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Norway Bans Spam 238

nordicfrost writes: "Everyone in Norway has aquired a law-given right to say "no" to spam. This is also happening in other countries like Germany. The spammers have to check that the people they send advertisements to aren't on the "opt-out" list, a list centrally operated by the government's National Data Register. This means that anyone sending me something I haven't requested, faces fines and up to six months of jail time." Recently a spammer got one of my addresses and is spamming me 10 times a day. Forged everything, random everything, many different messages, only a similiarities in the subject line to tie them together. At least I can filter it, but I'd love to see this ass get 6 months of jail time, especially if he's doing this to thousands of others.
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Norway Bans Spam

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  • When spam is made illegal in brand-name countries, it will just move, and you'll start hearing terms like "off-shore spammers" and "swiss spam accounts". If it isnt obvious, this paralles the drug trade, where drugs were made much more profitable.
  • No one will read this because it's pretty far down, but this raises interesting possibilities. Would it be possible to set up a mail server their (web-based, like Hotmail) and automatically add all email addresses created to this list?

    This would be a good way to have a 'safe' email account for emailing friends, collegues, etc. without digging through messages.

    The only issue would be enforcement. In theory this works, but to ensure that the law would still be in effect for such a server, a lawyer would have to look at the law itself. Basically, do you need citizenship?
  • Well, Well, Well, long time no viddy, old droogie SPAM! I am going to have to dissagree with laws against spam. You see, if you do not punish EVERYONE for unsolicited advertisements then NO ONE should be punished for it...period.

    I know everyone that reads this will agree that spam sucks, telemarketers suck, and stupid pointless snail mail advertisements suck, get over it...Life sucks.

    And who in this forum can back up claims that spam is like a DoS. I have never had any bog downs, loss of service or anything of the sorts from being the target of spam, nor has any of my friends, nor have I ever heard of such a thing other than those who's only purpose with the internet is to kill spam. Please give me a break, delete the message, and go on with your life. People who run mail servers choose to have an open relay.

    All I am trying to say is this: Don't punish people for spamming, if you do then punish EVERYONE for advertising to people who don't want it. As far as spamming costing ISP's money and so on, hey that's part of your service, delivering email and so on...get a life.

  • I agree. I personally think they've got it backwards. The National Data Registry (or whatever it was called) should keep an opt-in list. If anyone wants to receive spam, they just sign up for it.
  • This guy's article is about the most flawed thinking I've ever seen concerning spam (apart from the spammers themselves).

    If you want to check it out, look at: the article [] (safe browse mode via It won't be long before this guy gets kicked off his ISP for violation of his TOS, and giving out your home phone number to spammers (especially when there are sooo many reverse lookup systems out there) is suicidal.

  • The sentiment that people should 'never reveal their identity in a newsgroup' is ridiculous. It harkens back to the BBS times I remembered. I belonged to a bunch of social BBSes. We played softball every weekend in the summer. But people would go into a panic if anybody spoke somebody else's 'real name' at the barbeque afterwards.
    It's not about identity, it's about email. My identity is known whether I'mposting on Usenet or here, my main email address however isn't.

    My mailbox which collates a number of addresses currently is about 70% spam. This is only because my previous (soon to be destroyed) address was listed on Usenet, web pages, NIC databases and so on.

    Needless to say that my current address will never be listed anywhere. I use sneakemail addresses while I setup a complete DNS and MX and will use temp addresses after that. Any temp address that gets spammed more than 5 or ten times gets dunked.

    Oh and I contact, call, protest, and generally make myself a nuisance with any spammer I can identify. Spam may not be officially illegal (there's no law but there are numerous "recommentadions" against it) in France, however owning a database of personal information without prior declaration is illegal. Spammers do not declare their databases and I can therefore log formal protests against them.

    Pity it doesn't work with the ones from the US and Japan though.

  • The flaw in your reasoning is all contained in one sentance near the end:
    We live in a free society
    We do. The Chinese do not. The difference is that in the western world it is an offense to send somebody a junk fax. In China it is an offense to criticise the government using a fax machine, to somebody you know.
    Hey guess what? A dictatorial government lied to cover up the introduction of a law preventing opposition from organising. Nothing to do with spam.
    And I'd point out that you no longer get faxes from people sending you adverts, and you've got more ink and more paper in your fax machine as a result. Also, you can use your fax machine, as it doesn't start trying to print another ad whenever you plug it in. I think that's a bonus, and the definition of Junk Fax seemed to work.
  • Most of the government regulation of personal lives comes from conservatives. They are the ones that are pushing for the government to regulate and/or outlaw abortion. They fight against needle-exchange programs so that drug addicts don't spread HIV. The conservatives are the ones that launched the whole "War On Drugs" and have fought for mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related convictions.

    I think your point is highly debatable. I agree with you that conservatives are the ones pushing for government regulation of abortions. But it is more typically liberals who are pushing for government regulation of smoking. Liberals also push for laws to restrict your 2nd Amendment rights. Further, they are constantly advocating laws to control how you may use your own personal property. Both groups advocate taking large portions of your personal income to spend as they see fit. And both groups are equally strong in their support for the War on Drugs. One of the few truly liberal groups that is against the WoD is the Libertarians.

    Conservatives tend to support laws based on traditional Judeo-Christian morality: laws against abortion, laws against homosexuality, laws against adultry, laws against what your body may ingest, etc. "Liberals" tend to support laws based on New Age morality: laws against smoking, laws against guns, laws against your use of your own property, laws against freedom of association, etc.

    Both groups are equally culpable in the regulation of our personal lives. Again, the Libertarians are one of the few groups honestly advocating getting government regulation out of our personal lives.

  • You can screw spammers easily
    just follow the link in my sig. for details

  • what kind of a dumb-ass are you? If you tell your local post office to repackage ALL envelopes...

    Hey dumb fuck, my cell phone has an e-mail address. I don't have to forward anything. If e-mail is sent to that address, it appears on my phone. Because of spammers, I dare not give that address out -- but what right do spammers have to render useless a feature included with my cell phone service?

    You also act like the spammers have a right to waste my time by making me set up filters and compression so that I can access my own e-mail. Maybe your time is worthless, but mine is not.

    By the way, Mr. Wizard, do you know that your ISP is passing the costs of spam on to you and every other subscriber?

    (try using exim and its filter forward rules)

    I use VAMP (Very Advanced Mail Processor). Exim only runs under Unix/Linux and that's not what I use on my mail server/firewall/ftp server/etc. machine.

    P.S. If you are so skilled at filtering your e-mail, why doesn't your e-mail address appear with your posting?

  • I used to get the same kind of spam, and I had to drop cypherpunks because of it. As it turns out, sneakemail can prevent this kind of spam by allowing only mail from a particular domain (the list domain) to arrive at the mailbox. On the whole, I am very impressed with their system.
  • Heh, we must be on different lists. I get all the "How to Make $80,000...", but never get the teenage girls or college degrees. In fact, lately the only thing I get that ISN'T tools for creating more spam is cable converters or satellite dish ads. All word-for-word identical, from some random email address routed through Japan or Korea.
  • The first amendment (free speech) is one of America's most basic tenets; something people do not take lightly. That's why you can still buy Nazi memorobilia, KKK literature, etc. It's generally accepted in this country that limitations on speech are very damaging, and should only be applied in extreme circumstances.

    Limiting any kind of electronic communication could quickly become a slipperly slope, and free-speech advocates would most likely fight this (even though it would mean having to deal with spam).

    There is a noticable difference between "Free Speech" and spam. I can walk away from Free Speech. I don't have to listen. And if the speaker continues after me, it becomes harrasment, which is not constitutionally protected.

    Spam, on the other hand, cannot be as easily avoided. Yes, I can block certain e-mail addresses, or just redirect them to trash, but I have to continually update that, or I get swamped. And some mailer don't have that option. Hotmail, for instance, only allows you to block 50 e-dresses, last I checked.

    Spam is not free speech...
  • In WA there is a law on the books: if you spam someone who is on the opt-out list they can sue you for $500 per infraction. Check out
    It's tough to enforce on anyone who doesn't live in Washington though. I know that a guy in OR was taken to court but I'm not sure how it ended up.
  • Let say it takes 3 seconds to process each item of spam in your mailbox. The spammer has just wasted 3 seconds of your time. No problem, right?

    Spammer has sent this spam to 1 million people, wasting 3 seconds of each of thier time...
    Thats 3 million wasted seconds, or about 37 days.

    How would you feel if the spammer kidnapped you and held you for 37 days? Thats exactly what he is doing, only its distributed among a million people.

    I think 6 months in jail for a 37 day kidnapping is not enough.
  • Most e-mail servers will always put who the message is being sent to when it's being processed. Look in the headers at the 'Received:' lines. At the end, you'll likely see 'for: ' bits. Sendmail, at least, does this.
  • There are plenty of books [] and reports about how today's economy is based on Human Attention. With advertizers working to capture eyeballs and telemarketters clamoring for your ear, it's no wonder that, as a human race, we must develop tools and rules for Attention Management.

    As a personal rule, I do not accept telephone solicitation. For many, filtration software is a needed tool for communication sanity. Too often, the Attention Market has you at a disadvantage, ready to commit you to a purchase, legally obligating you to a recorded whisper of "okay." Meanwhile, you often have no such record of their verbal promises, if you have need of committing them to rendering services. And while Spam on email at least gives you written record, the company's credentials are often every-bit-as-nebulous.

    If nothing guarantees success like having Human Attention lavished on a project, then does Love indeed make the world go around?

  • I have some familiarity with Norway, living rather near (Finland). One interesting thing is that they don't use curse words. If someone uses them, he/she is considered foolish. They don't, for example, translate curse words in movie subtitles. Therefore I am not very surprised that it was Norway that did this sort of thing first. I hope the rest of us will follow soon.

    The Tale of the Frantic Shapeshifter
  • haven't you understood it yet?!?!

    6 months for spam is the attitude of a fashist state, you dumb jerk.

    You grand slashdotters are always complaining about losing your digital freedoms and electric tolerance all but evaporating...
    These new digital freedoms are grand for us users, but hell for the conventional industry, since they fear losing revenue (warez, mp3z, bookz, moviez)... that's why they're pressuring for new laws that'll change this stuff from petty delicts to high-cost crime for the perpetrator.
    Of course we all bitch about that, right.

    But if you're suddenly on the losing side of the new grand digital order, and are "being taken advantage of" by getting spam, then SUDDENLY it's:

    • "Give those damn spammers SIX MONTHS!"
    You dumb jerk, your grand additude leads to exactly the same kind of goverment attitude:
    • new laws and less tolerance on and in everything digital or networked

    (it's just SPAM, for crying out load, you want somebody to go to jail for SIX months for spam!?!? YES, I'm am all for fining the guy, but not for incarceration)
  • How is it proven that a company whose product is advertised in spam is the originator or even a conspiritor in sending the message out? Motive certainly isn't sufficient. It seems like they will have a hard time prosecuting companies who take the extra step in assuring plausible deniability before ordering (I have no recollection of that senator) unsolicited mailings.

    What seems even more interesting though is that, were the government to take a really strong stance towards prosecution, "fake" spam campaigns would become that much more effective in damaging a company.
  • Partial translation

    Be careful who you give your email address. If you participate in news groups, mailing lists or competitions on game sites, you are in the danger zone.

    "Spam" is the term for unwanted ads to your email box. Spam (pronounced "spæm") got its name from an old Monthy Python joke, where a bunch of vikings interrupt in the action singing "Spam, spam, spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam.

    This spam is mailed by more or less ruthless business people hoping to sell services and merhandise. The method is flooding your mail box with offers.

    Illegal in many countries
    Spam is illegal in many countries, and on the 1st of March Norway will get one of the strictest regulations in this field, as will Denmark, Finland, Germany, Austria and Italy. A new and more EU-adapted law of marketing becomes effective, and prohibits advertisements via email and SMS (text messages) unless the consumers have given their consent in advance.

    Companies violating the prohibition, will have to deal with the Forbrukerrådet (Consumers' Directorate). The reactions for breaking the new law of marketing are definitely harsher. One risks having to pay expensive tickets or having to serve up to six months in jail. Or both.

  • The trouble with that position is, it assumes there has to be cost involved with spamming. As long as it's possible to hijack someone else's account for spamming, or use a throwaway account while paying a flat rate, the cost is effectively dumped onto the recipients. That is the whole _point_...
  • at least in Denmark. It is part of the marketing law, which regulates what you can do to advertize your products. One of the rules is that you cannot take direct electronic contact (email, fax or phone) with individuals for the purpose of sale without their prior agreement. At least in Denmark, you are still allowed to spam people with "Jesus loves you", and you are still allowed to spam companies with adds.

    With regard to your friend, your prior contact with him would probably get you free, you are not selling anything so you would not be covered by the law, and finally, it is not criminal law in Denmark, so you would not get in jail (even though spammers should be shoot).

  • Is email even an appropriate way to do such a thing? I think it's possible that the uses of these various internet resources are up for re-evaluation. Currently, the mailing list is considered unarguably fine, and there's an expectation that under certain circumstances you can slam strangers with email- email 10 strangers and it's not even an issue, email 10,000 and it may still be seen as legit, email 10,000,000 and it suddenly becomes spam and is obviously out of line. The question is, where's the line?

    Maybe the future is more about web sites, boards like Slashdot etc. and less about 'commercial email' or even 'this is very important to you' email.

    I know that if every single political fringe, environmental activist group, union, whatever that I AGREED WITH AND SUPPORTED felt free to send me email whenever something happened in the world that interested me, I would STILL BE BURIED in email and my email account would be unusable. I can't overemphasise this. It's not about my consent or interest in what's being sent, it is about the fact that the world contains more information than I can process, and always will. In this light, mass mailing of _any_ sort is a disturbing mechanism to me, because it always keeps the potential to go right off the scale and become impossible volume.

    I think it's time to redefine email as 'private communications only'. There's no way to consider it a public resource without causing trouble. I can have an email account on my web page about Stratocasters, but this doesn't mean that everyone who sells Stratocasters can proceed to email me about what _they_ want to sell. The trick with the internet is that one aspect to the loss of privacy means that sellers can research and identify potential buyers: in the future ten thousand people a day can research what I really want and need, and then email me entirely personal letters asking me to buy something that I specifically want. That doesn't change the fact that ten thousand emails a day is still impossible, unmanageable... the ability of the world to produce RELEVANT information is far greater than the ability of a person to process it.

    THAT is why spam is a crime. In a peculiar way it is more akin to rape than theft. "You _are_ going to love my special offer now! Your attention belongs to me now. Don't try and get away!"

  • > The defining requirement about spam is its unsolicited nature.

    So you're saying that if I see your posting on /., and I send you private mail to say I liked it, I've spammed you, since you didn't solicit my opinion?

  • Good to hear they are doing their job.

    If your list is tainted, possibly because its opt-in procedures allow or once allowed abuses, why not throw it away and begin assembling a new one? It sounds like your list is tainted.

  • I entered my PN in the list yesterday, you don't have to enter any e-mail adress. You enter your personal number (Social Security number for you americans), and choose from a list what you don't want to recieve. The options are:
    • Telemarketing
    • Faxes
    • E-mail
    • SMS messages
    • SnailMail
    • Direct mail

    The companies are forced to check their lists for a certain time before they send the spam, and have to remove any matching names permantently from their records.
    The link is here:
    If want any charitable orgs to continue bothering you, there's an option that will let them, but not any profitable orgs, continue sending you spam / call you etc.
    You may very well hide it, but deep inside I know you Americans envy us the right to jail a telemarketeer... :o)
  • Try this one: [] It's in Norwegian, could be a problem...
  • How does Norway plan to enforce its spam ban when the spam is created outside of Norway?

    if a person in Brazil, or more likely, Malaysia, sends you spam, and it's not illegal where he sends it (which it's not in both those countries), wha's Norway going to do? Hold its breath until it turns blue? Extradite you (oops, Brazil doesn't have extradition treaties) and charge you with a misdemeanor?

    what is Norway's definition of spam? is it generally accepted and legally unambiguous?

    it's great they're banning spam. i'm all for it. Now -- how do you enforce the ban? Especially since almost all of norway's spam starts somewhere other than norway?

  • how does the RIAA get a norwegian kid arrested for decss? how does a french court prevent from auctioning off nazi memorabilia?

    it's nice to see though. someone has been harvesting recently and about 70% of my spam is addresses to my ebay spamtrap. grr...

  • Six months of jail time? That seems more than a little extreme to me. Fines would be much more suited to the crime.

    Yes, I get spam too, and yes, I hate it too, but realistically, the bother of having to delete some extra emails every day does not deserve the same kind of punishment as, say, rapists, car thieves, bank robbers, etc. The world's prisons are crowded enough.

  • This much appreciated endorsement of Sneakemail was not solicited or sanctioned by the management of Sneakemail in any way.


    All shameless promotion of Sneakemail on /. comes only directly from me.
  • > There is a noticable difference between "Free Speech" and spam. I can walk away from Free Speech.

    Tell that to the doctors and patients at abortion clinics that are harrassed and abused by Operation Rescue under the claims of Free Speech.

    chuq (this posting self-moderated to -1:flamebait)

  • No, there are however a certain health risk telling blond jokes in a country where 90% of the population are blondes.
  • > they can find them all on a government provided
    > list!

    I don't think the Norwegian government provides such a service, I suspect anyone can set one up. Someone else refered to the Norwegian phone company.
  • There is more than enough organization and technology in place to prevent mass abuse of spam without government intervention. The grey areas are places we probably don't want a government arbitrating. What if a friend signs you up to a mailing list? What about mass political mailings that are of immense informative value? What if a company is limited in their competitve tools to fight entrenched near-monopolistic companies and mass, unsolicited email messages is one of their only options? Do we really want to vest this kind of regulatory control in a government that could potentially abuse it?

    If there were no feasible way for the private sector to regulate itself, regulation might be worth considering. However, that is not the case. Upstream providers can filter mail, refuse to route packets from offending domains, use tools such as ORBS to block mail, etc. That's not even getting into personal efforts to deal with spam.

    And, if all this fails, a person can use the civil courts as a last resort to arbitrate particularly offending cases.

    Getting the government involved is usually a bad idea, because once they have the authority, they never let go. Everybody should take seriously Thomas Jefferson's admonition that government governs best which governs least.
  • The spammer would just leach addresses from the list.

    One solution, endorsed by CAUCE [] is to instead rely on a "NO UCE" banner added to the mail server's banner. This has some obvious drawbacks (it's not per-user and requires administrative intervention).

    A slightly better solution for an opt-out list (I won't argue the merits of opt-out versus opt-in) would be a list of the MD5 hashes for each email address. The downside would be that this would prevent regular expressions to handle any and all valid variants of an address. One partial fix would be to require that the spammer query a number of variants of a given address. For example, if the address were "erasmus@foobar.invalid", we could require that the query both "erasmus@foobar.invalid" and "@foobar.invalid" for MD5 matches.

    A slightly different alternative would be a query-only list maintained by a trusted party. So internally the list might have "erasmus(\+[^@]*)?@foobar\.invalid" but all the spammer would get back would be a "do not spam this address" when they attempt to query "erasmus@foobar.invalid", "erasmus+foo@foobar.invalid", and so forth. The downside is that this requires a central authority that can be trusted with email addresses (not too hard) and is extremely competent with security (much more difficult).

  • so could somebody provide a rough (even just a partial) translation or the article? I don't think Altavista knows Norwegian.
  • by ajs ( 35943 )
    Check out SpamCop [] for a great way to help deal with spam. SpamCop is free to use, but you can also sign up and pay them money.

    Really, paying them money is to support their work, but you also get a spam-free email forwarding service where gets forwarded to your favorite mail drop without any of the spam (which they do a very good job of filtering).

    I'm using now as my primary "public" email address for things like slashdot and USENET, and it works pretty well.

    Their spam reporting service is very cool. It tracks down the ISP of the spammer, submits the IP address of relays to ORBS, and also tracks any URLs in the spam body. Plus, ISPs who play ball with SpamCop can mark accounts as deleted and otherwise feed back into the system to reduce their request-load. Such things can be appealed by paying SpamCop users, but for the most part, ISPs are pretty good about it.

    For the record, I'm just a customer.
  • The spammer would just leach addresses from the list. Who said spammers have morals?
  • by spectatorion ( 209877 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @04:57AM (#504871)
    Spam is certainly very annoying, but is it sacrificing too much of our Internet Freedom to let governments fine and even jail people for spamming? I mean, everyone always talks about freedom on the Internet, keeping it unregulated, etc. Why should this be different? This is a huge regulation. Who is to say exactly what spam is? And what would prevent the state from jailing me for sending a friend an unsolicited email about a product i recently saw and thought he might like to buy? A little far-fetched, I admit, but this just seems like a dangerous road to go down. I say turn the filter on and keep government out of the Internet.
  • As soon as I get a piece of garbage email, as long as I happen to be around, I check the originating IP in the headers. Usually, within a few runs of "targa2" or "pimp", I'm satisfied and their machine is running Checkdisk. :)

    - A.P.

    * CmdrTaco is an idiot.

  • Warning: I don't speak/read/understand norweigan.

    Does anyone know if this legislation covers email redirection? If so, does anyone know of a good norweigan .no redirection service that doesn't add any special header or footer to the messages?

    All browsers' default homepage should read: Don't Panic...
  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @04:58AM (#504877)
    All the free speech concerns aside, this stilly has some pretty scary implications. What constitutes spam? Is it unsolicited commercial email? Is it harrasment? Or will this turn out to be abused in much the same way the (very necessary) sexual harrasment laws have been?

    Does anyone have an Eigo translation of this article so that we can get the specifcs? The fishy don't do Norweigan.

    "Sir, you're under arrest for spamming your coworkers."

    "But they *asked* me to send them 'The Big List of Blonde Jokes'! Honest, officer!"
  • Your list of blonde jokes would not be covered by the anti-spam law, however annoying these kind of emails are.

    The article isn't very specific, unfortunately. The Danish law is pretty specific, and leave out a lot of cases that are usually considered spam, such as non-commersial UBE, and UBE directed at companies rather than individuals.
  • IAAL, and, let me tell you, international litigation (even just finding and serving folks) is so costly and exasperating that I'll be surprised if they go very far toward doing it, except for very extreme cases.

    And what is this about opting in and opting out, anyway? I think what we're seeing is that the email protocol is just too trusting and open-ended for the current net environment. I mean, lots of sites will tell you I 'opted in' to receive their junk and a bunch of others', and, if I don't believe it, I can go back and [find and] read the small print that was hovering closeby when I tried to download something or other. It would seem that we're constantly letting other people define 'consent to receive spam' for us.

    Disposable email addresses are the way to go -- by this I don't mean a hotmail address or something like that, but, rather an address that is only good for x uses. My favorite site for this is [] (free and ad-free) because the addresses are created as used -- this means there's no maintenance on the site, and, theoretically, you'd never have to go back to the site unless you changed your forwarding address, or whatever. The psychology behind this is that taking control of my inbox away from the spammers has to be easier than receiving and deleting one piece of spam, and I have to perceive this fact at that critical moment when I'm signing up for something...

    From the faq:
    Q. How do I create a disposable email address?

    A. First, set up an account here, if you haven't already, and save your real email address in the space provided (don't skip this important step!). Remember your username. Later, when you need a disposable email address, just think of a word (any combination of letters and numbers (20 characters max), provided you haven't used it before), and decide how many messages you want to receive at the new address. Then, put the word, the number, and your spamgourmet username together with dots to form the disposable address. For instance, if your Username is "spamcowboy", then you could make a disposable address like so:
    Then, you can use the address to sign up for your favorite spam-prone website, get a confirmation message, get your password in the second (and final) message, then smile and consider for a moment that no one, no-how is going to send you email with that address again.

    Please note: This service summarily deletes any message that doesn't pass muster with the forwarding rules, rather than preserving it for future viewing -- I love this!, but you may prefer something that saves your spam -- you may have to put up with ads or small payments to accomodate the higher cost of saving the spam, though.

  • The price is too high. I hate spam just as much as the next guy. But this solution is worse than the problem! Government registry of personal email addresses! Do you understand what this means? Have you thought it through? Is preventing spam the legitimate role of government? Does it even come close to being legitimate?

    Spam is an annoyance. Government registration of internet users is the foundation for technotyranny. I'll gladly put up with the former to prevent the latter.
  • You are a troll, a spammer, or an idiot. You think that abuse departments at ISPs have no cost. You don't know the difference between bandwidth (e.g., streaming video) and storage. You seem to think that additional spam requires no additional resources other than bandwidth. You don't understand the difference between filtering e-mail and hiding your address. You think that it's fine to be inconvenienced by having to set up filters, hide your e-mail addresses, use mail forwarding accounts that further reduce the speed and reliability of e-mail, and then pay higher ISP charges so that the spammers can do this to you.

    Go away and read your spam. It's not like your time has any value.

  • I simply can't see how you can justify medieval punishments like flogging for a few little emails, which can be blocked, filtered, or deleted quite easily by anyone with a modicum of technical knowledge.

    A lot of these idiots do get past my filters, and my filters also screen out legitimate messages. It's not that easy to filter out everything. And I am a "tech head". BTW, what about the people who are not ? And what about the ISPs whose bandwidth (that the users pay for) is wasted by the spammer ?

    In other words, anyone who is enough of a tech-head to care is quite capable of blocking spam.

    It's not just the "tech heads" who don't like being spammed.

    The marketplace of ideas has come up with multiple solutions, therefore frivolous laws are not needed.

    Well, one could argue the same thing with home security and breaking and entering laws.

    services like hotmail, yahoo, etc. can institute their own filters as a service to members. Again, the marketplace has provided.

    No, it hasn't. No filtering system is perfect.

    There is no reason to put an entrepreneur simply trying to promote his e-business in jail with hardened criminals.

    Those who abuse the resources of others without conscience are nothing more than common criminals.

    [ crackpot communit conspiracy rant snipped ]

  • Conservatives tend to support laws based on traditional Judeo-Christian morality: laws against abortion, laws against homosexuality, laws against adultry, laws against what your body may ingest, etc. "Liberals" tend to support laws based on New Age morality: laws against smoking, laws against guns, laws against your use of your own property, laws against freedom of association, etc.

    First, let me say that yours was a very well-written and argued post. I do think that there is an important distinction to be made between liberal and conservative regulation of personal freedoms:

    Liberals tend to limit personal freedom to protect others from things like secondhand smoke and gun-violence.

    Conservatives pass laws to impose their religious and moral beliefs on others.

    The latter is indefensible in a society that purports to have a separation of church and state.

  • Are blond jokes illegal in Denmark?
  • There is [].
  • #1, it is opt-in, not opt-out (despite what the submission text says).

    #2, what is the problem? Political spammers are just as bad as any other kind of spammer, and deserve to be shoot.

    In any case, enforcement is unlikely to be an issue. Only Norwegain spammers are really covered by the law, and the main effect of the law will be that a nice letter will make them stop, without the need to involve law enforcement.

    #3, please reserve your paranoia for US politicians, and in any case, who cares about their motives as long as the do the right thing (as in this case).

    BTW, in Denmark we already *have* an opt-out system for unadressed junk snailmail, it has worked well for years. We also recently god an opt-out system for direct snailmail, and I haven't received any since I opt'ed out.

  • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @05:38AM (#504911) Homepage Journal
    I mean, everyone always talks about freedom on the Internet, keeping it unregulated, etc. Why should this be different?

    This is not "different." In fact, it is much like a denial of service attack in that it can paralyze smaller ISPs and companies when they serve as the inadvertent origin, relay, or forged "From:" domain for spam. It is also like many forms of computer fraud which are already illegal. Spammers go to great lengths to forge and mask sender information, routing information, and even web page addresses in their spam. While recipients are seldom left helpless by it, it drastically limits the way that they can use the Internet. Many will not use real addresses in Usenet postings, put a link to their e-mail address on web pages, or otherwise publically publish their e-mail address for fear of being deluged with spam.

    Take the case of someone who wishes to forward his e-mail to his/her cell-phone. Spam has basically made this impossible, as spammers send huge, complex HTML messages on a regular basis. Add to that the interruptions to the recipients day as the phone goes off for one spam after another and you have a situation where a person cannot receive their e-mail in the manner that they want.

    Lastly, it is theft. In the case of e-mail delivered to cell phones, it costs the recipient for each received message. When people pay for Internet use by the minute or byte, it costs them money for each piece of spam received. In this way, it is no different than the already illegal "junk faxes."

    We already have legislation to protect us from other computer crimes and adding spam to that list is long overdue.

  • As one that runs several legit mailing lists, the only thing that concerns me about spam regulations is exactly the definition of spam. If it's simply "unsolicated email", then that can harm more than hurt -- what if someone who I've never talked before send me comments on a web site or a similar feature. I never solicated for those comments, so theorhetically it's spam by the simple definition above. Make things worst: say that one of the people on my legit mailing list decides they don't like me anymore and live in a place that punishes spammers -- they can claim that mailings from my list are spamming them, and I'd be punished with no way to stop it.

    Nor can you simply add "unsoliciated email advertizing" , as I've seen spam that is generally a plea for help, though poorly targeted and still going through the classic spam patterns. The content of the message does not guarentee it being spam.

    And of course, you can't simply add how headers and recieverships might be hidden or such, because there are spammers that actually follow proper protocols -- they don't stay very long at one ISP, mind you, but they do continue to spam.

    I think that any spam punishment provision must include the fact that if the person attempted to out-opt and yet recieved the spam from the same people after a sufficient timeframe passed for the opt-out request to be processed (2 weeks), then if they are spammed again, then the penalties start. This would allow those that run mailing lists, for example, to be free of concerns of ruthless subscribers, as well protecting casual one-time emails, while most spammers, who'd refuse to prune email lists, would be caught pants down.

  • As we all agree that it will be hard to enforce a ban on spam, i see some problems with this.
    1. If there really is a public opt-out list available on the list, it helps spamers getting email addresses.
    2. Every law that can hardly be enforced potentially leads to ambiguity. Investigations will not be done for every spam mail, instead investigations will start with unpleasant people. Thus for a crime done by thousands of people only a small group (e.g. activists who spam a political essay) will be imprisoned.
    3. It is ridiculous to assume that the goal of politics is stopping spam. I still get about 2kg (4.4 pounds) of snail-mail spam a week. It would be easy to enforce a ban on it, and it could save me a lot more time compared to saving 1 second dedicated to deleting an email.
      I suggest 2 other explainations:
      • They just want to show that they care for the "internet generation".
      • They try get into regulating the internet, getting a long list of potential internet-delinquents.
    I think people are so much concerned about spam, because they feel watched. They get email from a website, that they wanted to deny having accessed.
  • I don't think spam is a large problem.

    "Spamming is the scourge of electronic-mail and newsgroups on the Internet. It can seriously interfere with the operation of public services, to say nothing of the effect it may have on any individual's e-mail mail system. ... Spammers are, in effect, taking resources away from users and service suppliers without compensation and without authorization."

    -- Vint Cerf, Senior Vice President, MCI and acknowleged "Father of the Internet"

    Sorry, but I'll take his opinion over yours any day.

    From the (Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail) web site:

    Recent public comments by AOL are a useful point of reference: of the estimated 30 million email messages each day, about 30% on average was unsolicited commercial email. With volumes such as that, it's a tremendous burden shifted to the ISP to process and store that amount of data. Volumes like that may undoubtedly contribute to many of the access, speed, and reliability problems we've seen with lots of ISPs. Indeed, many large ISPs have suffered major system outages as the result of massive junk email campaigns. If huge outfits like Netcom and AOL can barely cope with the flood, it is no wonder that smaller ISPs are dying under the crush of spam.

    If you don't like your ISPs slack policy of dealing with spammers, choose another. If none exist, then the problem must not be that bad.

    That's like saying "Unless you can find a store that has completely eliminated shoplifting, it must not be that much of a problem." Like stores, ISPs are businesses. They balance costs against revenues and savings. It is prohibitively expensive to either ignore spam completely or to filter out every bit of it. The most cost-effective solution falls somewhere in-between. The difference is that stealing from a store is illegal while stealing from an ISP is not (and would not be if you had your way).

  • The way I'd do it is as follows. All advertising sent over the Internet, solicited or not, must have the option attached in some manner to not receive advertisements from that company at any future date. Whether this is via a Web form, replying to an e-mail with specific commands, or whatever does not matter, so long as the option exists.

    Such laws are completely ineffective. Firstly, why assume opt-in and force users to opt-out ? I would have thought that most users would prefer opt-out, so it seems to make a more sensible default.

    I can also see problems with the opt-in thing though. One problem would be how to decide what is and isn't spam. I often get unsolicited email that is written to me personally (sometimes job offers from publishing companies for example), and I certainly wouldn't want the senders charged. I would propose that for a spammer to be charged, several complaints should be brought against them. (in other words, it really has to be bulk mail for action to be taken)

    I propose that for email to be spam, it should satisfy the following:

    • The same message text should be sent to several recipients (possibly in different messages)
    • Several complaints (say at least 10) should be brought against the spammer. This is one way to verify the above item.
    • The messages should (obviously) be unsolicited.

  • Spam is certainly very annoying, but is it sacrificing too much of our Internet Freedom to let governments fine and even jail people for spamming?
    Your "freedom" ends where my mailbox begins, got it? If you have something to say that you feel is so important, try using one of the following places to do so:
    • A freebie website from Geocities, etc.
    • An appropriate Usenet newsgroup
    • An appropriate IRC channel
    • An appropriate web based discussion board or mailing list
    E-mail is, and will continue to be a person to person medium, not a broadcast medium regardless what the DMA [] might tell you.
  • You've failed to use spamcop.

    Here's what you want to do:

    1. Unblock the mail
    2. Follow the URL in the spamcop messages
    3. Follow their instructions for a) noting that the problem has been addressed and b) sign up as an ISP and set your domains' abuse email addresses appropriately.

    SpamCop sends email to you only when a) you have not registered a given URL or from-email address as being spam-free or b) someone with a spamcop account appeals your assertion. Since you've never bothered to feed back into the system, they keep pestering you (and rightly so).

    I discovered spamcop as an "ISP" who got mail from them, and I joined because I love the way they deal with complaints (even those directed at me).
  • by Parity ( 12797 )
    I cannot believe the moderation that this troll has gotten; people have been moderating down natalie portman naked and petrified with grits and honey for so long they don't recognize a real troll, I suppose. (Clue: thinly explain parallels that claim 'this is just like commies' or 'this is just like nazis' are either Trolls or Fanatics.)

    Anyway, the reason this whole post is not worthy of its rating is that, a) we passed the unsolicited fax law in the U.S. and we have not yet joined the communist bloc, if there even -is- a communist bloc anymore, and b) we have lots of laws like 'do not steal' and 'do not speed' but we don't tag everyone with remote transmitters to enforce those laws. Neither does outlawing UCE necessitate that we will pass laws to monitor every computer. If you're worried about it, join the EFF to make sure privacy issues are watched in any anti-spam legislation.

  • The approach I would like to see is forced disclosure of spammers. People should not be allowed to spoof their identities when sending mass email. Once the spammer is tracked down, the authorities should start a record, something akin to shoplifting, which is not as severe as jailtime, but probably deterrent enough for spammers to think twice. Think of it as the scarlet letter of the online world. ISP's will refuse the spammer service for being a spammer.

    Also, ISP's should be allowed to sue individuals who use their services for spam. Network bandwidth usage, and spoofed domain names cause monetary damage to ISPs' business.

  • The Norwegian authorities were tripping over themselves to hand over the guy who wrote DeCSS; I reckon the US State Department owes them a couple of spammers in return.

  • The spammer would just leach addresses from the list. Who said spammers have morals?

    Even if this were an opt-out scheme, how would that benefit them? I once added my address to a public list of addresses which did not want spam -- the hope being that spammers would remove these addresses from their mailing lists by their own free will. That project didn't really get anywhere, and I'm assuming that's down to spammers just being lazy.

    However, I got one mail that said "Hah! You put your name on a list of people who don't want spam -- fools, can't you see spammers will use this list and you'll get even more spam". That doesn't make sense to me: spam is a form of advertising. Legit advertisers go to great lengths to reach as targetted an audience as possible. Why would a spammer go out of their way to get a load of addresses for people who are virtually guaranteed to be unreceptive, hostile, or even litiginous?

    What I'd really like to know, though, is this: spam is very common. Is it therefore profitable? I honestly can't say I've *ever* recieved spam containing a tempting proposition.
  • Spam is annoying. I expect to delete as much of it these days as I receive in real mail. At last count, I have been spammed in 7 or 8 languages, some of which I can't puzzle out even a single word of. It uses bandwidth, wastes disk space and takes up my time.

    But I will not concede to any government the right to determine what can and cannot be considered unwanted e-mail. When the intent is clearly something that would be criminal when done by other means, such as death threats, fraudulent stock scams, etc., certainly those should be illegal. Consider how far anti-spam legislation may go. Do you want to jail time for a message like this:

    To: Not Yet Clueful Newbie <new-b@domain>
    From: Open Source Hacker <hacker@lug>
    Subject: Come to our meeting next Thursday

    Hey, I'm the Linux zealot you met at the
    bookstore Saturday. Since you were local I
    just fingered the local ISPs for someone with
    your name. Are you interested in coming to
    our Linux Users' Group meeting next Thursday?

    I shouldn't have to consult a lawyer to determine the legality of every action I take.
  • by viktor ( 11866 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @06:10AM (#504951) Homepage
    When translating the article, "opt-in" and "opt-out" have been mixed up.

    Opt-out means that I have to send my address to a register in order not to receive spam. Sweden has this system, and it does not work well.

    Norway has chosen an opt-in system, which means that I have to actively request the advertisement from the spammer. If they can't show that I've requested the mail, they are acting against the law.

    The translation mentions opt-out, which is wrong.

    Norway's new law also covers advertisements sent via SMS, the instant messaging service in the GSM mobile telephone net.


  • Unfortunately here we've got the minor issue of the first ammendment. Bothersome thing. Makes it very difficult to pass any laws dealing with this sort of thing. It would be ironic if one of the bigger banes of the Internet found the last hospitibal country to be the one that brought forth the net in the first place...

    There are some federal laws wrt. do not call lists and all though. I wonder if you could get something like this through here. It'd be a lot easier to prove the spammer was intentionally breaking the law if there were a single federally maintained do not call list...

  • by John Murdoch ( 102085 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @06:15AM (#504953) Homepage Journal


    Everybody hates spam. Everybody thinks spam is a pain in the neck. Everybody thinks spam should go away. And those inclined to expect the government to do everything for them will--not surprisingly--tend to expect the government to protect them from spam.

    Which may be a good thing, except for one little detail. If the government is going to protect you from "spam", the government is going to define what "spam" means. And you may not be happy with that definition--because as sure as the fact that the sun is coming up tomorrow, any government is going to figure out a way to protect itself with its definition of spam.

    Remember "Junk Fax"?
    Back when fax machines first appeared it didn't take office supply companies, delis, and a horde of other advertisers to figure out that they could send you virtual flyers with a local phone call--substantially cheaper than paying for postage.

    Lots of people objected to junk fax. Lots of legislators climbed on the bandwagon--junk fax came to be viewed by politicians as an easy target: nobody was in favor of (euphemism) "unsolicited commercial fax."

    Then a funny thing happened--except that it wasn't funny at all if you are old enough to remember watching it on CNN. Students in the People's Republic of China staged a demonstration in Tianamien Square in Beijing that quickly became a serious challenge to the authority of the Communist Party. At first the authorities dismissed this as an annoyance--but as the protest continued, the government got more and more scared. The government ultimately crushed the protest with tanks and machine guns--no one in the West knows yet how many students were killed.

    What was significant about the "uprising" was that the Chinese government was right about one thing: the PRC kept insisting that the protest was being directed by "outside agitators". They were right--Chinese dissidents, in the U.S. as graduate students, were directing the protests across China from an office in suburban Boston--via fax. The PRC finally figured it out, and blocked phone traffic from the Boston area--but they never figured out concepts like call-forwarding, etc. The students were able to communicate with very little restriction right up until the end.

    In the aftermath, the Communists decided that "the people" needed protection from "unsolicited fax". They required every fax machine to be registered. They enacted laws spelling out draconian punishments for unregistered fax usage. They tried their damndest to prevent anybody ever doing this again.

    Now the Internet is here.
    And try as the Chinese Communists might, they're having a tough time preventing people from getting information. The PRC has worked diligently to block access to foreign news sites, foreign chat sites, etc.--especially anything published in Chinese. I'm certain that one dimension of the PRC's reported enthusiasm for Linux is that they can be certain that the U.S. doesn't have a trap door in their computers--and that they can install a trap door of their own. (Somehow, I'm sure the PRC will--what a surprise!--forget to distribute the source code of their distros.)

    But they can't block e-mail.
    I have mail in my in-box from a young Chinese man. He and his wife are deeply fond of my mother--she and my late stepfather helped them escape from China in the immediate aftermath of Tianemien Square. They are still actively in touch with friends and relatives back in China--by email. And if the need ever arises, they can maintain those communication links: through open relays; through "anonymizer" relays; through throwaway accounts--in short, using exactly the same techniques as the spammers.

    We live in a free society--with the advent of the Internet our freedom of expression and (if only virtual) assembly are practically limitless. It doesn't work that way everywhere in the world. There are places in the world where defaming the Imam earns you a fatwa--a price on your head. There are places in the world where refusing to pledge allegiance to the Dear Leader and embrace the "scientific truths" of Kim-Il-Sungism means that your family doesn't get food rations, and is left to starve. There are places in the world where billions of people are "protected" from "unsolicited fax" and other such dangers.

    Those places all have governments that would be more than happy to "protect" their citizens from "spam."

    Yup. Spam is an annoyance. By golly, I have to press that Delete key four, sometimes five times a day. And I'm sure that having the government decide what email I can see, and making sure that I only see "unsolicited" mail from people they approve of, will make my life so much more enjoyable. So much more buoyant--so much more vibrant--so much more liberating. At least, right up to the point where I want to send or receive messages the government doesn't approve of.

    Thanks, but...
    For me and my household--we'll just use SpamCop [spamcop.nettargetblank], and the Delete key.

  • Nice troll.

    - A.P.

    * CmdrTaco is an idiot.

  • There must be some kind of regulation already, or why don't we get pornographic junk snail mail, or at least ads for such material?

    Some of the spam that winds up in my inbox is stuff that I certainly would not want my future children to see until they're old enough. I don't want to receive it myself, but I know to it, and then delete it. Just recently I received something along the lines: "If you are under 18, delete this message. If you're not, then click this link for a ***** licking good time with ****** girls who *****". I find it personally offensive, but the thought of my future children seeing it makes feek sick. How the hell am I supposed to try and keep that crap away from them? I could filter all their incoming email, but I'm sure some stuff will get through. I could personally screen, but then that would be an invasion of their privacy. However, this won't work for email addresses beyond my control. It's no wonder sensorware is springing up all over the place. This is something that only the government can help us with.
  • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @12:00PM (#504961) Homepage Journal
    There is more than enough organization and technology in place to prevent mass abuse of spam without government intervention.

    Then why does it remain such a large problem?

    What if a friend signs you up to a mailing list?

    It should not be possible for someone to sign you up to a mailing list without you having to return a confirmation e-mail.

    What about mass political mailings that are of immense informative value?

    What is of "immense informative value" to you might be radical nut-speak to me. I don't want Rush Limbaugh, Ralph Nader, and Jerry Falwell deciding that I need to receive their e-mail because of its "immense informative value."

    What if a company is limited in their competitve tools to fight entrenched near-monopolistic companies and mass, unsolicited email messages is one of their only options?

    I hope that you are kidding with this one. Are you telling me that every company that releases an office suite to compete with Microsoft Office has a moral right to spam the net?

    Do we really want to vest this kind of regulatory control in a government that could potentially abuse it?

    I would much sooner entrust this control to democratically elected representatives than to trust in the judgement of the greedy, unethical people who now bombard us with spam.

    If there were no feasible way for the private sector to regulate itself, regulation might be worth considering. However, that is not the case. Upstream providers can filter mail, refuse to route packets from offending domains, use tools such as ORBS to block mail, etc. That's not even getting into personal efforts to deal with spam.

    If you operate a business, you cannot tolerate a mail system that blocks the ORBS-listed systems. Your customers don't care about the fact that the ISP that supplies their company Internet access also has an open relay used by some spammer in Taiwan. The technical solutions don't work.

    As to my "personal efforts", I have spent about $100 in e-mail filtering software (please, save the Linux/GNU/GPL/Open Software speech for another thread). I have spent countless hours dealing with spam, sending complaints, setting up filters, doing traceroutes, whois lookups, and IP block lookups. I can't distribute my cell phone e-mail address. I have to sift through filtered spam on a weekly basis to make sure that the filters did not inadvertently catch a message that was not spam.

    And, if all this fails, a person can use the civil courts as a last resort to arbitrate particularly offending cases.

    That's the whole reason spam works. If a spammer steals one penny from each of 1 million people to pay his advertising costs, he will have stolen $10,000, but no one person has suffered enough of a loss to take legal action.

    The Internet does not have to be the wild west. Laws that extend our basic sense of values into the digital domain are perfectly reasonable. Junk faxes are illegal for the same reason that spam should be -- much of the cost of the advertising is borne by the recipient. Why not make spam illegal?

  • Or course, this is rarely sucessfull since most spammers don't disclose recipient lists (I'm assuming they just BCC everyone) so I rarely see the address used to get to me, but it works every now and then.

    Postfix has a Delivered-To header that will tell you what mailbox it was delivered to, so even if it's not in the headers, since it was in the envelope you'll know.

  • by PD ( 9577 )
    forward your spam to the e-mail address

    You will get a reply back that will allow you to parse headers and send a complaint with just a couple clicks. Try it, and you'll never go back to reading headers yourself.
  • Over time, I've seen quite a few people talk about their mail bouncing techniques. Invariably, these people have scripts for UNIX mail programs. Is there anything for Windows? Ideally, I want something that works as follows:

    * Operates as either a plugin for my mail client (Netscape), or more preferably:
    * Operates as a local POP3 server, thus any mail client can use it.
    * Can be configured to grab mail from multiple POP3 servers.
    * Can utilise ORBS/MAPS
    * Will allow me to review my email before accepting it. Any suspect emails to be placed in a separate list which I can check for bouncing as if the email address were invalid. Perhaps integration with, although they alreasy provide similar services.
  • Certainly not my idea, but one that's been repeated here by many others before: If you are running your own mail server, create email aliases for accounts that are used on the web (see my address above, for example) that all point back to your normal account. Not just for sites that would publish your email, but those that don't, such as NYT. Make sure they are sufficiently different for each one so that you can tell exactly which email address, and therefore what site was used to start the spam. Do note that some sites can't help it -- /. is prone to email harvesters for example, but there's no way that a normal email harverster is going to get the email that I use at NYT or Amazon since it's not posted on any content page there at all. However, if *they* sell that email address to others, then you have a way to track that down. If you find that in this latter case this happens, it's easy enough to change the alias to drop everything in /dev/null or some alternative mail folder that you can check and purge periodically as opposed to seeing crap in your main in-box. If you are so inclined, you can simply delete the alias, and the spam will just bounce off your mail server.

    IMO, this works much better than munging your email address, as the fake address does work (as opposed to having a legit email sender try to figure out how to demunge your munged address), and it's rather easy to turn off the mail feed for a particularly spammed account.

  • I use:

    The Spam Bouncer [], a procmail script to identify incoming spam and either tag it, move it to a different mailbox file, or bounce it.

    SpamCop [], to file official complaints about the spam that gets through.

    Sugarplum [], to stick lots of irrelevant fake email addresses (and the addresses of other spammers) up on my web pages. If spammers want to harvest addresses from MY pages, they're going to fill up their databases with useless data and end up spamming each other.

    And finally, Web Ad Blocking [] is a site which provides a new 'hosts' file which redirects major web page ad sites to, which removes a whole lot of banner ads from web pages.

  • by Werail ( 237604 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @05:50AM (#504970)
    Full translation, the wording may not be perfect, but it's a long article and I'm not going to bother reading it yet another time.
    Stop the e-mail adds.
    By: Jon Martin Larsen

    From now on, in Norway, nobody are allowed to send advertisement to your e-mail, unless you let them. Of course, it requires more than an EU adjusted law to stop the flow advertisement on the internet.

    RECIEVES SPAM: Jan Ingvoldstad (28) are a student doing his main subject in computer science, and he recieves between thirty and fifty spam mails per week. Last weekend he got 17 such messages.

    Make sure you trust who you give your e-mail address to. If you participate in newsgroup, mailing lists or competitions og gaming sites, then you are specially vulnerable.

    The unsolicited mail which are sent to your e-mail are refered to as Spam. It has gotten it's name from an old Monthy Python sketch, where a bunch of viking constantly interrupts and sings Spam, spam, spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam.

    The spam is distributed by more or less unscrupulous businesspeople which hopes to sell services and product. And their way of doing it is to fill your e-mail.

    In many countries this is allready illegal, and from the 1st of march will Norway have one of the strictest regulations in this area. Other countries are Denmark, Finland, Germany, Austria and Italy. A new marketing law which is more suited to EU becomes operative and makes it illegal to send advertisments through e-mail or SMS (Short Messaging Service) unless the consumers has given their explicit permission up front.

    Anyone that breaks the prohibition, will explain onesself to the consumers ombudsman. the sentences in the new marketing laws are also a lot stricter. You now risk getting large fines or up to six months in jail. Or both.

    Norwegian companies and companies who markets themselves in Norway can be held responsible if they send you spam, provided you haven't explicitly requested it up front. "The consumer gets more power." concludes chief information officer Anne Nyeggen in the Data Inspectorate. "The new marketing law overlaps and surpasses the personal information law(NOTE: In Norway, it's hard getting personal information and you also need clearance for keeping databases) when it comes down to rights, and it results in a much stronger protection against advertisments and sales through e-mail and SMS."

    "We think this is a kind of marketing that enters into the private areas, and thusly we think the recipients should give their permission in advance", says Harald Hilton. He is counceler in the consumer branch of the Children and family departement.

    Some companies are allready following the lines of the new law. These are mainly compaines that operates partly or completely on the internet. One example is the new telephone directory on the net. You have to register to recieve information, and the e-mail address are your user name. The service is closed to accomodate the demands from the Data Inspectorate demands about protecting private information and to hinder abuse.

    This means you have to identify yourself to get access. Telenor Media have been given permission to verify your identity by requesting your social security number and checking this against the national register. You are also explicitly asked if you want your e-mail to be available to others, both for private and for businesses. You are also specifically queried about if you wish to recieve unsolicited e-mails.

    But Norwegian law does not govern the internet. When you are surfing the net, you have to watch out. If you find you are being massively spammed, it might be because you were careless.

    When you are surfing on the net, you can easily be tempted by offers and links. You're surfing along, maybe downloading an image and you click on another link.

    Don't be surprised if someone has a small data mining script on one of the pages. Such a program would attempt to gain access to your e-mail address through your browser. The address is stored, then sold, and sold and sold to everyone that wants it. And that's how you get offers from the strangest places about all kinds of weird things.
  • I do this now since every single mail send to any address in my domain is forwarded to my one 'main' address. I usually fill out froms with emails such as or with the intent of finding out just who is leaking my name. Or course, this is rarely sucessfull since most spammers don't disclose recipient lists (I'm assuming they just BCC everyone) so I rarely see the address used to get to me, but it works every now and then.

  • I lived in the Cayman Islands. It would be a horible place to spam from. (forged headers may be another thing). The only ISP granted by the government is the telco Cable and Wireless. Dialup is per minute. (CI not US$) There was no Fiber to the island when I lived there 4 years ago. The entire island was on 3 128K sat lines. Long latency and SLOW transfers are the norm. It would take forever to send any good sized spam batch. If you want to check the link speed, surf in. The Telco web site is The rates are

    Base Price per month $17 for 10 hours Cost for additional hour $2.90 per hour

  • Free gift? I'd hate to have to purchase a gift someone is giving me.
  • by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @06:22AM (#504980) Homepage Journal
    According to SPAM® and the Internet [] from
    We do not object to use of this slang term to describe UCE, although we do object to the use of our product image in association with that term. Also, if the term is to be used, it should be used in all lower-case letters to distinguish it from our trademark SPAM, which should be used with all uppercase letters.
    Rob, please change the topic icon before you get sued.
    Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? []
  • Neat way for the government to get a complete list of national email addresses.
  • Who said spammers have morals?
    Goes right along with the Rules of Spambotics: 1. Spammers lie. 2. When in doubt about spammer lies, see Rule 1. 3. Spammers are stupid. Also, what about all the spam that comes in from other countries? How will a single national jurisdiction have any impact on spam sent from outside it's borders? I'm in the US and feel that since a majority of spam originates from USA dialups, either state laws or a single federal law with the same penalties as the Junk Fax law (USC47.5.II.227) would have a significant effect on the spamload. However, it does nothing to combat spam sent from places like Brazil or Argentina (another small source of my spamload). Here's to hoping something happens in the US along these same lines. Rich
  • It's interesting that there are steps afoot to outlaw electronic spam already, after all the www is not that old.

    Dude, get a fscking clue! WWW is not the Internet. E-Mail dates from the early '70s.

  • by citizenc ( 60589 ) <> on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @05:05AM (#504999) Journal
    Sneakemail [] is a free service that you can use to generate disposable email addresses.

    From their website:
    These "sneak email" addresses are aliases of your real address, which is kept hidden.

    You can enter these Sneakemail addresses into web forms or use them to contact e-businesses without the risk of your real address being abused or bought and sold.

    Consider each Sneakemail address as an informal agreement between you and an online business or organization.

    You agree to allow them to contact you through this address, and they in turn, by accepting and using this address, agree not to abuse this privilege by sending you unwanted solicitations or to give or sell your address to others.

    The best way to understand Sneakemail, if you don't know the technology involved, is with a telephone analogy.

    Imagine you discovered that, due to a technical error, the phone company freely gave you a new phone number whenever you asked and didn't revoke the previous number. If you kept asking you would accumulate a bunch of phone numbers that all went to your one phone line. You realized that, if you could find a phone that showed the number somebody was using to call you (reverse-caller-id?) you could do something very useful.

    Every time you needed to fill out a credit card application, or a store clerk asks for your phone number, you would give out a unique phone number obtained just for that purpose. That way, if you start getting calls from telemarketers at that particular number you could call up the phone company and tell them to disconnect it. Not only do you succeed in stopping the annoying calls, but you know who gave them your number.

    Sneakemail works just like an unlimited supply of phone numbers and a "reverse-caller-id" phone, except, of course, the phone numbers are sneakemail addresses, which you can create freely, and the special phone is your inbox. [] - Neat.

  • SpamMotel [] is similar.
  • Oh, and the difference between junk snail-mail and junk email is who pays for it.

    The sender pays for junk snailmail. YOU pay (in increased ISP costs, and -- for europeans -- connect time) for junk email.
  • Spamcop is useless to the other side. My company sends mass mail to an opt-in list, but every time we run the list, several subscribers forgot they signed up, and send stuff to spamcop, which in turn forwards the complaint to our abuse address, our upsteam's abuse address, our sidestream's abuse address, our neighbor's abuse address, the abuse address for any vendors we buy equipment from, and our CEO's dog's abuse address (a little exaggeration there, but you get the idea :).

    Problem is, Spamcop REDACTS the complainant's email address, so we are totally in the dark about who wants to be removed from our mailing list! Fat lot of good that does anybody!

    Spamcop messages are now blocked at our incoming relay. They are useless for getting people off of mailing lists who don't want to be there.

  • Interesting. A whole website devoted to SPAM, the luncheon meat. Who would have thought? Like I'm going to have that urge in the middle of the night to look up for my cravings.

    Too bad there isn't a dedicated site for Hershey's Chocolate Syrup (tm).
  • ...The spam-banning is a very good idea, but it has to be implemented very carefully, so as not to tread on freedoms.

    The way I'd do it is as follows. All advertising sent over the Internet, solicited or not, must have the option attached in some manner to not receive advertisements from that company at any future date. Whether this is via a Web form, replying to an e-mail with specific commands, or whatever does not matter, so long as the option exists.

    Once a user opts out, they are sent one final message confirming this, as a sort of receipt so they can prove that they opted out. If the company ever sends them advertising over that channel again, they can be held liable for harassment.

    Another possible implementation of this would instead require all direct-marketing advertising to be opt-in; a company may not send advertising to someone who has not previously given his or her explicit consent. This one leaves more of a bad taste in my mouth, though; it has the potential to set some rather nasty precedents.

    A third approach would be to ban direct-marketing outright, on the grounds that it is necessarey to violate a person's privacy in order to obtain the requisite data. This one's only arguably good, though. It's true that no speech is actually being banned (you simply have to resort to mass-marketing techniques in order to say it, in the case of advertisements), but again some very dangerous precedents could be set here.

    The fact is, we do have a right to free speech, and this is a Very Good Thing. But we also have the right to not be harassed, and that's basically what spam does. It's all about striking a good balance. I'm not sure what the ideal balance is. Anyone else have thoughts on this?
  • ...allowing the government to be a spammer too!
  • by Per Abrahamsen ( 1397 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @05:08AM (#505023) Homepage
    This is an implementation of an EU regulation. Norway is not a proper EU member, but is a member of the broader EFTA group, and tend to implement EU regulations even more than most EU member.
  • We all know what spam is. It's unsolicited email. The headers are hacked. The people doing it are clueless. Many of them are criminals who are just out to make a fast buck. No one will ever convince me that this is a legitimate way to make money. Some days I think these fsckwits deserve a good public flogging - something that alarms my normally liberal sensibilities, ie., something is wrong here.

    The government is necessary in some instances of life to instill a sense of control. The constant blathering about freedom on the internet will lead to the death of the beast unless we realise who we have to protect ourselves from (the bloody corporations who are trying to take over the net). The government protects citizens from unscrupulous telephone solicitation, so why not expect the same for spammers?

  • Don't forget that SpamCop [] can help with spam (although it appears down ATM), while [] can aid tracking down spammers.

    There is also an article on The Register [] about Europe considering a ban on spam.

    I've [] also got a collection of Spam resources [], along with details of WIndows spam prevention [] and details of spam filters [].

    Richy C.
  • by Per Abrahamsen ( 1397 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @05:12AM (#505032) Homepage
    The submission text is misleading, you have to explicitly opt-in in order to get spam.

    Denmark has a similar law, allthough it only covers UCE, not UBE, since it is part of the marketing law. We also have an opt-out system for snailmail, including a central list for direct snailmail.
  • by AirSupply ( 210301 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @06:35AM (#505036)
    To the extent that I've used RADIUS protocol, the "reverse caller ID" thing is called DNIS (Dialed Number Incoming String, or something like that), although this might be a vendor-specific term. It's also called "Called-Station-ID", as opposed to "Calling-Station-ID" which is what we call "Caller ID" in common parlance. Needless to say, the ISP I work for actually uses these numbers to determine different classes of service. In principle, it allows you to give a busy signal to one number whilst allowing another number access, because you can actually get access to this info before you tell the other end whether you are willing to accept the call.

    That would be great to have at home, wouldn't it? You get a range of 100 telephone numbers, and you can assign them how you like. Based on the incoming number (and the caller ID too, if you like) you can give an engaged signal, direct to a screening service, have the phone ring with one of several identifying tones, etc. The possibilities are endless! Pity it's only available on ISDN-like connections, and usualy only the really high bandwidth ones. Still, sooner or later...

    But this whole "identifying marks" thing is something you can use in a broad sense. I'm one of the privileged many (many on Slashdot at least) that can create new email addresses at whim because I have one or more domain names and administrative control over the mail for that domain. But how about physical mail addresses?

    I use a PO Box, of course, but that doesn't stop companies sending me junk. But what I make a policy of doing now is tainting every postal address I'm obliged to give out. The address for a PO Box is very short, and it usually gives me one spare line to fill in with irrelevant data. I use this to fill in a "care of" address. Thus, if I'm obliged to give my postal address to because my employer gave me credit there as a Christmas gift, I tell them that I'm "Air Supply, c/o C.D.Overmeyer, PO Box blah blah etc". The "C.D.Overmeyer" guff is enough to remind me who I gave that address to, and to write "return to sender" on unpoened envelopes to that address if they start spamming me postally.

    As an aside, the most annoying junk mail I get in my PO Box is the stuff that the Post Office puts there, having accepted money from someone else to do so. I think if I'm paying for the box I should be able to say no to this, but I've yet to take it up with the staff. In the meantime, I hurl said junk back through the PO Box onto their floor. Why should I put their junk in the bin for them? Always aim for the bottom line. If everyone did it, they might at least ask us all whether we wanted the junk in the first place instead of stuffing it straight in.

    I hate spam, in all its forms.

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2001 @09:05AM (#505044)
    >But they [the Chinese gov't] can't block e-mail.

    In my more paranoid days, I agree with a thesis I saw on

    Briefly, the thesis is that the best way for the PRC's government to control email use is to get themselves firewalled by the rest of the world.

    It would explain the complete negligence I've seen on the part of the admins of open mail relays in .cn. The more spam that comes from .cn, the more likely that "the rest of the world" will simply add any .cn host to their DENY lists.

    It won't stop you from telling your Chinese friend what's going on... but it will stop him from mailing you. And that's a big win from the point of view of the PRC government.

    (Me? I bounce Chinese-relayed spam with "550 - Free Tibet" or "550 - Falun Gong thanks you", followed by a random set of characters. Makes the relay operator sweat, confuses the PRC gov't. Win-win.)

  • The submission text is misleading.
  • If you get spammed by someone sitting in Taiwan, how do you sue him? (Assuming you can track him)

    Even if US and EU banned spamming, what would be the result?

    Small spamming companies would be founded in Cayman Islands, I guess.

  • Spam is certainly very annoying, but is it sacrificing too much of our Internet Freedom to let governments fine and even jail people for spamming? I mean, everyone always talks about freedom on the Internet, keeping it unregulated, etc. Why should this be different? This is a huge regulation. Who is to say exactly what spam is? And what would prevent the state from jailing me for sending a friend an unsolicited email about a product i recently saw and thought he might like to buy? A little far-fetched, I admit, but this just seems like a dangerous road to go down. I say turn the filter on and keep government out of the Internet.
    The defining requirement about spam is its unsolicited nature. Did I ask you to send me that ad that you thought I might be interested in? Do I even know you? I would think that if I know you, I'd certainly make an exception if you send me an ad you found to be interesting. I'd also bet that being that I already know and respect your opinion on some things, I'd not consider your email spam.

    However, consider the facts concerning current spam: It's usually from some unknown source, complete with forged envelope headers, sent from some free ISP using dialups via open relays on the Western Pacific Rim. Is there any question about the label UCE on messages that fit this criteria?

    As I said earlier, make an antispam law similar to the Junk Fax law, where the complainant can sue in small claims for $50 per message ( would owe me about $1000 right now) and give ISP's the legal right to charge cleanup fees. Make it so that it begins to cost spammers money to send their garbage and you'd see the spamload die a slow, horrible death.


As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.