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Spam The Almighty Buck

UK Makes Spamming a Fineable Offense 310

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the get-your-punish-on dept.
woodhouse writes "The BBC has an article about the new UK anti-spamming law which comes into force later this year. Under the new law, spammers can be fined up to 5000 pounds in a magistrates court, or an unlimited amount in the crown court. Sadly, prison terms won't be used to enforce of the new law."
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UK Makes Spamming a Fineable Offense

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:09PM (#6996940)
    Why the law won't work [spamhaus.org]
    • The BBC article [bbc.co.uk] sais:

      Under the new law, companies will have to get permission from an individual before they can send them an e-mail or text message.

      Whereas Spamhaus [spamhaus.org] say:

      From 11 December it will be legal to send spam to the millions of hapless employees of British businesses (as long as each spammer gives each employee the opportunity to 'opt-out' of his individual spam campaign).

      So which is right?

      I'd assume that it is Spamhaus. Shame the BBC can't get their stories straight :-(

      • by rokzy (687636) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:20PM (#6997079)
        both.

        one refers to people ("private individuals").

        the other refers to businesses.
      • Perhaps it's the difference between "individual" and "employee of British buisness", you can't get spammed on your personal e-mail accounts, but your buisness account is fair game....Although, how are they going to tell the difference?
      • by Penguinshit (591885) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @03:03PM (#6997458) Homepage Journal
        This may be a clumsy attempt to factor in targeted email marketing campaigns. For instance, say I work at a company selling compu-widgets and I want to send an email blast out to people who dropped by my tradeshow booth 6 months ago and/or people who subscribe to CompuWidget Magazine (who are demographically proven to be consumers of my product). The mail blast, per design, is only sent to their business email addresses because that is the context and venue in which I wish to engage the recipient.

        Doing this is, technically, spam. But it also isn't spam in that I'm not offering penis enlargements, impossible mortgage rates, questionable knock-off drugs or soliciting assistance in moving large sums of money from African banks.

        It is also merely an extension of what companies did prior to wide adoption of email - snail mail campaigns based upon the exact same criteria. I feel, both as a potential sender and recipient of this type of campaign, that this business tool needs to be protected from being lumped into the same category as the other annoying spam which has absolutely no legitimate business usage.

    • Mod this one up +5 Informative.

      Interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing how the spammers abuse the law, and how (hopefully) they strengthen the law in the future.
      • I'm looking forward to seeing how the spammers abuse the law, and how (hopefully) they strengthen the law in the future.

        and keep strengthening and strengthening the law. why are we so eager to expand government control over an unfettered means of communication? because spam is "inconvenient"?

        this is the thin edge of the wedge that gets the state to control what goes in your inbox.

        • Because technology has yet to come up with a solution maybe?

          Technology is great, but abused technology doesn't seem to be able to fight for itself. How many people in the world actually like spam? The rest of us have been complaining for years about it. Spamblockers kind of work, but they don't completely solve the problem.

          Spam is a pretty specific term. From Mail-Abuse [mail-abuse.org] An electronic message is "spam" IF: (1) the recipient's personal identity and context are irrelevant because the message is equally
        • It's just a protocol, HTTP for humans if you like.

          If you read Jane Austen, you'll notice that in 1800 it was considered unacceptably rude to attempt to communicate with someone without being introduced. For better or worse, polite society did not quite extend into the internet age ;-)

          The government is only having to step in because the net has failed to support the kind of trust relationships that would allow it to be self-regulating, so it has set a baseline.

          Expect to see more legislation of this type a
    • Yep Unenfoceable and ball-less but the MP's in parlament can thump their chest and say how theyr'e doing their job. I guess they have gotten clues from us over here in america
      • The key is that sending spam becomes illegal. This means that ISPs can take whatever technological countermeasures they wish without worrying that they are infringing on the spammer's supposed right to spam. They still have to be careful to not block legitimate e-mail but at least they now have the law on their side if they can find effective mechanisms for blocking and/or filtering.
    • First things first:

      - This law won't solve the problem even in the UK

      OK, done, I agree. However, there are ramifications beyond that. What we've done is go from SPAM is a nuisance to SPAM is illegal. Spammers _LOSE_ rights here. We won't have any of this nonsense of spammers suing ISPs preventing them from cutting off service or suing AOL for blocking their trash.

      What if the law is expanded? Any company who gleans profits FROM spam forfeits that money?

      Hello? Now we're hitting them right where it

      • What we've done is go from SPAM is a nuisance to SPAM is illegal

        No, actually, what we've done is go from spam in a nuisance to spam is legal, provided you send to corporate email.

        It explicitly allows spammers to spam, which is a bad thing.
  • by Brahmastra (685988) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:10PM (#6996953)
    How about a restraining order on spammers where they are ordered not to ever touch a computer again. That's what they do to a lot of crackers.
    • by sakeneko (447402) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:48PM (#6997288) Homepage Journal
      How about a restraining order on spammers where they are ordered not to ever touch a computer again. That's what they do to a lot of crackers.

      Yeah, except that times have changed and it's increasingly necessary to touch a computer to perform basic tasks of living and working. I'm not talking about software engineering or other high-tech work; I'm talking about being a clerk at a convenience store.

      Even the suspected author of one variant of the MS Blaster worm, Jeffrey Parson, was told by the judge that he could use the Internet to look for work. Judges are increasingly unwilling to place permanent draconian restrictions on computer criminals because that could leave them unemployable, and an unemployable person can be forced back into crime by that very fact.

      I agree that aggressive, repeat spammers -- the sort that end up on the SpamHaus.org ROKSO [spamhaus.org] (Register of Known Spam Operations) list -- deserve to be thrown permanently off the Internet. But maybe we should think of some more practical ways to deal with them?

    • Here, here.

      or Hear, hear. I'm never sure which.

      Hear, here?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:10PM (#6996960)
    Better to be fined up to 5000 pounds in a magistrates court...

    ...than to be pounded by 5000 magistrates.

    ...or courted by a 5000 pound magistrate.

  • ... I live in America! ;-)

  • by loraksus (171574) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:11PM (#6996967) Homepage
    sadly, nor will being drawn and quartered.
    Soon hopefully . . .
    Besides, we can always start inflicting pain and death on the spammers where the authorities don't really care about the problem. . .
  • by chia_monkey (593501) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:11PM (#6996969) Journal
    I noticed they can get jail time in Italy. Cool. So jail time and fines in Italy. Fines in the UK. I wonder what the US will do besides say "spam is bad...don't do it" or "spam is bad. It's not spam if you have an opt-out option". Oh I hope these set good precedents.
    • Fines are OK, but I would have expected much better from the British. Say, something like the end of Braveheart???
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I too would like to see the end of Braveheart but sadly there are too many copies already out there to make it feasible.
      • I think we should suspend them in glass cages above the Thames so people can throw eggs at them.
      • Fines are OK, but I would have expected much better from the British. Say, something like the end of Braveheart???

        Unfortunately, the Brits did away with the death penalty a while back...now they don't have that option.

    • Or endorsing Verisign to go counter a very valuable spam determintation technique.

      On a side note though, I'm not too sure about jail time for spam. Heavy fines, yes, jail time... makes me stop and think about it.

    • The US will use the anti-spam laws around the world to their advantage, creating a massive subsidised US spam industry, and putting huge tariffs on all the 'unfair' imported spam.

      Spam lobbyists will push for further subsidies each year while shutting out foreign spam supplies for their horrible spam dumping trade practices.

      The WTO will find in favour of the foreign spam sources time and time again, but the US will continue on because US spam is the only true spam.

      had enough?
  • Oh no! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Prince_Ali (614163) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:11PM (#6996970) Journal
    Sadly, prison terms won't be used to enforce of the new law.

    Oh no, we need to get these violent people off the streets before they e-mail again!

    • You're right... jailing spammers wouldn't be an appropriate solution. Clogging up already-filled prisons for sending email is a bit foolish:

      I'm option for the stake-honey-anthill solution instead, but I've heard other good solutions. I've heard that some countries favor slowly lowering one into boiling water.... or maybe cutting off the hand they type with?

      Keeps our prisons from overflowing, and the spammers off our internet. I'm still debating on the "sticking viagara spammers in a cell with bubba... w
    • Not to mention (unless things work different in the UK) you would then be supporting the spammer with your taxes. It takes money to run a prison and I don't think work release programs generate enough money to make them self sufficient.
  • Jail time? (Score:3, Funny)

    by C_Kode (102755) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:11PM (#6996974) Journal
    Sadly, prison terms won't be used to enforce of the new law.

    Jail time? How about death sentence.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:12PM (#6996978)
    Sadly, prison terms won't be used to enforce of the new law.
    Prison for sending email? Come on, let's stop with the juvenille, knee-jerk reactions.
  • by ejbst25 (130707) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:12PM (#6996981) Homepage
    ...straight to death sentence!

    Seriously...while we all hate spam...someone *really* wants spammers in jail? On the right is the rapist, then murderer, then child molester, then spammer.
    • Yep. I can picture it... Sounds perfect. In fact, it makes me smile.

      I wonder if the spammer would be interested in selling penis enlargements to his cellmates?
    • well, maybe the prospect of being locked up with a 300 pound known murderer would keep a few people from spamming...

      nothing else tried in the Good Ole USA(tm) has worked...
    • by Our Man In Redmond (63094) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:26PM (#6997151)
      So the biggest one . . . the biggest, meanest nastiest father-raper . . . he comes over to me and says, "Kid, what'd you get?"

      "I didn't get nothin'," I said, "I had to pay $100,000 and help secure a couple dozen open relays."

      "What were you in for?"

      "Spamming"

      . . . and they all moved away from me on the Group W bench and gave me the hairy eyeball and all sorts of mean nasty stuff, until I said "and promoting Viagra and free pr0n" and they all shook my hand and we had a great time playing with the pencils and using the computers on the shelf by the window to strip a couple of mailing lists for addresses.
    • We could have convicted spammers sifting through all the emails we get every day, deleting the spam. It could all work towards better spam filters. That'll teach the sods.
  • by ivan256 (17499) * on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:12PM (#6996986)
    Why should we waste money keeping these people in prison when they're not a physical threat to anybody, and when we can force them to become productive members of society? Don't spend my money throwing spammers in prison, use their ill-gotten gains to catch other spammers, and then force them to work at a job that helps the economy rather than forcing them to sit behind bars and have gay sex on the taxpayer tab.
    • All it would take would be a night in a holding cell... just a short stint with a 300 lb criminal. Then, a few of the stories would get out.
      • > All it would take would be a night in a holding cell... just a short stint with a 300 lb criminal. Then, a few of the stories would get out.

        Subject: H0T PR1S0N R4P3...........493121742
        Subject: R A P E ACTION!
        Subject: F|_|CK1NG in Jai1!!1!!1 (ye47fa3d)

        You were saying?

    • by gorbachev (512743) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:34PM (#6997205) Homepage
      I guess the Enron exec, who defrauded millions from their employees and shareholders should walk away free then?

      Jail time for spammers is justified, IMHO, when we're talking about the career spamming scum. The ones who illegally hijack foreign servers, illegally hijack unused netblocks, continue spamming despite being terminated from multiple ISPs, continue spamming despite court orders to stop (Sam Khuri comes to mind), etc. etc.

      I don't think a first time offender should be jailed, but there is NOTHING else that will stop the career spamming from spamming other than locking him up (with no Internet access). These people are sociopaths, they belong in jail.

      Proletariat of the world, unite to kill spammers
      • I guess the Enron exec, who defrauded millions from their employees and shareholders should walk away free then?

        No, he shouldn't. But he doesn't give anybody their money back by rotting in a cell.

        there is NOTHING else that will stop the career spamming from spamming other than locking him up

        Spammers spam for money. If the chances of getting caught are higher than not, and getting caught means you loose all financial rewards from your actions, there will be no incentive to spam.
        • "If the chances of getting caught are higher than not, and getting caught means you loose all financial rewards from your actions, there will be no incentive to spam"

          I'm sure the 5,000 pound penalty will make the UK spammers just quiver in fear. Not.

          The career spammer, btw, *will* spam unless he's physically made not to. When faced with a possibility of real financial sanctions, he'll work harder to avoid getting caught instead of stopping spamming. You can count on that.

          And he will never get caught. Bec
    • by CausticWindow (632215) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:49PM (#6997300)

      I just love the way Americans always equate prison with forced anal intercourse. It's an everyday thing, just like going to McDonalds.

      Never once heard any of you outraged over this matter. It's just a fact of life, and something you most probably deserve when you go to prison. A good hard pounding in the ass.

      It's a good thing that the US legal system is infallible, and that your judges probably take this into account when they pass sentences. Five years imprisonment in most other developed countries probably equates to two years with three brutal ass poundings per day in an American one.

      Mighty fine country you're running over there.

    • by chia_monkey (593501) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:53PM (#6997337) Journal
      "and when we can force them to become productive members of society?"

      We're not going to be able to force anyone to be productive members of society. "Hey, you. Stop spamming. Do good". Won't happen.

      I also believe the so called "white collar criminals" that bilk millions of dollars from corporations and investors and such should get jail time too, along with the other criminals. Who knows how many lives they've ruined by their greed. Hell, their negligence probably CAUSED some down-and-out fathers to resort to crime. Just because they didn't use a gun doesn't mean they don't deserve jail time. Perhaps the same is true for spammers. Just because they aren't violent doesn't mean they don't deserve to be punished or have enough of a threat of a nasty punishment to deter them.
    • Non violent criminals should be forced to do community service, and actually give something back to the community. Nothing like having a bunch spammers picking up garbage along the freeway.
  • Eh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kedisar (705040)
    All spammers are going to have to do is just set up their servers in 3rd world countries. The UK isn't going to travel to Zaire to shut down a steamboat. Who spams FROM Britain, anyway?

    Still, this does make it a lot harder for the very few spammers in Britain to, well, spam. Moving your servers to Zaire isn't exactly easy.
    • Well, some people do. There's one fuckwit who I reported to the Advertising Standards Authority [asa.org.uk] (who are a prime example of how useless industry self-regulation can be, but still worth a try) since their code of practice bans spamming, and they have come to the conclusion that the spammers "were not responsible for the recent spate of unsolicated marketing emails that they appeared to have been sending," even though the spammer all but admitted to me on the phone that it was them.
  • by molo (94384) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:13PM (#6996999) Journal
    You must have a warped world view to advocate having people jailed for costing you time and money. Especially in a world where someone only gets 1 year for a hit-and-run [ktvu.com] that killed a little girl and maimed another.

    -molo
  • by jafuser (112236) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:13PM (#6997001)
    Unfortunately, this will just drive the scum to spam from other countries or to go further underground by exploiting vulenerable PCs with viruses and such.

    Enacting laws is a nice symbolic step, but we need a technical solution if we are to ever to put the brakes on spammers.
    • I disagree. Extradition could be used to get at spamers in other countries. These guys are small potatoes compared to any other industry, I think it's unlikely that a country would try to protect them.

      Many people, including many technical people and the US congres, recognize the international nature of spam and are already talking about treaties to prohibit spam. That would put a lot more teeth in an extadition order.

      I don't believe that there are any real technical solutions to spam, which is why I

  • In abstentia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:14PM (#6997014) Homepage Journal

    From the article:Under the new law, spammers could be fined 5,000 in a magistrates court or an unlimited penalty from a jury.

    and

    Earlier this month Italy imposed tough regulations to fine spammers up to 90,000 euros (66,000) and impose a maximum prison term of three years. EU legislation banning unwanted e-mail is due to come into force on 31 October, but correspondents say that, given the global nature of the internet, it may have little effect. Most spam comes from the United States and Asia, and will be outside its reach.

    Couldn't the spammers be found guilty in abstentia? Remember how the US snapped up Dmitry Skylarov when he entered that country.
  • by deadmongrel (621467) <karthik@poobal.net> on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:15PM (#6997018) Homepage
    check out register.co.uk call it a toothless tiger. more like a pussy(oops!) read the article here http://theregister.co.uk/content/6/32914.html
  • by bs_02_06_02 (670476) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:15PM (#6997021)
    Billy Tauzin continues to promote Opt-out... which means anyone can spam you as much as possible until you complain. Then, they have someone else spam you, and then you complain, and then someone else spams you, and this continues until someone gets killed. Opt-out. What a terrible idea! But, no one in politics knows anything about technology. Most politicians are puppets. Democrats and Republicans both.
  • The folly of law (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ajs (35943) <ajsNO@SPAMajs.com> on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:15PM (#6997024) Homepage Journal
    We all hate spammers, so anti-spam laws are good.

    This is the same logic that got us into the situation where someone who gets caught having sex with their boy/girlfriend on lover's lane (especially if you're in Mass. and happen to be in a non-missionary position) can end up having to walk around to all of your neighbors and tell them you're a sex-offender... joy.

    Yeah, so the definition of a spammer is what? If you get 1000 messages a day with my name as the return-address, do I get fined? What if the headers are *very* convincing? What if it's "from" someone else, but it came from my network? What if that was someone who I let put thier virus-infected laptop on my wireless network?

    This is not an easy problem.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:22PM (#6997100)
      what about going after the sponsors of the spam?
      • what about going after the sponsors of the spam?

        Same problem, some spammer could really not like you, and send a bunch of spam advertising for your company. So it looks like you are the sponsor, when you really aren't.

        BTW, doing this or making the Reply-To address as someone you don't like is referred to as a "Joe Job."
    • Excellent point, touching on where most of these laws fail - identifying the spammer, and identifying them correctly. Thanks for hitting the point mostly - saves me a little bit of typing.
    • We all hate spammers, so anti-spam laws are good.

      We all hate murderers, and anti-murder laws are good.

      This is the same logic that got us into the situation where someone who gets caught having sex with their boy/girlfriend on lover's lane (especially if you're in Mass. and happen to be in a non-missionary position) can end up having to walk around to all of your neighbors and tell them you're a sex-offender... joy.

      I fail to see how punishing a couples consensual (I'm assuming or you wouldn't be using
      • Your logic seems to lead to the tacit acceptance of ultimately, unavoidably crappy laws that inflict penalties on the wrong parties, and of course cannot target the real problem, which simply moves off-shore.

        Sorry, I'm just not able to get behind that. Spam is a technical problem which can be solved technically. It is not a legal problem. No one dies. No one is harmed. It costs you money, but only in sofar as you put up a public service accepting bits from anyone in the world, and someone DARED to send you
        • Spam is a technical problem which can be solved technically.

          And there should be technical solutions to stop it. But when the spammers go out of their way to circumvent the technology, a law making it illegal would go a long way towards stopping it. There are technical solutions to stop people from stealing your car, but it's illegal to do so just the same. You can have both. And both are necessary.

          It is not a legal problem.

          Theft isn't a legal problem?

          but only in sofar as you put up a public serv
  • I sent 1800 spam emails to my MP, Michael Wills. I told him this was a month's worth after deleting the disgusting ones.

    I wonder if it helped...
    • I sent 1800 spam emails to my MP, Michael Wills.

      What you should have done was send them all printed out, in separate envelopes. }:-)

      (For the benefit of the uninitiated, British MPs are legally required to reply to every letter sent to them by one of their constituents.)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    What if instead of being fined 5000 pounds, spammers were forced to eat 5000 pounds of SPAM? Just a thought.
  • by IIH (33751) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:23PM (#6997105)

    While it sounds great on the surface, just look at the corresponding fine for breaching the UK telephone do not call list - this is also up to 5,000, but no one has ever been fined [bbc.co.uk] despite 250 complaints a week being received over the past four years.

    • In Denmark, we have had an antispam law for 3 years, probably similar to the new UK law. And this law is actually enforced.

      Recently, a company named Fonn was fined by the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court for sending 156 spam emails to 50 recipients (including me). The fine was DKK 15000, which equals $2280 or GBP 1410 - or GBP 9 per email.

      English summary here: http://www.fs.dk/uk/misc/fonn.htm [www.fs.dk]

      More cases are under preparation by the Danish Consumer Ombudsman, this time involving a lot more than
  • by El Cubano (631386) <robertoNO@SPAMconnexer.com> on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:24PM (#6997123) Homepage

    Sadly, prison terms won't be used to enforce of the new law.

    Slashdot seems to me to be the place where people gripe about overly harsh sentences for people who are involved in things like P2P and software "piracy," and then say how it's totally out of whack because you go to prison for 5 years for rape and 25 for copyright infingement.

    While agree that spam is a social ill and needs to be curtailed, we need to be careful not to go overboard.

    • Slashdot is a community full of people with drastically different ideas about absolutely everything. So don't be too surprised and remember, unlike piracy (a topic which includes an amazing amount of individual debates itself) spam impacts the average slashdot (and internet) user personally.
  • A bit extreme (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Follis (702842) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:29PM (#6997165)
    Jail time for spammers? That seems a bit extreme for a few reasons. 1) Cost. It costs a LOT of money to keep someone in jail for a year. I don't want to pay it. I don't think you do either. 2) This is a non-violent offence. I can see locking someone up for assault. But spam? That's like locking someone up for possessing narcotics. 'Ain't hurting nobody. Just fine the hell out of them, which will remove the profit margin.

  • Make them copy each mail...BY HAND!

    If the spammer send 10 000 of a specific message:
    Punish him by making him write 10 000 copies of the mail sent. With PEN and PAPER.

    And of course... the spammer would have to pay for the papers and pens as well.

    That ought to teach him/her!!!

    And yeah... if the mail contains images or such...
    let him/her write the ones and zeroes....

  • Obviously the lawmakers in the UK are not very smart about the financial impact of this decision. It would be so much more cost effective to simply enable people who were spammed to shoot the spammer (cost of bullet and cleaning materials to be paid by spamee).

  • I wonder... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Its_My_Hair (703796)
    Is the fine for each offense? What about repeat offenses? Apparently spam is effective so it well may be worth it to spammers to continue spamming and counting the 5000 pounds as "costs of operation".
    • In which case the spammer will likely find himself in front of a crown court with a jury that like spam so much they wish they could have used the death penalty... The unlimited part is what's interesting...
  • This is why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigjnsa500 (575392) <bigjnsa500@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:32PM (#6997193) Homepage Journal
    This is why there are so many frickin' laws on the books as it is. Somebody pissed off? Call a Congress person or Senator and make a law to prevent you from being pissed off.

    Here's Bob. He's not pissed off, he is only fuming. He wants a law to prevent whatever it is that makes him fume. Calls his Senator and gets his law.

    What's wrong with this? BOTH ARE THE SAME!! Its coming to a point where there will be a law for not picking your nose, or a law to not cut your fingernails in public.

    Man, doesn't anybody get this besides me?

  • UK Makes Spamming a Finable Offense

    Oh my god, that means my grandfather's a spammer! He's lived in Finnland for years, they must'a sent him there when he was just young!

    Which reminds me of a joke from LaughLab... The New Zealander wants to get into Australia, and at the border, the guard asks him, "Do you have a criminal record?". The New Zealander replies, "Why, do you still need one to get in?"

    Ba-da-bump.

  • by pragueexpat (674635) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:43PM (#6997253)
    I woke up this morning and checked my inbox, only to see dozens of failed emails, all of which were spam for cheap pharmaceuticals. It was quickly apparent that I was the victim of a "joe job" http://www.techtv.com/news/culture/story/0,24195,3 415219,00.html [techtv.com] where someone uses your domain to send spam. So, my question is this: if I lived in the UK, would I have been arrested today and forced to spend time and money to defend myself in court? Before everyone says 'hey, they can tell by the RECEIVED line in the email that you didn't do it', who do you think is going to check it? Do you think the cops sent to arrest someone are going to check this? Now how many people will have to hire lawyers because these spam assholes are going to get them in trouble? Until we get a secure email system, just forget about trying to find and punish spammers - unfortunately it's not possible.
  • Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wo1verin3 (473094) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @02:55PM (#6997369) Homepage
    >> Sadly, prison terms won't be used to enforce
    >> of the new law."

    I'm glad. While I hate spam as much as the next person, the penalty needs to fit the crime.

    I don't like the spammers, but should they go to jail for sending e-mail? No.

    For those who disagree, do you think those downloading mp3s should be taken to court?
  • by jqh1 (212455) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @03:08PM (#6997498) Homepage
    Anti spam laws are great, and I hope they keep coming. I get a little jolt, though, when I think of most of the law enforcement professionals and judges I know determining who was responsible for spamming.

    I run a free anti-spam service (disposable email) and, probably intentionally, spammers have used disposable addresses from my service as the reply-to or "list removal" address on more than a few spam messages (note: they don't use my server to send the spam -- it's usually some open relay). They generally don't receive any email through these addresses because they get invalidated right away -- either by me or automatically. It really really looks like a simple smear campaign, and certainly has that effect.

    The result is that I get angry emails, and even phone calls threatening to sue from the people who receive the spam. They assume that I'm somehow responsible for sending the spam. They almost all chill out as soon as I explain the situation, but after a big spam frenzy from one these ##*$!!#@, I find myself doing a lot of explaining.

    I also live in America (*you insensitive clod!*) and I'm definitely not prepared to appear in a British court to explain something like this. Enough about me, though, the "Joe Job" is a fairly frequent occurrence these days (whether it is the intentional use of someone else's address in spam -- the true Joe Job, or the mere incidental use of someone's address that was picked at random). I'm sure the legal system will get smart over time, and hopefully will start out that way -- I can't help thinking there's be bumps, though.

  • by DuSTman31 (578936) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @03:15PM (#6997562)

    Personally, I think the main thing that would benefit the anti-spam cause now is more structure - in a software sense.

    There's already quite a few good, pretty effective techniques of filtering, but a truly best-case scenario would be arrived at using a combination of techniques.

    Look at the anti-spam tech available at the moment. There's filters that act as POP3 proxies, filters that run as a plug-in to a specific client (or built-in), and the odd mail server add-in. There's even the case of remote mailboxes (eg using IMAP) which is difficult to deal with any way apart from having the filter on the server.

    Spam filtering is best set-up on a client-by-client basis, because people tend to get different types of mail as normal. Also, if we're doing it on a client-by-client basis, end user interface is very important - any manual classification and configuration of such filters would be best done inside the user interface of the client software, in much the same way as client-specific plugins do it. To do this in a way consistent across client packages (necessary if we want to tackle the problem as a whole and not just for some people) would require a standard protocol for querying graphs of mail filters, relaying any corrections and reconfiguring said filter graph.

    I'd like to see a protocol built upon Seive (a language in RFC form for notating mail filtering rules) and a standard for mail filter components (standard COM/CORBA interfaces, whatever). The seive language could provide flexibly reconfigurable "plumbing" between the individual filters.

    Even if one only uses one filter under such a mechanism, there'd still be benefits from a standardised software interface and ability to control from within any mail client.

  • I'm all for public stoning! I can honestly say I've never spammed and am willing to cast the first.

    Dreams are better as dreams than reality.
    Rav
  • by kclittle (625128) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @03:21PM (#6997611)
    Does this mean some of the Monty Python skits are now illegal in their country of origin? Jus'wunnering...

  • horse (Score:2, Insightful)

    by golrien (528571)
    "Sadly, prison terms won't be used to enforce of the new law."

    Yeah, because Britain's prisons are so empty that they're just crying out for more harmless inmates who pose no danger to the public.

    They're dumb money people, not evil people. Make it uneconomical and they'll go away.
  • by emptybody (12341) on Thursday September 18, 2003 @04:07PM (#6998063) Homepage Journal
    white collar crime is not a threat against the individual. the miscreant wandering around will not be a greater threat to society than were he behind bars.

    the cost of putting a person in the slammer is not negligible.

    Fine them for all the money made polus damages plus court costs etc.

    Ban them from the use of computers A-La Mitnick.

    See just how long they continue their practices.

    Leave the prisons for the truly dangerous criminals that we do not want on the streets.
  • come on, I realize being tarred and feathered is extreme and can result in death, but same goes with the electric chair. I think tarring and feathering certain people most certainly has its place in the world of punitive measures, and if done publicly (as a good tarring and feathering always is) it really does make an example of the perpetrator. I am of the feeling that only tarring and feathering will truly reduce spam (if we get INTERPOL involved, that is).

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