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Can-Spam Increased Spam 362

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the eggs-bacon-sausage-and-sniffle dept.
andy1307 writes "According to New York Times, spam has actually gone up [Free registration required. You gave real info, right?] since the CAN-SPAM act went into effect. There is a graphic in the article that illustrates this increase. Before the CAN-SPAM act was passed, spam was about 60% of all e-mail traffic. Now it's 80%. In a we-told-you-so quote, Steve Linford, the founder of the Spamhaus Project, says CAN-SPAM legalized spam by giving bulk advertisers permission to send junk e-mail as long as they followed certain rules. Slashdot covered this story last year. For companies that offer offshore "bulk advertising" servers, business is booming. A survey from Stanford University estimates the global cost of spam in terms of lost productivity to be at 50 billion $ and 17 billion $ in the US alone. CAN-SPAM does give prosecutors some leverage to go after the merchants - but it must be proved that they knew, or should have known, that their wares were being fed into the illegal spam chain. " The BBC has a related story talking about rates of spam, viruses, and scam mail.
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Can-Spam Increased Spam

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:15PM (#11541632)
    Who would've thought they'd abuse a new law?
  • Duh... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GenP (686381)
    Seriously, who didn't see this coming? Who loves clueless legislators? Spammers do!
    • Re:Duh... (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I didn't see this coming. Can I have a job as a clueless legislator please?
    • > Seriously, who didn't see this coming? Who loves
      > clueless legislators? Spammers do!

      Well there's that wonderously horrible grey area between unsolicited and solicited spam. We have to deal with this on an infrequent basis, where people actually do sign up for things, and then whine and snivel when mail comes. Clearly you can't define it legally as "anything a user doesn't want to see in his Inbox".
      • Re:Duh... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by soft_guy (534437) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:50PM (#11542087)
        We have to deal with this on an infrequent basis, where people actually do sign up for things, and then whine and snivel when mail comes.

        Then stop creating webforms that automatically check the box saying that people want your spam.
        • Re:Duh... (Score:3, Informative)

          by CritterNYC (190163)

          We have to deal with this on an infrequent basis, where people actually do sign up for things, and then whine and snivel when mail comes.

          Then stop creating webforms that automatically check the box saying that people want your spam.

          Quite right. AND be sure you are confirming opt-ins (ie... send a confirmation email to the address with a unique URL which must be clicked to confirm subscription). Otherwise, anyone can signup anyone else... and there are some mailbomb programs out there that automate this

      • Re:Duh... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Pig Hogger (10379)
        Well there's that wonderously horrible grey area between unsolicited and solicited spam.
        You seem to misse a point of semantics here.

        Spam is **** NEVER **** sollicited.

    • Re:Duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Atzanteol (99067) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:51PM (#11542108) Homepage
      If you believe that, then I have a scary statistic for you. Since that legislation passed more people have died of gunshots in the US! And my lucky red shirt prevents bear attacks with a 100% success rate!

      Corrolation != Cause & effect
    • [tt]:Duh... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NOSpAM.barbara-hudson.com> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:52PM (#11542130) Journal
      Who loves clueless legislators? Spammers do!
      Of course. Who do you think is stupid enough to keep clicking on all those "3NL4RG3 Y0U4 P3N1S" ads? Can only BE a congresscritter.

      These are the same people who put exemptions in the law to allow them to send unsolicited bulk email to you.

      Me, I'm saving ALL my spam for the next election. (I also keep it so I can train my filters, but that's another story).

      Any politician who wants my vote can have it easily:

      1. Offer to bring back the public stocks in the village square, and lock any spammer in it.
      2. Make him live on a diet of printed-out spam for a week - let him EAT his own words.
      3. Make him pick up 1 piece of roadside litter for every piece of cyber-litter he's sent.
      4. And revoke the driver's permit for anyone stupid enough to answer spam - if you're dumb enough to believe someone wants to give you $19 Million, you're obviously incompetent.

      FTFA:

      the global cost of spam in terms of lost productivity to be at 50 billion $ and 17 billion $ in the US alone.
      The cost of lost productivity due to:
      • Spam: $17 billion
      • Windows bugs, etc: $50 bazillion
      • Surfing slashdot: Priceless
      Disclaimer: No spammers were harmed during the making of this post - DAMN!
  • by Powercntrl (458442) * on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:16PM (#11541645)
    I was truly hoping Can Spam meant sealing spammers up in airtight containers, preserving them for study by future generations.
  • by jxyama (821091) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:16PM (#11541652)
    could the increase be due to natural causes? that people are spamming more, regardless of CAN-SPAM?

    what's the fraction of spam that's sent which is CAN-SPAM compliant? how has that increased? (no i didn't RTFA since i haven't registered. does the article answer this?)

  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:17PM (#11541661) Homepage Journal
    A fact that seems lost on most journalists these days.
    • by Trepalium (109107) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:23PM (#11541745)
      Not just journalists, either. Anyone with an agenda loves to forget these things, too. If you look at their handy graph, it looks like fairly linear growth both before and after CAN-SPAM, so blaming the law may be a little out of order.
      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @01:03PM (#11542260) Journal
        It depends what you are blaming on the CAN-SPAM act. If you are blaming it for increasing spam, then you are abusing statistics. If you are blaming it for failing to live up to its promise to reduce spam you are entirely justified - not only did it fail to reduce spam, it failed to reduce the rate of increase of spam.
        • Mod parent up! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @01:53PM (#11542862)
          Damn straight.

          Not only was this law SUPPOSED to reduce spam (by the charts, it hasn't) ...

          But it was also supposed to make it easier to prosecute spammers who failed to follow it ...

          AND it REPLACED state laws that were far stricter in their definitions and punishments.

          It's a damn sight more difficult to get a FEDERAL case filed than it is to get one in your STATE courts.

          We need to get rid of that stupid law and let the state courts handle it (they need the money from the judgements, anyway).
    • When "journalists" begin considering one democratic election to be sufficient justification for not posing appropriate questions, one realizes that most everything is lost on "journalists" these days.
      • When "journalists" begin considering one democratic election to be sufficient justification for not posing appropriate questions, one realizes that most everything is lost on "journalists" these days.

        (For the USA) As I understand it, this started in the mid 80's during the Regan Administration. (Not because of Regan) When Network News started to consider themselves more as Entertainment rather than Information.
    • by paulzeye (736282) * on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:29PM (#11541827)
      Actually, the article mentioned that there could be other reasons for the increase in spam. One example was filters blocking more spam, and spammers needing to send out more spam to maintain their levels. The article wasn't bad, you should try reading it.
    • by badasscat (563442) <`basscadet75' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:39PM (#11541950)
      A fact that seems lost on most journalists these days.

      And I see that R'ing TFA is still lost on most Slashdotters these days...

      This is not an article about how CAN-SPAM has increased spam. It is an article about how spam has increased despite CAN-SPAM. That is a very different thing. Several viewpoints are given from all sides involved on why it's happening, but at no time does the article itself suggest CAN-SPAM is the cause - only that it has not been an effective deterrent.

      I think that's something we can all agree on.
    • yea yea. Try this: "correlation can provide excellent confirmation of a suspected causal relationship."

      Thats why we run all kinds of fun statistical tests to see how relevant certain variables are.


      Anyways, solutions: inform these companies (by registered mail, return receipt required, etc) just how their products are being sold.

      Now you can show "that they knew, or should have known, that their wares were being fed into the illegal spam chain"

    • However, we can say that it has not stopped spam. It has, essentially, done nothing.
  • by jkujawa (56195) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:18PM (#11541673) Homepage
    It's likely that spam would have increased anyway.
  • We don't want to know if the relative amount of SPAM has increased - that is no surprise given that it is supposedly a good (if unethical) business model. How about whether the rate of increase has changed - that would be the only analysis that would show CAN-SPAM legitimised some spam messages.
  • by elid (672471) <eli.ipod@gmail . c om> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:19PM (#11541679)
    "There's way too much money involved," Mr. Gillespie said, noting that his service, which is currently down, provided him with a six-figure income at its peak. "And if there's money to be made, people are going to go out and get it."

    This is the problem. Until the business of spamming stops producing profits, spam won't stop. It's beyond my comprehension why anyone would buy anything from spam.

    • I could give you a thousand reasons. Give me your email address...
    • by Xzzy (111297)
      They're not making money by making sales. They're making money by being paid to advertise (spam).

      Response rate for junk-mail in the real world is something like 2%, maybe less. Yet advertisers throw piles of money into doing it, because the income that 2% brings them is worth it. To them.

      Spam is even easier.. there's no material cost involved to print up paper. Assuming spammers charge normal advertising rates, their profits are up a considerable amount.
    • by gunnk (463227) <gunnk&mail,fpg,unc,edu> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:44PM (#11542017) Homepage
      There is something deeply ironic about a post stating incredulity that people would buy anything from spam... ... in a post with a sig to a "offerprizes.com" -- "free" iPod stuff.
  • Rules (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vertinox (846076)
    CAN-SPAM legalized spam by giving bulk advertisers permission to send junk e-mail as long as they followed certain rules

    So um... If they are following a standard set of rules, then logic seems to tell me that someone isn't apply their server side rules to full effect. No?
  • So what's Can-Span (see title of slashdot article)?
  • Oh well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garcia (6573) * on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:21PM (#11541706) Homepage
    A growing number of so-called bulletproof Web host services like Mr. Gillespie's offer spam-friendly merchants access to stable offshore computer servers - most of them in China - where they can park their Web sites, with the promise that they will not be shut down because of spam complaints.

    And this is exactly what we have been saying all along. No matter what laws are passed, no matter what we do to combat spam, the spammers will always find another way to make a buck.

    One of the spammers quoted in the article claimed that he didn't care about the lawsuits... He was making too much money to stop.

    If you're making too much money and they somehow make a law that actually works stick do you think that they are just going to go away? Yeah, I do, to other countries where those laws won't mean anything...

    Keep those firewalls banning entire countries (.kr and .br) and keep banning /16's and /8's until it is gone. The spammers are here to stay.
  • by mgv (198488) <Nospam.01.slash2 ... g ['tma' in gap]> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:21PM (#11541707) Homepage Journal
    I've had this thought for a while, about what can be done about spam, and I have a couple of ideas for the /. community.

    1) Legislate so that merhandise sold using spam cannot legally demand payment (eg via visa/mastercard). Puts alot of pain onto these companies, but also would make it quite unattractive to sell stuff this way if you knew that the money you got could be reclaimed if it was demonstrated that you used spam as an advertising medium

    2) Employ teams of people to respond to SPAM (at a government level). SPAM works because they get a low return rate, but the people who do respond actually buy stuff. Thats what keeps it all going. If we made it so that a decent percentage of the replies were time wasters, the average company would suddenly have to employ lots of resources to deal with false responses. In effect, it would spam them. Suddenly its no longer as cheap to advertise this way.

    Just a couple of thoughts, but I'd love to see what the /. community thinks of these, or if anyone else has any ideas on what to do about spam. (And I don't mean better filters by this).

    Michael
    • 2) Employ teams of people to respond to SPAM (at a government level). SPAM works because they get a low return rate, but the people who do respond actually buy stuff. Thats what keeps it all going. If we made it so that a decent percentage of the replies were time wasters, the average company would suddenly have to employ lots of resources to deal with false responses. In effect, it would spam them. Suddenly its no longer as cheap to advertise this way.

      This wouldn't work as they use a computer system to t
    • I think that's the wrong direction and a waste of taxpayer money. I'd rather see that money be used as the budget for a team following money trails to spammers.

      I think the proper way to deal with spam is to crystal-clearly define it and make it illegal. Then have a division of the FBI that purchases items and follows the money trail.

      If it truly is 90% American companies that are behind the actual products sold in spam this should work.
    • by shic (309152) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:56PM (#11542172)
      Further to your second point, this ties in nicely with an idea I had about unsolicited telephone calls. The bogus calls are very easy to recognise because the caller has no interest in exactly whom they are talking to... I usually wait for a pause, say "I'm not interested" and hang up - but this is a very dull approach.

      I want to hand the call off to an automated time-waster - then set up league tables to show how long a call the automated system could provide. Heck - it could even become a competitive sport! A sophisticated system may 'listen' for keywords and then use them in its responses... but I think there would be great mileage in just asking the caller to repeat what they just said because "the line is bad and I'm a bit deaf..." by feigning memory problems or introducing bizarre non-sequiturs. I know it would be a lot of work - but I think the comedy value of the pay-back would make it all worth-while.
  • by James_G (71902) <james@global m e g a c orp.org> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:21PM (#11541722)
    For what it's worth, the graph of spams seems to mirror quite nicely the spam stats I've been tracking [cracksmokingmonkeys.net] for a couple of years.

    I have to wonder if you can really say that CAN-SPAM made it get worse. To me it looks like there was a brief drop off, and then it resumed the normal climb. Do we seriously believe that a significant amount of spam wasn't sent before CAN-SPAM, because the originators were worried about it being illegal? Seriously?

  • We also expected the volume of spam to increase with or without CAN-SPAM. So what percentage of this current volume of spam actually complies with CAN-SPAM?
  • by kajoob (62237) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:22PM (#11541734)
    Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

    Definition:

    The name in Latin means "after this therefore because of this".
    This describes the fallacy. An author commits the fallacy when
    it is assumed that because one thing follows another that the
    one thing was caused by the other.

    Examples:

    (i) Immigration to Alberta from Ontario increased. Soon
    after, the welfare rolls increased. Therefore, the increased
    immigration caused the increased welfare rolls.

    (ii) I took EZ-No-Cold, and two days later, my cold
    disappeared.

    Proof:

    Show that the correlation is coincidental by showing that: (i)
    the effect would have occurred even if the cause did not
    occur, or (ii) that the effect was caused by something other
    than the suggested cause.

    References

    (Cedarblom and Paulsen: 237, Copi and Cohen: 101)

  • Actually, the chart suggests that the act produced a short-lived decrease in spam volume, after which spam continued to increase at about the same rate as before the law.
    • I wouldn't even give the act credit for the short decrease, as it appears that the level of spam goes through series of decreases and increases but a pretty much overall linear increase in level.
  • by tabkey12 (851759) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:24PM (#11541755) Homepage
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/01/technology/01spa m.html?ei=5094&en=f7486f68b21cb2cc&hp=&ex=11073204 00&adxnnl=1&partner=homepage&adxnnlx=1107278156-1s aospHSGtVgrInqBD7sAg [nytimes.com]

    Article Text:

    A year after a sweeping federal antispam law went into effect, there is more junk e-mail on the Internet than ever, and Levon Gillespie, according to Microsoft, is one reason.

    Lawyers for the company seemed well on the way to shutting down Mr. Gillespie last September after he agreed to meet them at a Starbucks in Los Angeles near the University of Southern California. There they served him a court summons and a lawsuit accusing him, his Web site and 50 unnamed customers of violating state and federal law - including the year-old federal Can Spam Act - by flooding Microsoft's internal and customer e-mail networks with illegal spam, among other charges.

    But that was the last the company saw of the young entrepreneur.

    Mr. Gillespie, who operated a service that gives bulk advertisers off-shore shelter from the antispam crusade, did not show up last month for a court hearing in King County, Wash. The judge issued a default judgment against him in the amount of $1.4 million.

    In a telephone interview yesterday from his home in Los Angeles, Mr. Gillespie, 21, said he was unaware of the judgment and that no one from Microsoft or the court had yet followed up. But he insisted that he had done nothing wrong and vowed that lawsuits would not stop him - nor any of the other players in the lucrative spam chain.

    "There's way too much money involved," Mr. Gillespie said, noting that his service, which is currently down, provided him with a six-figure income at its peak. "And if there's money to be made, people are going to go out and get it."

    Since the Can Spam Act went into effect in January 2004, unsolicited junk e-mail on the Internet has come to total perhaps 80 percent or more of all e-mail sent, according to most measures. That is up from 50 percent to 60 percent of all e-mail before the law went into effect.

    To some antispam crusaders, the surge comes as no surprise. They had long argued that the law would make the spam problem worse by effectively giving bulk advertisers permission to send junk e-mail as long as they followed certain rules.

    "Can Spam legalized spamming itself," said Steve Linford, the founder of the Spamhaus Project, a London organization that is one of the leading groups intent on eliminating junk e-mail. And in making spam legal, he said, the new rules also invited flouting by those intent on being outlaws.

    Not everyone agrees that the Can Spam law is to blame, and lawsuits invoking the new legislation - along with other suits using state laws - have been mounted in the name of combating the problem. Besides Microsoft, other large Internet companies like AOL and Yahoo have used the federal law as the basis for suits.

    Two prolific spam distributors, Jeremy D. Jaynes and Jessica DeGroot, were convicted under a Virginia antispam law in November, and a $1 billion judgment was issued in an Iowa federal court against three spam marketers in December.

    The law's chief sponsor, Senator Conrad Burns, Republican of Montana, said that it was too soon to judge the law's effectiveness, although he indicated in an e-mail message that the Federal Trade Commission, which oversees its enforcement, might simply need some nudging.

    "As we progress into the next legislative session," Mr. Burns said, "I'll be working to make sure the F.T.C. utilizes the tools now in place to enforce the act and effectively stem the tide of this burden."

    The F.T.C. has made some recent moves that include winning a court order in January to shut down illegal advertisi

  • More spam (Score:2, Informative)

    by g0dsp33d (849253)
    Weird, I've been getting less and less. Between my 4 accounts, I only get a few peices of spam a week. And my one account has been used as a spam-sucking email account for online forms etc.
    • Weird, I've been getting less and less. Between my 4 accounts, I only get a few peices of spam a week. And my one account has been used as a spam-sucking email account for online forms etc.

      Yeah, I've been trying to figure this out too. I've got 3 accounts, and 2 never get spam. The third one has some filters set up that eliminates most of the minute amount that is left. I rarely get more than 4 emails a month that I actually have to do anything for.
  • Not quite... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:25PM (#11541774) Homepage Journal
    The figure shows that SPAM increasing rate was more or less the same before and after the CAN-SPAM law.

    Ok, in plain text: It didn't accelerate SPAM. It just didn't do anything to stop it.
  • by KiltedKnight (171132) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:26PM (#11541780) Homepage Journal
    When you try to outlaw it in the US, someone will move it to Russia, China, or some other country that would just love to get the money from someone who wants to buy bandwidth, server space, computing power, etc.

    The only way we'll actually see a reduction in spam is to put true measures in the MTAs such that there is absolutely no way to mask the sender's address or host, and completely disallow any form of relaying. Then, you have to start setting up the MTAs to not accept any mail delivered by older versions.

    Yes, I realize the impact this would have on the internet and e-mail delivery... but if you want to eliminate it, or at least be able to truly identify the sender, this is about the only way to actually do it.

    • completely disallow any form of relaying.

      I know this is not what you mean, but how about making it normal and allowed for mailservers to refuse to transport spam? For instance, a mail from some spammer hits my server and has to be delivered to you. I know it is a spam, so why do I *have* to forward it? Everyone says you have to forward emails becuase it isn't your authority to decide what is and is not spam. That is where this relates - what is your authority to decide relaying is all spam?

      In my opin
  • The only real way to stop Spam is to take action against the companies using these spammers services.

    I realise this might not be the easiest thing in the world to do, given the shady nature of both spammers and their clients but on the whole I would imagine the companies are the kind of companies trading standards etc would be interested in anyway.

    What we need is new laws and investment into shutting down dodgy businesses who feel the need to use spamming and other annoying bulk marketing.
  • by PornMaster (749461) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:28PM (#11541817) Homepage
    Just blocking China and Korean IP space from connecting to port 25 does wonders for reducing spam. See: http://www.okean.com/iptables/rc.firewall.sinokore a [okean.com]
    • I've been tempted to block portions of APNIC space, do this but have been stymied by the lack of a decent reference.

      Is there one?
    • It also does wonders for opening your company up to discrimination lawsuits.

      My company tried blocking China and Korea and we were almost immediately threatened with lawsuits (from our internal users) because we were discriminating against an entire country.

      I hate to admit it, but the users probably were correct in their complaints.

      Quite honestly, I hope they choke on all that spam. :-)
    • For smaller companies and individuals, blocking traffic from these netblocks is a tremendous help. I do it myself, in fact. Unfortunately, for those people and companies who do legimate business with Asia, this isn't really a viable solution.

      And the quest continues.
  • This is the sad state of journalism these days. Why just claim that something had no affect when you can claim it was worse? Oh I know why, because news has become about entertainment instead of informing the public. And since bad > neutral, you get articles like this.
  • by SirFozzie (442268) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:33PM (#11541874)
    That a great deal of the (uninformed) public and the (uninformed/bribed , take your choice) politicians thought this would at least put a dent in spam here in the US.

    Of course, the spammer scum (I know, don't need to add scum, spammer covers it) figure that it's a law for show, which it is..

    The top 10 spammers are responsible for something like 3 quarters of the spam sent. If Only half of those spammers were locked up in jail (where you have to admit they belong, because of their tactics, never mind the UCE itself).. spam would drop noticeably.

    The law needs to be improved. The law needs to have teeth.. and the law needs to chew some big time spammers.

    That's the only thing that'll slow things down.
  • As a bunch of others have pointed out, correlation doesn't demonstrate cause. But more importantly, who cares?

    As a user and a domain owner, the overall volume of spam isn't of particular concern for me. (Obviously ISPs and carriers have different priorities.) If CAN-SPAM succeeds even partially in demanding filterable subjects and outlawing address forgeries, that's far more important to me than whether the total volume goes up or down.

  • Saw this on Usenet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DSP_Geek (532090) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:36PM (#11541917)
    I've been wondering this for a while, and the recent article on Slate - http://slate.msn.com/id/2101297 on the economic logic of executing worm writers - compels me to put pen to electron with the following Modest Proposal:

    Allow me to set forth a number of propositions:
    1) Spam is now 60% or more of all email in the world, and increasing monthly.
    2) The lost productivity costs to industry of dealing with spam is estimated to be from $10 billion to $20 billion yearly.
    3) There are about 100 to 200 spammers behind 90% of the world's spam.
    4) Thus each spammer can be estimated to cost industry globally around $100 million dollars.
    5) The EPA and DOT value a human life at between $3 million and $7 million dollars.
    6) Many people in the United States are underinsured medically. Some of them need expensive medical care they cannot afford, and therefore die as a result. Call the affordability threshold $100,000 to $1,000,000. If major ISPs and corporations could be ironbound to honour their word, admittedly no small task, then one could posit a regime where:
    a) The leading 1000 connectivity consumers place half their antispam spending in escrow
    b) Guido the Fish and Two Finger Tony get hired to smoke the top 100 spam offenders, reducing the need for antispam spending worldwide, and freeing the cash for:
    c) The escrowed funds then get used to save a large number of lives who would otherwise be lost due to pricy medical care.

    At this point, one must ask: What is a spammer's life worth? The economics of the situation means more people get saved than spammers blown away, therefore the sum total is that a greater good is served by the above scheme as more people survive with a higher quality of life than the status quo ante.
  • I recently submitted a complaint about unrequested emails being received, and the sender refusing to stop sending. Got back a nice form letter stating spams a problem, they recommend I delete the spam and simply ignore the problem. My tax dollars hard at work.
  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:41PM (#11541969) Homepage
    Seriously, spam would have increased without CAN-SPAM. There's no way to establish that CAN-SPAM actually contributed to spam increasing. The increase in spam since the inception of CAN-SPAM only shows that CAN-SPAM isn't succeeding in reducing spam, not that it's causing an increase in spam. /.'s editors should at least TRY to write a decent headline, instead of the usual distored, sensationalist bullshit.
  • Spammers never had scruples to actually follow some law to spread their stuff. Not the majority using zombie nets to send from fake addresses and confirming your e-mail address/executing IE exploit when you click an opt-out link.

    It's just the more spam they send, the less likely people are likely to respond, the better spam filters are developed, the more spam they have to send to make money... This will reach a peak and wink out because there would be just no way to make money. Did you see a door-to-door
  • Global Cost of Spam (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Standmic (769361)
    A survey from Stanford University estimates the global cost of spam in terms of lost productivity to be at 50 billion dollars.

    How can this be? Spam is a pain in the ass when I have spend 1 minute a month checking/deleting the contents of my spam inbox, but I don't see how it costs that much money. Yes, I know time is money and even 1 minute of my time is probably worth something, but I just can't see it adding up to 50 billion. I can see companies purchasing spam blocking software, but again, not 50 bil

  • If you want to stop spam, you have to be willing to do the law enforcement on the fraud and illegality associated with spam. Follow the money and you'll start solving the problem.

    As long as you led criminals operate, they'll continue to break the spam laws.

  • ....right, because we all know that correlation equates to causality. In the same vein, the proliferation of the Machintosh is responsible for the rise in autism and velcro caused aided.
  • by lildogie (54998) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:54PM (#11542150)
    CAN SPAM is a good illustration about how hard it is to write a law to solve a technology problem.

    Just keep that in mind when worrying about DMCA, etc.

    Imagine a world where tools like PGP become more and more successful because the corporate/government oppressors are trying to get more control.

    Technologists just want to be free.
  • If non-spam email remained constant, then spam growing from 60% to 80% would mean that spam has more than doubled. A 267% increase. 6/(6+4)=60% 16/(16+4)=80%.

    If non-spam has increased, than spam has increased further by that. Suppose non-spam has doubled, then spam would have increased by a whopping 533%. blah blah
  • by EmagGeek (574360) <<gterich> <at> <aol.com>> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @01:09PM (#11542334) Journal
    I used to get easily 50 or more spams every day at one of my accounts... I implemented spamlist.org and now it's more like 5 or 10. Spamassassin on top of that cuts it to 1 to 5.

    They say that spam accounts for so much lost productivity, but they fail to mention that spam has spawned a whole new race of products and services that keep people employed. The Anti-Spam industry is thriving and contributing to world economic growth. As with everything, spam may be a nuisance, but it does have its benefits. As usual, regular users are caught in the crossfire.
    • by srNeu (559432) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @01:40PM (#11542683)
      They say that spam accounts for so much lost productivity, but they fail to mention that spam has spawned a whole new race of products and services that keep people employed. The Anti-Spam industry is thriving and contributing to world economic growth.


      That's like saying crime is good becuase it keeps cops employed, or that terrorism is good because it keeps the military employed. The point that is missing, is that the net cost of crime, terrorism, and spam typically is greater than the economics of the industries spawned to combat them.

      Yeah, I know, comparing spam to terrorism is a bit of a stretch, but I think the point is valid.
    • They say that spam accounts for so much lost productivity, but they fail to mention that spam has spawned a whole new race of products and services that keep people employed.

      That's the broken window fallacy [wikipedia.org].

      It probably hasn't pushed up overall employment, at best it has employed software engineers instead of other forms of employment, and the end users have lost out with what else they could have bought with that money.

  • I said it once.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by netruner (588721) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @01:11PM (#11542377)
    ...and I'll say it again:

    Spam isn't necessarily bad. It does have a use. If over-aggressive surveilance is something you fear, the camoflage that spam offers should be a comfort.

    Think of all the spam you receive at work that slips past the filters- do you really think that corporate security has the time to manually filter everything else for the inappropriate emails your girlfriend keeps sending?

    I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to think about the implications that stegonography presents.
  • by Nethead (1563) <joe@nethead.com> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @02:05PM (#11542980) Homepage Journal
    This was on the NANOG list some time ago:

    The internet has no government, no constitution, no laws, no
    rights, no police, no courts. Don't talk about fairness or
    innocence, and don't talk about what should be done. Instead,
    talk about what is being done and what will be done by the
    amorphous unreachable undefinable blob called "the internet
    user base." -Paul Vixie
  • Hosting Costs (Score:3, Informative)

    by NilObject (522433) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @06:43PM (#11546135) Homepage
    If your server gets spammed like mine does and you get unsolicited spam like I do, set up a SpamVampire. Check out the one on my site [fallingbullets.com]. (Mad props to this guy [hillscapital.com] for writing it.)

    Running up their hosting costs is an effective means of reducing spam.

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval

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