Caught In the Cross-Fire of the Spam War

Written by Bill Platt

LET THERE BE LIGHT: To understand this story, we must return torepparttar beginning --- September 5th, 2001. One of my associates had placed a free ad in a newsletter that she had just subscribed to. For that effort, she was accused of spam! Mind yourepparttar 132812 person filingrepparttar 132813 complaint was notrepparttar 132814 editor ofrepparttar 132815 newsletter, but rather a subscriber ofrepparttar 132816 newsletter.

The man was frustrated because he was having difficulty getting unsubscribed fromrepparttar 132817 newsletter, so he filed a complaint against everyone who was listed inrepparttar 132818 body ofrepparttar 132819 message, rather than justrepparttar 132820 list owner. It was his frustration, anger and ignorance that fueled this nasty little affair.

My friend lives in a very small town in Canada that has only one ISP. The Upline Provider forrepparttar 132821 local ISP was demanding her account to be turned off permanently because of this accusation which was later dropped. The local ISP stood their ground on behalf of their customer --- my friend --- though this action could have seriously hampered their ability to provide their customers with Internet access.

Even in dropping his claim against my friend,repparttar 132822 person who filedrepparttar 132823 complaint insisted that my friend was somehow still responsible for his inability to unsubscribe fromrepparttar 132824 newsletter in question!

The person who filed this complaint was using a system designed by programmer Julian Haight to combat spam email called

INTO THE PIT: In my original copy written September 10th, I had comparedrepparttar 132825 tactics ofrepparttar 132826 few diehard SpamCop anti-spammers torepparttar 132827 tactics of a terrorist.

Inrepparttar 132828 wake of September 11th, it did not seem appropriate to refer torepparttar 132829 SpamCop fanatics as terrorists. However closely repparttar 132830 tactics used byrepparttar 132831 SpamCop fanatics coincides withrepparttar 132832 tactics used byrepparttar 132833 al-Qaida terrorist network led by Osama bin Laden, SpamCop does not resort to murder.

Due to's unwillingness to provide a real person contact forrepparttar 132834 resolution of complaints, I was forced to turn to their discussion board to findrepparttar 132835 resolution I was seeking --- a resolution, which byrepparttar 132836 way, was never found.

My major complaint was that for someone to file against another simply because their email address or website appeared in someone else's ezine was improper.

Many members had knee jerk reactions to my questioning their system from within their inner sanctum. Many resorted to name calling and angry retort until a list administrator called them down. Afterrepparttar 132837 list administrator directly addressed their inappropriate comments, I received three open apologies from members ofrepparttar 132838 group.

PUBLISHERS BEWARE. Overrepparttar 132839 course ofrepparttar 132840 next few days, I watched their discussions. I was appalled to learn that many of them put email addresses in circulation just so that they can torment others with spam accusations.

As an owner of several discussion lists and newsletters, I now make it a standard policy to bar participation in my groups by someone sporting a email address.

I had tried to observe their group with an open mind, as I too find spam mail to be annoying. I receive nearly 50 pieces a day from four to five people, who send merepparttar 132841 same ads day after day. What is really annoying is they sendrepparttar 132842 spam to my autoresponders with a fake address, so I get another 50 messages a day telling me that I used an invalid email address in my autoresponder message. All have spidered my website to getrepparttar 132843 email addresses.

A SPAMCOP SPEAKS. In all fairness, I was leaning towards a semi-favorable opinion ofrepparttar 132844 SpamCop program until "Jerry" lashed out.

In his message, Jerry told me things which will just make you want to explode in frustration.

He said ofrepparttar 132845 innocent who get caught inrepparttar 132846 cross-fire ofrepparttar 132847 spam wars: "They should stay home."

He went on to say, "it is far better for thousands of innocents to burn in Hell than one spammer prevail."

And, "Truth, Justice, andrepparttar 132848 American Way - or lack thereof - is irrelevant. Spammers must believe there are no loopholes, no gray areas, thatrepparttar 132849 righteous will be sacrificed (in vast numbers if need be) in order to expungerepparttar 132850 evildoers."


Written by Bob McElwain

Inrepparttar film, "Cool Hand Luke,"repparttar 132810 vicious, sadistic prison warden was fond of saying, "What we have here is a failure to communicate." Inrepparttar 132811 end, prisoner Paul Newman came to "understand"repparttar 132812 true meaning of this comment.

A while back, a friend of mine copied a message to me that had been sent to a list of SpamCops and others. I wasrepparttar 132813 object ofrepparttar 132814 exercise to come. The subject line was, "We have another list owner here that [sic] needs to be educated."

Not much difference inrepparttar 132815 two statements, actually, for "educated" in this context means "business destroyed."

The Source Of This "Complaint"

I had distributed a brief article advising against requiring confirmation of subscription requests. In it, I describedrepparttar 132816 results of two attempts at using them. Inrepparttar 132817 first trial, 40% of new subscribers did not confirm. Inrepparttar 132818 second, a longer trial, 37% failed to confirm.

I can't be certain this article triggered action, for I was never informed. But it was appended torepparttar 132819 message received as mentioned above. It appears I was added torepparttar 132820 "get-him" list because I recommend against requesting confirmation.

Radicalism Is Rising In Popularity

Sure, we've had some bad times in this country. When Senator Joe McCarthy got you up torepparttar 132821 stand, you were guilty before you sat down. Sincerepparttar 132822 early 80s, there has been an awesome increase in small, organized, targeted extremist groups which cram their views right down your throat.

Never mind they ignore your rights in doing so. Never mind you may be seriously hurt, even destroyed, by their unilateral actions. Never mind they makerepparttar 132823 judgement of your guilt in a manner you can not contest. You are guilty. Period.

In "True Believer," Eric Hoffer years back clearly pointed outrepparttar 132824 dangers of such groups to democracy as we know it. His concerns have proved to be justified, as have his predictions about such groups significantly reducing individual freedom over time.

SpamCops In Perspective

To put SpamCops into this category is absurd. They are trivial. They hide behind false names, as others have done for centuries behind masks and robes. They violaterepparttar 132825 very rules they claim to espouse. Compared to other forces at work in this country, SpamCops and like minded people offer only a gnat sized threat in a hawk-filled sky.

With one real exception. On a single unjustified and unsupported claim, a webmaster can find his ISP and website shut down without prior notice. And without recourse. For a small business just making it, this can amount torepparttar 132826 "straw" that brings total collapse.

Small business people arerepparttar 132827 target. And SpamCops have been effective at doing vicious damage to many. The nature ofrepparttar 132828 vicarious thrill they get in doing so escapes me.

This is real power. And it appears to be used for its own sake. In all else, SpamCops are utter failures.

Impotent Phonies

They are powerless to prevent real spam. The junk overflows our mailboxes, and we stand helpless before it. So do SpamCops. They can't shut down an ISP or a host owned by spammers. Or those they sell their lists and services to.

So they've taken a giant step and essentially redefined spam as anything received you did not request. A target-rich environment. Requests made, then forgotten, bring messages called spam.

I was pounded by SpamCops regards an article sent with my name on it. I pointed outrepparttar 132829 only way to get that article was to send an email to an autoresponder address. I was ignored, of course. Their continuing innuendos and implied threats were disturbing.

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