QuickLinks - Junk mail (spam)
Issue no. 300 - 1 February 2004
- US - FTC announces labels for pornographic spam
Pornographic "spam" e-mail will have to be clearly labeled by mid-June to allow Internet users to easily filter it out, the Federal Trade Commission announced. Unsolicited pornography will have to bear a label reading "SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT-CONTENT:" in the subject line and the messages themselves will not be allowed to contain graphic material. Public comments on the proposal are sought by February 17.
Issue no. 299 - 24 January 2004
- DK - Danish firm fined for sending spam
A Danish court has fined a local telecoms equipment firm a record 400,000 Danish crowns (37 000 pounds) for sending over 15,000 unsolicited e-mails, a rare conviction against a peddler of what is commonly called spam. Denmark's National Consumer Agency brought the case against Aircom Erhverv ApS, saying the practice of sending unsolicited e-mails intended to market goods or services to the recipient was an infringement of Denmark's law on marketing practices.
- EU - Anti-spam laws are OK
It's just over a month since new anti-spam legislation was introduced into the UK with almost universal condemnation that the new laws would have a limited effect in the fight against junk email. Nevertheless, there are some who believe the new legislation is a significant step forward in the right direction. Joe McNamee, EU Policy Director from Political Intelligence, public affairs consultancy specialising in ICT, accepts that the new legislation "is not a complete answer to the problem of spam" and that there are plenty of issues that still need to be resolved. Despite the limitations, he's convinced that the new rules - that outlaw the sending of electronic communication to people unless they've agreed beforehand to receive them - deserve a better press.
- AOL tests caller ID for e-mail
America Online is testing an antispam filter intended to accurately trace the origin of e-mail messages, a move that could bring new accountability to the Net if it proves reliable. The online unit of media giant Time Warner week implemented SPF, or Sender Permitted From, an emerging authentication protocol for preventing e-mail forgeries, or spoofing. The trial involves the company's 33 million subscribers worldwide and is the first large scale test for the protocol, which is being considered by standards groups alongside various other e-mail verification proposals.
Issue no. 298 - 18 January 2004
- UK / US- New anti-spam laws fail to bite
In the past month the U.S. and UK governments have passed laws designed to thwart unsolicited e-mail marketing. Their effect, however, will be unnoticeable because of legal limitations, according to those in the industry. "To breach the rules is not a criminal offence," says Elizabeth Dunn, a compliance manager at the Information Commissioner's Office responsible for enforcing the UK laws. "We don't have the swift injunctive powers that we need to act against those abusing the medium. A lot of people assume the law is stronger than it is." The UK's Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications as flawed because it permits spam sent to businesses providing it includes an option (however legitimate) to unsubscribe from its marketing list. But differentiating between personal and corporate accounts is tricky. The U.S. law dubbed CAN-SPAM, which took effect January 1, differs by allowing spam with an opt-out function to both personal and corporate users. Conversely, it allows states and Internet service providers to sue for e-mails not clearly identified as promotional. Despite fines of up to $2 million, marketers with dubious scruples will be enticed to move their practices to countries out of jurisdiction.
Issue no. 297 - 11 January 2004
- US - Just Fax Us the $5.4 Million
Federal regulators approved a record $5.4 million fine against a company for faxing unsolicited advertisements to consumers. The Federal Communications Commission said the fine given to Fax.com was the largest for violating do-not-fax rules that went into effect in 1992. The company sends faxes on behalf of clients that pay a fee.
- US - Spam Is Still Flowing Into E-Mail Boxes
Computer users hoping that a new federal law would help cut the spam flowing to their in-boxes so far have been disappointed. Since President Bush signed the new restrictions into law Dec. 16 and they went into effect Jan. 1, spam-filtering companies and Internet providers report little change in spam patterns, which have relentlessly marched to higher levels over the past two years. Estimates vary, but spam accounts for roughly 60 percent of all e-mail traffic, with costs to fight it exceeding $10 billion a year.
Issue no. 296 - 4 January 2004
- US - Do-Not-Spam Proves Popular Concept
The majority of Americans would sign up for a do-not-spam list were the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to launch one, a new study has found. Eighty-three percent of Americans are either extremely or very likely to register for the list, making it more popular than the telemarketing do-not-call list. Synovate, a marketing research firm, conducted the study by surveying 1,000 adult Americans.
- Microsoft aims to make spammers pay
A group of researchers at Microsoft think they may have come up with a solution that could, at least, slow down and deter the spammers. The development has been called the Penny Black project, because it works on the idea that revolutionised the British postage system in the 1830s - that senders of mail should have to pay for it, not whoever is on the receiving end. The payment is not made in the currency of money, but in the memory and the computer power required to work out cryptographic puzzles. Once senders have proved they have solved the required "puzzle", they can be added to a "safe list" of senders. All this clever puzzle-solving is done without the recipient of the e-mail being affected. It uses memory latency- the time it takes for the computer's processor to get information from its memory chip - rather than CPU power. That way, it does not matter how old or new a computer is because the system does not rely on processor chip speeds, which can improve at rapid rates.
- War on spam turns to open proxies
Anti-spam site Spamhaus has added a new feature to its services which should, it says, help ISPs and companies cut out more spam from arriving at their servers. The Exploits Block List (XBL) is a database of IP addresses that originate 'illegal' third party exploits, according to Spamhaus, such as open proxies. The term 'open proxy' refers to the situation when a server allows network connections from anyone, to anywhere, on arbitrary ports and with arbitrary protocols. It means that spammers, for instance, can use that server to send spam without it being traced back to them.
Issue no. 295 - 21 December 2003
- EU / US - Will Antispam Laws Bring Relief?
Politicians in the U.S. and Europe were shrewd enough this year to respond to the growing frustration over the increasing barrage of unwanted e-mail with antispam legislation. But will the new laws really be able to thwart junk e-mail? Different standards in U.S., European laws could prove problematic, experts say.
- US - Bush Signs National Anti-Spam Law
A new anti-spam law signed by President Bush marks the federal government's first stab at cleansing the Internet of deceptive and unsolicited commercial e-mail, but critics complain that its provisions are too weak and technology experts suggest that it may be impossible for legislation passed by one country to eliminate the global spam problem. The law's most anticipated provision is one that opens the door for the creation of a national "do-not-spam" registry similar to the national "do-not-call" list that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched earlier this year to curb telemarketing calls. The Can-Spam Act of 2003 also outlaws spammers' common practice of falsifying the "from" information and the subject lines of e-mail solicitations to trick recipients into opening them. Violators can be fined as much as $6 million and jailed for up to five years, under the law.
- DE - Mail-Service von T-Online mit Spam-Filter
T-Online-Kunden können ab sofort einen Spam-Filter für ihr E-Mail-Postfach erhalten. Für einen Aufpreis von 95 Cent im Monat bietet T-Online das Paket Spamschutz Plus an. Der Spamschutz ist serverseitig implementiert. Er untersucht den Header und den Inhalt einer Mail anhand von Schlüsselwörtern, HTML-Befehlen, Hyperlinks und mittels statistischer Verfahren.
- The economics of spam
Spammers can make lucrative living even though only 50 in every million people respond to unsolicited commercial email. While spamming cost are negligible the potential payoffs are 'huge and very profitable', according to a paper by Andrew Leung of Canadian telco firm Telus. Many of the themes of Leung's paper (e.g. the ineffectiveness of legislation against combating spam) are not new but he's assembled the information in a highly readable form that marks a useful contribution to understanding the spam problem. He's particularly strong on the economics of spam.
Issue no. 294 - 14 December 2003
- US - 100,000 AOL clicks lead to spam suspects' arrest
(New York Times)
Virginia has announced the indictments of two people on criminal charges involving unsolicited e-mail, the first case to be brought under an antispam law that took effect in June. Virginia is one of the few states with laws providing criminal penalties for sending unsolicited bulk e-mail, or spam. Each has been charged with four felony counts, each of which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $2,500 fine or both. The law allows such penalties only if the spam has fake return addresses, which prevent recipients from contacting the sender and asking to be removed from lists. Prosecutors said that from July 11 to Aug. 9, more than 100,000 AOL subscribers clicked a "report spam" button to complain about messages supposedly sent by the two men.
- US - Congress Passes Anti-Spam Law
The U.S. House of Representatives passed by unanimous consent the CAN-SPAM Act. The Senate had passed identical language, so the legislation will be sent to the President, who is expected to sign it. The final version of the bill makes no distinction between solicited and unsolicited messages. It does not prohibit unsolicited email. Rather, it prohibits certain deceptive practices and requires every commercial email message to provide an opt-out option and meet certain disclosure rules. The CAN-SPAM Act imposes criminal sanctions for use of materially false or misleading header information in commercial email messages, with fines or imprisonment. The civil provisions also prohibit false or misleading header information as well as deceptive subject lines that are likely to mislead a recipient. In addition, the civil provisions require that commercial email disclose certain specified information and provide recipients an opportunity to decline to receive any additional messages. One troublesome aspect of the bill is a labeling requirement for all messages containing sexually explicit material. The law requires the Federal Trade Commission to specify marks or notices that will facilitate filtering of sexually oriented material, thereby inserting, in a small way, a federal agency into the design of an Internet technology.
- Experts: Blame Sobig for latest spam deluge
The amount of spam moving around the Internet has increased from one spam in every eleven e-mails at the end of 2002 to one spam in every 2.5 e-mails today; a more than fourfold increase. According to an end-of-year report published by e-mail-outsourcing firm MessageLabs, the Sobig.F virus is to blame for a large proportion of the increase. Before Sobig.F, spam made up less than half of all e-mail traffic, but in the latter part of the year, in the wake of Sobig.F, spam levels pushed past the 50 percent mark, bringing the average for the year up to 40 percent.
Issue no. 293 - 7 December 2003
- AT - Österreichs Provider gemeinsam gegen Spam
Die österreichischen Internetprovider haben eine Vereinbarung über das Verhalten gegenüber Spam und Spammern geschlossen. Wie der Providerverband ISPA in Wien mitteilte, ist der "Spam Code of Conduct" sofort in Kraft getreten. Die Maßnahmen reichen von Änderungen in den AGB über Scans im eigenen Netz bis zu Whitelists. Spam wird dabei als "vom Empfänger unverlangte und unerwünschte, vom Verursacher massenweise oder zum Zwecke der Direktwerbung versandte E-Mail" definiert. Dies muss sich nicht notwendiger Weise mit der gesetzlichen Definition decken, die bei der letzten Novelle des TKG zum Missfallen der Provider stark aufgeweicht wurde.
- SG - Direct Marketing Association moves to curb spam with opt-out list
In a fresh bid to curb spam - or the unwanted, unsolicited nuisance e-mail and SMS messages that clog computers and mobile phones - the Direct Marketing Association of Singapore (DMAS) is setting up an 'opt-out' list, much like the 'Do Not Call' list being adopted in the US.
- UNCTAD - US named as biggest spammer, spammee
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 2003 e-commerce and development report identifies the U.S. as the top perpetrator, responsible for more than half of the spam received in the world. The majority of spam victims are in the U.S. as well, the report finds. The U.S. is the largest marketplace in the world, making it an attractive target.
- US approves anti-spam legislation
Congress in the United States has approved legislation intended to stop the flow of unwanted e-mails, or spam. US Senators adopted the Can-Spam Act following a vote by the House of Representatives. The measures - including fines and jail terms for offenders - are seen as vital in the US, from where most spam comes. But activists warn the legislation does not go far enough and could even make matters worse by approving spam that follows key guidelines. The legislation brings in penalties for individuals and companies that send out junk e-mails to recipients who have said they wish to unsubscribe. But it will not stop mass e-mail sendings entirely. The bill now goes to President George W Bush for signing and the new law is expected to come into effect in January. see also US - Why the New Federal "CAN Spam" Law Probably Won't (FindLaw). U. Washington law professor Anita Ramasastry assesses the new Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003, also referred to as the "CAN Spam Act." Ramasastry explains the Act's provisions, and also explains why she and others believe it may not be effective in actually eliminating spam.
Issue no. 292 - 23 November 2003
- US - House passes anti-spam bill
The House overwhelmingly passed a bill to curb unsolicited e-mail. The bill would sweep away more than 35 state anti-spam laws, including some that imposed significantly tighter restrictions on e-mail marketing. Congressional leaders said the measure, which was endorsed in the House on a 392-5 vote, would be quickly ratified by the Senate, which passed a version of the bill last month. Retailers, marketers and Internet account providers lobbied hard for a national law that provided a single set of rules, as well as protections for legitimate companies that advertise via e-mail. They were especially concerned that Congress act before a tough new anti-spam law in California took effect. Some consumer groups and anti-spam activists argue that such a law would be largely ignored by the worst spammers, many of whom operate overseas. Meanwhile, they say, the bill would codify rules by which legitimate companies can send even more unwanted e-mail. The congressional bill would provide for criminal penalties for a variety of spammer tactics, including disguising the Internet addresses of their computers so they cannot be located, "harvesting" e-mail addresses from Web sites and sending spam to them, using deceptive subject lines in messages, and sending spam to millions of e-mail addresses that are randomly generated by special software programs. E-mail recipients would have to be given clear opportunity to remove themselves from future mailings, and all commercial e-mail would have to be labeled as advertising in some fashion, though the bill would leave marketers free to choose how that labeling will occur. Unsolicited e-mail containing pornography would have to contain a warning label in the subject line.
- Microsoft unveils spam software
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates unveiled new products that promise to cut down on spam, secure computer networks and make it easier to find information on personal computers. Gates, making the opening keynote address at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas, spent a good part of his speech on security and a major problem plaguing computer users - spam, or unsolicited e-mail. An add-on to most of Microsoft's e-mail software, SmartScreen technology developed by Microsoft's research arm will filter e-mail to prevent unwanted advertising and malicious messages from reaching recipients' inboxes.
Issue no. 291 - 15 November 2003
- EU - Member States slow in adopting new 'anti-spam' regime
As from 1 November, the Member States must comply with the EU's new strict digital privacy rules. In practice, only Austria, Denmark, Italy and Sweden have met the deadline. The EU's Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications entered into force on 1 November 2003. Popularly known as the EU's 'ban on spam' directive, the technology-neutral regulations include provisions on security of networks and services, confidentiality of communications, access to information stored on terminal equipment, processing of traffic and location data, calling line identification, public subscriber directories and unsolicited commercial communications. Enforcement of the new laws is left to the individual Member States. Several EU Members are running behind schedule with the new regime's implementation. Only Austria, Denmark, Italy and Sweden had brought their national legislation up to the new standards by the Commission's 1 November deadline.
- US - AT&T's Anti-Anti-Spam Patent
Via Greg Aharonian's Internet Patent News Service comes the news that AT&T has received this patent for - I kid you not - a way to defeat anti-spam measures: "A system and method for circumventing schemes that use duplication detection to detect and block unsolicited e-mail (spam). An address on a list is assigned to one of m sublists, where m is an integer that is greater than one. A set of m different messages are created. A different message from the set of m different messages is sent to the addresses on each sublist. In this way, spam countermeasures based upon duplicate detection schemes are foiled." Right. And the other thing being foiled is Internet users' desire to be free of the spam plague. AT&T should be ashamed of itself. Is this truly an original "invention"? If not, as I suspect, it's just more evidence of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office's tendency to grant patents willy-nilly, and let the courts settle everything later on.
- UK - Spam set to soar this Christmas
Christmas is coming and spammers want to fill your inbox with more messages than ever. Net filtering firms report that senders of spam are already starting to change the messages they send in an attempt to cash in on the festive season.
Issue no. 290 - 9 November 2003
- GDDe - Global Organization Tackles Proliferation of Spam
Proclaiming spam a worldwide problem that threatens the global Internet economy, the Global Business Dialogue on Electronic Commerce (GBDe), one of the world's leading voices on e-commerce policy, has called for a global strategy to tackle spam, including focusing on "fraudulent email". In addition to addressing the issue of spam, the GBDe announced an agreement between Consumers International, an organization representing consumer groups and agencies worldwide, to establish alternative dispute resolution (ADR) guidelines, and a policy framework for broadband adoption. In seeking to halt spam, the GBDe warned against regulations that penalize legitimate marketers who send bulk email. The international body said the focus should be on emails intended to deceive, either in the content of the message or the identity of the sender. Approximately 60 percent of all email includes false headers and deceptive content, according to GBDe estimates.
- Help! my Belkin router is spamming me
The marketing geniuses at Belkin, the consumer networking vendor, have dreamed up a new form of spam - ads served to your desktop, by way of its wireless router. A former Belkin wireless router user was perplexed to find machines on his network redirected to an ad for Belkin's new parental control system, following a software update. Belkin confirmed that the behaviour was designed into the products as a way to make it easier for consumers to sign up to a free trial of its parental control software.
Issue no. 289 - 26 October 2003
- US - California wins anti-spam case
California has won a landmark judgement with its first anti-spam ruling after a court fined a marketing firm $2m for sending out millions of unsolicited e-mails telling people how to spam. The state's attorney general, Bill Lockyer, brought the case against PW Marketing of Los Angeles County and its owners, Paul Willis and Claudia Griffin in 2002, under a 1998 state anti-spam law.
- US - Senate approves antispam bill
The U.S. Senate voted of 97 to 0 to outlaw deceptive spam and to set up a 'do not spam' registry for those who do not want to receive unsolicited commercial e-mail. The bill would not outlaw all unsolicited commercial e-mail, focusing instead on the fraudulent or deceptive messages estimated to make up two-thirds of all unsolicited commercial e-mail. Marketers would have to label sexually explicit messages to allow users to filter them out. The bill would also prohibit marketers from sending unsolicited messages to consumers who place their e-mail addresses on a "do not spam" registry, similar to the popular "do not call" antitelemarketing measure launched earlier this month by the Federal Trade Commission. Marketers could e-mail addresses not on the list until asked to stop. State and federal law enforcers and Internet service providers such as EarthLink would be allowed to pursue spammers, but individual users could not sue directly.
- AOL Quietly Combats Pop-Up Spam Messages
Even more annoying than junk e-mail are all the spam messages that "pop up" through a little-used feature in Windows. As part of its spam-fighting efforts, America Online has been turning off that feature for its customers without telling them. Nonetheless, AOL's action worries some security experts. "They are trying to do the right thing ... but you sort of feel dirty after you hear it," said Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer for Counterpane Internet Security Inc. "It's a very dangerous precedent in having companies go into your computer and turn things on and off." "From there," he added, "it's easy to turn off competitors' services." Pop-up spam differs from pop-up ads in that no Web browser or Web site visit is required. Instead, these ads take advantage of a messaging function built into many Windows operating systems.
- Hotmail promises better spam-catching
Microsoft is upgrading Hotmail services with a white list checks incoming mail against a list of addresses that the account holder has already approved. The white list, in its purest form, is considered one of the more draconian anti-spam methods, because mail that doesn't match the list does not get delivered. see also Yahoo adds e-mail features to flush out spam (IDG). An internal Yahoo survey among its e-mail service users found that, given a choice between cleaning toilets and weeding out spam, 77 percent of respondents would choose the former. The provider of Internet content and services is adding five new weapons to its anti-spam arsenal, including the scanning of every attachment arriving or leaving a user's inbox to check for viruses. This new service scans all attachments for viruses, blocking infected attachments from being downloaded, sent or forwarded.
- Outlook 2003 fights the spam battle
The best new feature in Outlook is the junk-mail filter, which in my informal testing has done an exceptional job of ridding my inbox of spam. I like it enough that I've uninstalled the rest of my anti-spam arsenal. When set in "high" blocking mode, the Outlook filter has been something like 95 percent effective in sending spam to my junk-mail folder instead of my inbox. More importantly, the filter is 100 percent effective in blocking pornographic spam containing pictures.
- UK - How spammers are targeting blogs
Technology analyst Bill Thompson has been getting lots of comments on his weblogs, unfortunately most of the want to sell him Viagra. He has been 'flyblogged'.
Issue no. 288 - 19 October 2003
- AU - Caube rebuts EFA on Aussie spam bill
(IDGNet New Zealand)
A scrap has broken out between two Australian online watchdogs over the country's proposed anti-spam legislation. Caube.au, Australia’s Coalition Against Unsolicited Bulk Email, has hit back at criticism of the federal anti-spam bill by Electronic Frontiers Australia. Caube.au has reviewed the criticisms of EFA, and found that its criticism of the bill as not truly anti-spam is entirely unjustified.
- AU - Child porn spam epidemic
Trafficking and advertising of child pornography on the Net has exploded in the past two weeks, an Australian child protection agency says. Child Wise national director Bernadette McMenamin said 500 per cent more child porn spam (Internet advertising) had been received by the group in past weeks. Ms McMenamin said complaints about child porn advertising and promotions had also soared. "As a monitoring agency, it comes as a dramatic increase and we aren't sure what's going on," she said. "The concern is (the spam) is actually fuelling pedophilia because it's reaching more people and promoting the demand for abused children."
- EU / US - Spam survey
The Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, which represents EU and US consumers, is interested in what you think of Spam, (unsolicited commercial emails), that is e-mails that you receive but you have not asked for, which are usually offering to sell you something. The survey's results will inform our discussions on this topic and so your answers are important. To take part in the survey, please click below on 'Start the survey' - it takes less than 3 minutes to complete. Please submit your answers only once. The questionnaire exists in 11 official EU languages.
- EU-Konferenz: Verzögerung beim Umsetzen der Anti-Spam-Richtlinie
Gesetze allein werden das Spam-Problem nicht lösen. Das sagte EU Kommissar Erkki Liikanen bei der von der Kommission veranstalteten Spam-Konferenz gestern in Brüssel. Die Kommission will bis Ende des Jahres eine Mitteilung herausgeben, die den Mitgliedsstaaten im Kampf gegen das Übel Dampf macht und den effektiven Vollzug, mehr öffentliche Aufklärung und weitere Selbstregulierungs- und technische Anstrengungen der Branche einfordert. Noch hinken indes viele Mitgliedsstaaten schon bei der Umsetzung der Datenschutzrichtlinie, und damit auch des darin geforderten Opt-In-Prinzips, hinterher. Dabei tickt die Uhr: die nationalen Gesetzgeber haben nur noch bis zum 31. Oktober Zeit. ECO-Geschäftsführer Harald Summa warb für die ECO-Initiative von Trusted Networks. Sogenannte Premium-E-Mails sollen dabei nur noch über vertrauenswürdige Server ausgetauscht werden. Die Notwendigkeit zu filtern würde in diesem Netz aufgehoben, so Summa. Schließlich könnte die Branche den überforderten Behörden auch mit der bestehende Hotline unter die Arme greifen, denn entsprechende Kanäle bei den nationalen Regulierern beziehungsweise Datenschützern fehlen noch.
- KR - Ministry eyes new rules to curb spam
The South Korean government plans to introduce a new rule that will make it easier to identify junk e-mail, the Ministry of Information and Communication said. Under the new rule, commercial organizations sending unsolicited e-mail advertisements, or spam, will be required to place the '@' symbol in the subject line.
- US - Do-not-spam list won't work: Experts
The premise sounds simple: To cut down on junk e-mail, simply submit your addresses to a "do-not-spam" list that marketers would have to check to avoid fines. With more than 50 million phone numbers already on a federal do-not-call list in the United States, many e-mail users are eager for a no-spam counterpart. But don't hold out much hope, even if one is created. Phone and e-mail systems -and the marketers who employ them - are fundamentally different.
- US - UK anti-spam delegation urges cooperation
British officials urged their US counterparts to cooperate in their fight against "spam'' email, downplaying differences between the two countries' legal approaches to unwanted commercial marketing. Several UK lawmakers and an appointee of Prime Minister Tony Blair are meeting this week with US lawmakers and law enforcement agencies to discuss how to curb the unwanted messages that now account for roughly half of all email traffic.
- Death2Spam Cutting-Edge Email Filtering Software!
The Death2Spam Mail Server is a third-generation Internet email filtering service, built around an amazingly accurate word-frequency distribution analyzer. This incredibly powerful technology compares the pattern of words found in an incoming message against a vast database of "good" and "spam" emails. It then assigns each email a probability score indicating whether that message is good and interesting, or is just another piece of useless junk mail.
- Why Bayesian filtering is the most effective anti-spam technology
This white paper describes how Bayesian mathematics can be applied to the spam problem, resulting in an adaptive, 'statistical intelligence' technique that is much harder to circumvent by spammers. It also explains why the Bayesian approach is the best way to tackle spam once and for all, as it overcomes the obstacles faced by more static technologies such as blacklist checking, databases of known spam and keyword checking. This is not to say that these technologies are obsolete, but they cannot be used as effectively as needed if not combined with a Bayesian filter.
Issue no. 287 - 11 October 2003
- E-mail filters not fooled by signed spam
Bulk e-mailers are digitally signing unsolicited messages in hopes of bypassing popular filtering programs, but updated software has been modified to detect the trick, experts said.
- Spam Fighters Turn to Identifying Legitimate E-Mail
(New York Times)
Many e-mail software experts now contend that the most powerful way to clean people's mailboxes is to focus not on catching the spam, but on identifying the legitimate mail. Put simply, these efforts are trying to develop the Internet equivalent of caller ID, a technology that will let the receiver of an e-mail message verify the identity of the sender. As with caller ID for telephones, senders will be able to choose whether to remain anonymous. But also like caller ID, recipients may presume that those who do not identify themselves are sending junk.
- UK - Spam watchdog 'needs more bite'
A report by the All Party Parliamentary Internet Group said the Information Commissioner should be given more enforcement powers and resources to regulate spam and deal with complaints. It also recommended unsolicited e-mails sent to business addresses, not just private ones should be banned. From December, UK companies face a £5,000 fine if they send junk messages to individuals unless they are already a customer or have given their permission.
Issue no. 286 - 3 October 2003
- AU - EFA Analysis of Australian Spam Bills 2003
(Electronic Frontiers Australia)
Proposed laws, claimed to be 'anti-spam' laws, were introduced into Australian Parliament on 18 September 2003. However, close scrutiny of the proposed legislation reveals that it is not anti-spam. While it would prohibit the sending of some spam, it would also legitimise and authorise the sending of other spam (unsolicited bulk commercial electronic messages). It would also prohibit the sending of some single messages to a particular person that few, if any, people would consider to be spam.
- Confessions of a Spam King
(New York Times)
How Richard Colbert mastered the art of bombarding people with unwanted e-mail, and why Congress almost certainly won't do anything to stop him.
Issue no. 285 - 28 September 2003
- AU - Major Global Consumer Awareness Campaign to Counter Spam
The power to end the scourge of spam is largely in the hands of internet users. So says Australia's Internet Industry Association, who announced a new collective worldwide push to help give internet users back the control of their inboxes. IIA chief executive Peter Coroneos said ''The collective aim of this unprecedented global campaign is to empower users with a simple message. 'If you have any doubt about the bona fides of email sent to you - Don't try - Don't buy - Don't reply'. If enough users started hitting the delete key on questionable, unsolicited offers, the commercial case for spamming will soon erode." The user empowerment campaign is building fast. Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo!, Junkbusters, and Consumers International (representing 250 consumer organisations in 110 countries) have quickly added their weight to the initiative. The Global Spam Campaign Web site will go live on Monday 29 September 2003.
- UK - Britain Bungles Anti-spam Law
Britain has disappointed the UK Internet community by introducing legislation that attempts to differentiate between 'private' and 'business' spam and creates loopholes in the process. From 11 December it will be illegal to send Unsolicited Bulk Email to a private email address, but legal to send Unsolicited Bulk Email to the hapless employees of British businesses. Britain's firms will continue to suffer the onslaught of ever more spam, now from spammers claiming legality. Worse, spammers have a free bite at spamming all UK addresses until issued a direct order to stop by the Information Commissioner. Enforcement is left to the overworked and under-resourced Information Commissioner whose job it will be to deal with thousands of daily spam complaints and issue spammers with "orders" to stop spamming. see also Spam policeman blasts new spam laws (vnunet.com). Information Commissioner Richard Thomas has criticised the government's anti-spam legislation, calling on ministers to extend his powers to tackle unsolicited email.
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