QuickLinks - Junk mail (spam)
QuickLinks - Junk mail (spam)
Junk mail (spam)
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Issue no. 405 - 24 January 2010
EU - Europe's spam war hits stalemate
Europe's ISPs are just about holding their own against the global spam barrage, a Europe-wide report has found. Put another way, things are not getting better, but are not getting any worse either. Judging from the 2009 ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency)
spam survey of ISPs
across 27 EU states, ISPs spend substantial sums trapping spam before it gets to the end user, mainly because they have to to keep customers. Small providers spend at least 10,000 Euros ($14,100) fighting unwanted messages, while large companies will exceed seven figure euro sums to do the same.
Issue no. 403 - 24 November 2009
AU - Would-be spammers given $16m warning
Fines totalling almost $16 million were handed down to two companies and three individuals in the Federal Court in Brisbane for breaches of the Spam Act. The scheme involved using dating sites to procure mobile phone numbers, and then sending unsolicited text messages. The landmark case brought by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is the first court action against people sending unwanted text messages.
FR - Le gouvernement donne 32 000 euros pour lutter contre le spam
La France s'est dotée en 2007 d'une plate-forme nationale de signalement de pourriels, appelée
. Selon la Cnil, elle compterait aujourd'hui 50 000 utilisateurs inscrits qui lui auraient adressé plus de 17 millions de signalements. L'association Signal-spam, partenariat entre pouvoirs publics et acteurs privés, est financée par ses membres. L'Etat vient de lui renouveler son soutien financier, d'un montant de 32 000 euros.
Issue no. 402 - 18 October 2009
EU - More action needed to fight spammers and protect online privacy, says Commission
The European Commission has repeated its call for EU countries to do more to tackle online privacy threats to the public. A Commission-funded study found that although in recent years several EU countries have taken some measures to enforce Europe's ban on spam, including fines for spammers, the number of prosecuted cases and sanctions imposed on lawbreakers vary considerably. The study confirms the need for the legislative improvements proposed under the reform of the EU's Telecoms rules: clearer and more consistent enforcement rules and dissuasive sanctions, better cross-border cooperation, and adequate resources for national authorities in charge of protecting citizens' online privacy.
Issue no. 390 - 20 July 2008
Spam fighters lay down gauntlet
New guidelines for how internet service providers should combat spam have been published. The advice, from the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) recommends ISPs use separate servers for received and forwarded e-mails. It also recommends ISPs block the port - known as port 25 - through which spam travels.
Issue no. 388 - 1 June 2008
US - MySpace wins bumper spam payout
MySpace has won a $234m legal judgement over junk messages sent to members of the social networking site. Victory in the case was awarded to MySpace after Sanford Wallace and Walter Rines, the men behind the junk mail, failed to show up in court. The judgement is thought to be the largest ever given against senders of unsolicited commercial e-mail. However, anti-spam experts said MySpace had little chance of getting the cash it sought.
Issue no. 379 - 2 September 2007
US - How MySpace brought down a spammer
MySpace.com is well known as a social-networking service that allows members to create unique personal profiles online to find and communicate with other people. But did you also know that MySpace is actively trying to root out spammers? In a lawsuit in federal court, the company alleged it was the victim of an abusive scheme to disseminate commercial messages and solicitations to MySpace users. The defendant was ordered not to access or use the MySpace Web site to transmit any electronic messages. The court said he could not establish or maintain any MySpace profiles or accounts. What's more, he was ordered not to use MySpace for any commercial purpose or to refer to MySpace in connection with any unsolicited electronic communication in any way that suggests that the message is affiliated with the company.
Issue no. 376 - 10 June 2007
FR - Ouverture d'une plate-forme nationale de lutte contre le spam
L'association Signal Spam a lancé depuis le 10 mai une plate-forme nationale de signalement de spams. Une initiative dont l'objectif est de lutter contre le spam en répertoriant toutes les variantes de ces messages non sollicités qui polluent les boîtes mails, avant éventuellement d'engager des poursuites contre leurs auteurs. La plate-forme peut recevoir jusqu'à 1 million de messages par jour, qui seront transmis aux autorités compétentes susceptibles d'engager des poursuites, comme la Cnil, la police nationale ou la gendarmerie. Les données sont également transmises aux FAI afin de les aider dans leur lutte contre le spam.
Internet Engineering Task Force approves antispam technique
Spammers, phishers and other Internet bottom-feeders, be warned. A key Internet standards body gave preliminary approval on Tuesday to a powerful technology designed to detect and block fake e-mail messages. It's called DomainKeys Identified Mail, and it promises to give Internet users the best chance so far of stanching the seemingly endless flow of fraudulent junk e-mail.
Issue no. 375 - 9 May 2007
New Technology Aims to Bore Impatient Spammers
For spammers, volume is king; the more e-mails sent advertising penny stocks or miracle cures, the higher the odds that someone, somewhere will open the message and buy the "product." Thus, the spammers focus on sending as many unsolicited e-mail messages as possible in the shortest amount of time. MailChannels of Vancouver, Canada, found that by forcing e-mail programs to wait a few seconds before being allowed to communicate with Internet servers handling the recipients' incoming mail, most spammers give up and move on.
Issue no. 373 - 11 March 2007
UK - Firm 'ordered to pay spam costs'
A British company has been ordered to pay damages for sending spam. Gordon Dick took Transcom to Edinburgh's Sheriff Court for sending an unwanted advertising email, which he claimed was a breach of anti-spam laws. He was awarded £750 in damages plus legal costs of £616.66 through a "decree in absence" after Transcom did not appear in court. But a spokesman for Transcom denied any intentional wrong-doing, and stated: "We are not spammers."
Issue no. 371 - 28 January 2007
EU - International Spam fighters discuss strategies in Brussels
The European Commission has hosted a two day meeting of international spam fighters in Brussels. Authorities and stakeholders from all over the world discussed how to win the fight against spam, as well as other on-line malpractices that threaten both citizens and businesses.
UK - Microsoft wins ruling to ban spam list sales
Microsoft has stopped a man from selling lists of email addresses which were being used for spam. A court in England has granted a summary judgment against Paul Martin McDonald, stopping him from selling the lists.
Spam on the rise with new breeds
Researchers and IT managers are complaining that spam levels have risen significantly in recent months - some organizations have reported increases as high as 80 percent. Overall spam volume has increased 67 percent since August 2006. The new spam evades traditional spam filters because it doesn't include any text - instead, it uses an image embedded in the body of an e-mail to deliver its message.
Issue no. 370 - 3 December 2006
EU - Commission Communication - Fighting spam, spyware and malicious software
The Commission has called on all regulatory authorities and stakeholders in Europe to step up the fight against spam, spyware and malicious software. Despite existing EU legislation to outlaw spam in Europe, Europe continues to suffer from illegal online activities from inside the EU and from third countries, the Commission underlines in a new Communication. The Communication stresses that although internet safety is on the political agenda for some time, national authorities should step up their actions to prosecute illegal online activities
Why spam is out of control
Noticed a lot more junk in your inbox? Danny Bradbury reports on the increasingly sophisticated methods being used to pump out millions of unwanted emails.
Issue no. 369 - 5 November 2006
Anti spam Spamhaus decides to fight first US court action
Anti spam organisation Spamhaus will recognise an Illinois court's authority when it fights a $11.7 million order against it. Previously the London based not-for-profit had argued that the court has no jurisdiction over it. The company has filed papers with the Illinois court room saying that it will fight the case brought against it by email marketing company e360insight. E360 claims that it is a reputable email marketing company and sued Spamhaus because it was put on the 'blocklist' which Spamhaus operates in order to identify spammers and keep their messages out of inboxes.
Issue no. 367 - 23 September 2006
Spam fighter hit with $11.7 million judgment
The nonprofit group behind a popular blacklist used to block spam has been hit with a multimillion-dollar judgment, but the order may not be enforceable. A U.S. District Court ordered that Spamhaus must pay $11,715,000 in damages to e360insight, who sued the U.K.-based organization earlier this year over blacklisting.
UK - Microsoft sues British spammer for Hotmail breach
Microsoft has won what it described as the largest reported civil award against a spammer in Europe. The software giant says it won a court order requiring spammer Paul Fox to pay £45,000. Rather than pursue a case under Britain's limited anti-spam laws, Microsoft filed a complaint that Fox had breached the terms and conditions of its Hotmail service.
Issue no. 366 - 3 September 2006
Spammers manipulate stock markets
Spam messages that tout stocks and shares can have real effects on the markets, a study suggests. E-mails typically promote penny shares in the hope of convincing people to buy into a company to raise its price. People who respond to the "pump and dump" scam can lose 8% of their investment in two days.
US - Michigan prosecutes spammers to protect kids
The State of Michigan is bringing criminal proceedings against two companies that are accused of sending spam to children to promote gambling and alcohol. Attorney General Mike Cox is bringing the actions under the State's Child Protection Registry Act which requires email senders to check the registry to remove children's email addresses before sending messages advertising goods or services that children cannot legally buy.
Issue no. 361 - 23 May 2006
The Fight Against V1@gra (and Other Spam)
(New York Times)
Advances in e-mail filtering techniques mean that most computer users no longer face a paralyzing crush of junk messages, but spammers have hardly given up.
Issue no. 359 - 9 May 2006
OECD - Task force on Spam Anti-Spam "Toolkit"
Spam, once a mere nuisance, has become a serious problem for individuals and businesses alike. To support the development of an inclusive and coherent answer to the spam issue, the OECD, through its ad hoc Spam Task Force, has launched an Anti-Spam "Toolkit" as the first step in a broader initiative to help policy makers, regulators and industry players orient their policies relating to spam solutions and restore trust in the Internet and e-mail. See also OECD
Recommendation on Cross-Border Co-operation in the Enforcement of Laws against Spam
Issue no. 358 - 21 April 2006
AU - ACMA registers internet industry code on spam
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has registered a code of practice for internet service providers and email service providers on countering spam. The code was developed in support of the Spam Act 2003 by the Internet Industry Association in conjunction with the internet associations from Western Australia and South Australia.
Issue no. 357 - 26 March 2006
Are Spam Blockers Too Strict?
America Online's controversial plan to charge mass e-mailers a fee to bypass their anti-spam system highlights the other, lesser-known, horn of the junk-e-mail problem: Filters that allegedly work too well. At issue is the problem of 'false positives,' industry-speak for legitimate messages mistakenly filtered out by anti-spam software.
EU - UK is worst in Europe at enforcing email marketing laws
The UK, Malta and Portugal are the most spineless European states when it comes to penalties for getting email marketing wrong, according to new research by a European law firm. There has been no enforcement action to date in these countries.
ITU - ISPs should be liable for spam says UN report
Efforts by governments to counter internet spam by tracking down and prosecuting spammers have had limited impact and require far more resources than most countries can muster, the United Nations telecoms agency warned. It says in a report that while all countries need anti-spam legislation so that spammers have nowhere to hide, a more effective approach would be to require the establishment of enforceable codes of conduct by internet service providers (ISPs).
ITU - Stemming The International Tide of Spam Through Enforceable Codes of Conduct
Efforts by governments to counter internet spam by tracking down and prosecuting spammers have had limited impact and require far more resources than most countries can muster, the United Nations telecoms agency (ITU) warned. It says in a
that while all countries need anti-spam legislation so that spammers have nowhere to hide, a more effective approach would be to require the establishment of enforceable codes of conduct by internet service providers (ISPs).
Issue no. 356 - 27 February 2006
E-mail charging plan to beat spam
AOL and Yahoo plan to charge fees of up to one cent (US) per message to those that sign up for the service. Paying the fees means that messages will not go through spam filters, are guaranteed to arrive and will bear a stamp of authenticity.
Issue no. 354 - 31 January 2006
Build a better spam trap and ... spam multiplies
(International Herald Tribune)
Any e-mail users would argue that spam is still going strong, and some spam fighters even warn that the number of unsolicited e-mails is on the increase. The unwanted commercial messages circulating on the Internet far outnumber legitimate e-mails. Outblaze, a company that manages more than 40 million e-mail accounts around the world, calculated a ratio of more than 14 spam messages to each genuine message. What is more, a fundamental shift is under way in the world of cybercrime toward using spam to make specific organizations targets for extortion, a
report from IBM
Issue no. 353 - 15 January 2006
UK - How to sue a British spammer
Chartered engineer Nigel Roberts became the first person to win a court judgment over a company's breach of the UK's anti-spam law. His success received widespread media coverage - and now he's encouraging others to do the same. Roberts sued Media Logistics (UK) Ltd, a marketing firm based in Falkirk, Scotland, for sending him unsolicited emails about contract car hire and fax broadcasting businesses.
Issue no. 350 - 4 December 2005
US - FTC Study Shows Technology Gaining in the Battle Against Spam
According to a new
by the Federal Trade Commission, spammers continue to harvest email addresses from public areas of the Internet, but Internet Service Providers' anti-spam technologies can block the vast majority of spam sent to these email addresses. The FTC staff report also found that consumers who must post their e-mail addresses on the Internet can prevent them from being harvested by using a technique known as "masking".
Issue no. 347 - 19 October 2005
HU - Hungary campaigns against spam
Member organizations of Friendly Internet Forum (BIF) have recently signed a contract with the Hungarian National Telecommunications Authority to launch a wide-ranging campaign against spam. The campaign consists of a series of conferences and workshops, various online and print publications, the update of the content providers' Code of Conduct and a new website that aims to publish all information available on the issue of spamming and running a spam-helpdesk with around-the-clock service.
NG - Nigeria, Microsoft sign deal to fight Net fraud -
Nigeria has signed an agreement with Microsoft to work together to fight Internet crime. Microsoft hailed the agreement as a first with an African country and said it will work with the Nigerian government "to combat issues such as spam, financial scams ... spyware, viruses, worms, malicious code launches and counterfeiting."
Issue no. 345 - 25 September 2005
DE - Verbraucherzentrale richtet Spam-Beschwerdestelle ein
Computernutzer können unerwünschte E-Mails aus ihrem Postfach künftig an eine neue Beschwerdestelle der Verbraucherzentralen weiterleiten. Nach Prüfung sollen dann rechtliche Schritte gegen die Versender und Auftraggeber unternommen werden, teilt der Bundesverband der Verbraucherzentralen (vzbv) mit. Ziel sei eine abschreckende Wirkung.
Europäische Spambox soll Spammersünden speichern
Versendern unerwünschter E-Mails soll es mit einer europäischen Spambox-Initiative nun juristisch stärker an den Kragen gehen. Der Internet-Verband Eco und Microsoft rechnen laut ihrer Aussagen beim 3. deutschen Anti-Spam-Kongress heute in Köln damit, dass die EU-Kommission in den nächsten Tagen das Projekt "Selfregulatory Plan on Tackling Spam", kurz "SpotSpam" bewilligt. Unter dem Internet Safer Action Plan erhält SpotSpam dann rund 200.000 Euro für zwei Jahre.
Issue no. 344 - 18 September 2005
EU lässt Spam- und Jugendschutzfilter prüfen
Spamfilter gibt es wie Sand am Meer, aber wie gut sind sie eigentlich? Dieser Frage geht ab Oktober ein von der EU-Kommission unter dem Safer Internet Action Plan mit einer halben Million Euro gefördertes Projekt nach. Das berichteten Vertreter der EU-Kommission beim 3. Deutschen Anti-Spam-Gipfel des ECO-Verbandes und der Industrie- und Handelskammer in Köln. Acht Spamfilter sollen in der auf drei Jahre angelegten Studie überprüft werden, vor allem weit verbreitete proprietäre, aber auch offene Programme, sagte ein EU-Mitarbeiter. Anfang Oktober soll der Vertrag mit dem aus insgesamt elf Bewerbern ausgewählten Konsortium geschlossen werden.
Issue no. 343 - 4 September 2005
CN - China signs global anti-spam accord
China is adopting the
London Action Plan
on Spam Enforcement Collaboration. The country is thought to generate 20% of the world's spam, making it the second biggest source of unsolicited emails after the US. The Plan calls for increased investigative training, the establishment of points of contact in each agency to respond quickly and effectively to enforcement inquiries, and the creation of an international working group on spam enforcement.
Spam - opening Pandora's inbox
Microsoft has reached a settlement with Scott Richter one of the world's leading spammers. which includes a payment of $7m to the software giant. Despite legal and technological challenges, spamming is still a big problem. Internet users have been taking matters into their own hands using blocking technology, which is improving all the time. Around 90% of all spam is caught by filters these days. But spam still clogs servers, And a troubling development is the increased incidence of "phishing", a form of fraudulent spamming that can be extremely costly to victims. Phishers send out millions of e-mails in an attempt to steal personal and financial-account details from unsuspecting dupes. These e-mails purport to come from reputable businesses and contain links to websites where recipients are asked to divulge bank and credit-card details.
Spam -Sender ID's fading message
At the start of last year, Bill Gates told the world's elite at an annual conference in Davos, Switzerland, that the problem of spam would be solved in two years. But if the Microsoft chairman was betting on Sender ID to play a major role in achieving that goal, it looks like a losing bet. The Microsoft-backed protocol to identify e-mail senders aims to stem spam and phishing by making it harder for senders to forge their addresses and by improving filtering. So far, though, there's been a lack of adoption by legitimate businesses. Instead, it's been proving popular with a group it's meant to deter--spammers.
Spammer loses fight for right to spam
by Declan McCullagh. An online dating service does not have the right to blast unsolicited email at thousands of University of Texas email addresses. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals
that the university did not run afoul of federal law or the US Constitution when blocking a torrent of spam from White Buffalo Ventures' LonghornSingles.com site.
UK failing to fight spam
Anti-spam campaigners have branded the UK's anti-spam laws 'a waste of time and public money' as the Information Commissioner admits it hasn't prosecuted anyone for sending junk emails. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has admitted it fails to take legal steps against UK spammers while 'successfully' enforcing regulations against 13 fax marketers.
US - FTC: Top Retailers Comply With Can-Spam Opt-Out
to test whether top e-tailers are allowing consumers to opt out of receiving promotional or marketing messages, the FTC has determined that 89 percent of the online merchants it tested are honoring requests to halt future mailings. The study showed a high rate of compliance with the CAN-SPAM opt-out provisions.
Web site gives e-mail senders a reputation
A new Web site aims to help determine whether a specific computer has been sending legitimate e-mail or spam. The TrustedSource Web site uses data from reputation filters, which are billed as the next big thing in e-mail security. Makers of spam-fighting tools collect data on e-mail senders and use that to assign "reputations" to e-mail sending computers and Internet domains. Those who send a lot of spam get a negative rating and their messages are more likely to be filtered out.
Issue no. 342 - 31 July 2005
AU - Regulator wins AU spam injunction
Australia's broadcasting and telecommunications watchdog has won its first injunction against an alleged spammer under anti-spam laws introduced early last year. The Federal Court in Perth granted Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) an interim injunctions against Clarity 1 and its managing director Wayne Mansfield.
UK - Regulator wants powers to stop the spammers
The Office of the Information Commissioner (ICO), enforcer of the UK's main anti-spam laws, has received around 600 spam complaints in the past 12 months. But it has taken no legal action, in part because its powers are inadequate and impractical.
US - FTC cracks down on porn spam
Five companies have agreed to pay $1.16 million in fines to settle charges of sending spam without a warning that it contains sexually explicit material. Three other businesses also face lawsuits for allegedly sending improperly labeled e-mail, the Federal Trade Commission said.
Links to news items about legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, particularly those relating to information content, and market and technology.
QuickLinks consists of
a free newsletter appearing approximately every two to three weeks. The newsletter is distributed by electronic mail through an "announcement only" mailing list.
a Web site with frequent updates, an events page, news items organised by category as well as chronologically by issue and full text search.
QuickLinks is edited by Richard Swetenham
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