (#3227899)
    I think there is a definite demarcation line between those who really really hate spam, and those who just put up with it as background noise.

    I think that line begins somewhere in the early 1990's.

    Anyone using email in that timeframe (who was new to it) looked forward to each communication received via the wires - they were special and important somehow - they were EMAIL!

    Then came spam and an eagerly anticipated epistle of import became just so much crap.

    I think that many of us have simply replaced disappointment with anger.

    I know I have.

    • I agree with your description of there being a "definite demarcation line between those who really really hate spam, and those who just put up with it as background noise."

      But I disagree with your theory about where/how it was drawn.

      I've been using e-mail since 1987, AND I'm one of those people who just put up with spam as background noise. When I use my home account, the first thing I do is delete 80% of the messages unread. Sometimes I foward the especially appalling to the appearant-source ISP. Or in the case of what claims to be incest-porn, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children's CyberTipLine [cybertipline.com]. It's irritating to have to do that, but I just don't get as angry about it as a lot of people do. And while it is true that getting E-MAIL isn't as exciting as it used to be, it is nice to have more than three real life friends who can send it to me. (Not that I didn't or don't still love getting e-mail from Brian, Todd, and Sarah.)

      Incidentally, I blame the whois database for my worst spam, since I had virtually none before registering a couple of domains. (Idle, nothing to see here.) And I still have virtually none on most of my e-mail accounts.

      Liza

      • Just a little ironic. Reporting offensive email spam to a non-profit that uses fax spam to raise revenue.

        The fisrt scumbag outfit to start molesting my home fax machine was Fax.com, sending ads on behalf of National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, who sold the ads to various companies, thinking that since they were a non-profit, the anti fax-spam laws didn't apply to them.

        I raised hell with all offending parties and the two major corporate sponsors of the Center: Sun and Computer Associates. It didn't take very long before a profuse appology arrived from the director, but I got the impression that they were going to continue to fax spam.
  • Martha's story (Score:4, Interesting)

    by geoswan (316494) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @09:21AM (#3227909) Journal
    Here is an interview from 1994 with Martha Siegel [kkc.net] Canter's wife and partner. Note, it contradicts Canter at many points. For instance, this article says they co-wrote the HOWTO book, but Canter's recent interview quotes him as saying he wrote it alone.
  • and the Scumbag of the Year Award goes to...

    A disbarred lawyer and a pioneer of Internet spam with no regrets. Talk about morally devoid. Let me guess... he owns two pitbulls, thinks the 9/11 hijackers were justified, and posts goatse pictures to Slashdot forums.
  • Antisocial (Score:3, Informative)

    by Raedwald (567500) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @09:47AM (#3228046)

    IANAP (I Am Not a Psychologist!), but check Sociopathy [mq.edu.au].

    • '[psychopaths have a personality that] emasculates the constraining force of social rules: people for whom... the idea of a common good is merely a puzzling and inconvenient abstraction.' Canter says 'Seems that back then the Internet was more or less the private playpen of academics and geeks, and any commercial solicitations were considered off limits.' That sounds like a bunch of inconvenient soial rules. Check 1
    • 'Groups high on psychopathy include... high-pressure salesmen and stock promoters... unethical lawyers...' Check 2
    • '... psychopaths are characterised by an absence of remorse or any conception that their behaviours ought to be changed.' In reply to the question 'Do you have any regrets about sending the spam?' Canter says 'I don't think so. Given the same set of circumstance--the same time, the stage of the Internet--I'd probably do the same thing.' Check 3
    Also check out Antisocial Personality Disorder [byu.edu].
  • > So they were fully aware of your intentions from the start?
    >
    > What always made us mad was that they always knew what we were
    > doing before we did it. Then they denied the whole thing. We
    > set up our accounts with them initially for the purpose of
    > doing this.

    As former owner of Internet Direct, please allow me to set the
    record straight.

    At the time most of our accounts (like the C&S account) were
    dial up shell and SLIP accounts. We were setting up at least
    30 - 50 accounts a day so to say that we knew each customers
    intentions for their account's use is totally not right.

    About four weeks before the incident, C&S did visit our offices and
    they met with my business partner Bill Fisher. They started to
    ask vague questions about our capacity and if we offered
    programming consulting services. Bill started to figure out
    where they were starting to go with their line of questioning
    and he told them that we would not help them with any
    spamming activities. Bill then referred C&S to the AUP document
    they signed when they joined they service and they left our
    offices.

    From that time to the day of the incident, they found an
    independent programmer to create the scripts to do the
    mass spamming.

    > They terminated our account in a very short period
    > of time, a matter of days. And there was a lot of mail that we
    > were really never able to get. We guessed there were 25,000 to
    > 50,000 e-mails that never got to us. We eventually got a hard
    > disk from them some months later that had it all on there, but
    > we were never completely successful at pulling the data off of
    > it.

    We delivered to their lawyer a 4mm DAT tape two days after the
    incident. I believe all the info was encoded in ROT 13. :)


    • From that time to the day of the incident, they found an
      independent programmer to create the scripts to do the
      mass spamming.


      I stumbled on the C&S book at a Barnes and Noble years ago. Flipped through a few pages. Read their story about how they got started. And read their descriptions of the person they managed to find to create the tools needed for their deeds.


      They were not kind. In fact, they were almost hostile in their description of the person (and seemed to note his guilt in performing his task). The final mention of the mystery coder is their apparent relief to have the code and be done with his presense. Some gratitude.


      It seems these folks were hell-bent on clashing with the tech culture from the very beginning.

  • CNET made their last question "Has the spam incident helped or harmed your career path?", when I'm sure we were all more interested in the answer to "(sound of gun cocking) Have you made your peace with God, Mr. Canter?"
  • What's Dave up to these days? (Was he even a real person?)
  • This man is unabashedly associated with the two most despised groups in the history of mankind: lawyers and spammers. More than just associated, he is called the "the father of modern spam."

    Must be the devil himself.
  • Joseph Melle proposed to post 1 million AOL email addresses on the net for free for people to use to spam.

    http://www.compunotes.com/Interviews/jmelle.htm

    I wonder what happened to him?

Per buck you get more computing action with the small computer. -- R.W. Hamming

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