WireWorld » Wirehead » Personal Blog » The YOU-CAN-SPAM act of 2003

The YOU-CAN-SPAM act of 2003

Every time I think that there's hope for our average congressmen, that they won't be little cheating weasels who are bought by the highest bidder, they prove to me that all they care about is lobbyists.

Now that I have my email address scrambled, I can track things. I've made a number of observations:

Spammers don't care if the address is valid. I get stuff addressed to message IDs which bear a passing resemblance to email addresses.

Spammers don't care if they aren't supposed to be there. Even if the address has a norobots.txt file, it will get spidered by the spam spiders.

Once you are on the list, no matter how many times you opt out, the influx will never stop. One company will spider the address and sell it to all comers. Each person who has the address will require at least one removal attempt, potentially more, before they either disappear or stop mailing you, I'm not sure which.

The opt-out doesn't always work. Sometimes it throws up an error message.

At this point, the opt-out doesn't seem to result in more spam. Thank goodness for small favors.

Spammers don't care if they screwed up while merging their database. If they have a name and postal address on a mailing list and a name and email address in their database, they will blindly match. So I get spam addressed to my mother, clearly so. It's even "targeted" to her. "Lenders in Sharonville" they say.

Spammers don't read the return address, unless it's part of their scheme. I've got some rough speculative filters that will bounce a message back to the sender informing them that their message is dropped (Things like they set a high priority or have certain words in the subject). Those bounce messages then bounce back. Even when they have a special address coded in the return address so they can notice that their email is bouncing. It's just too much trouble for them to deal with.

As mentioned in a prior entry, they are sending out porn dialers. It's almost like an email virus, except that it comes to an already spam-spidered address.

So, as you can see, we are talking about the cuteness equivalent of two boxes of kittens here. These are people who don't hesitate to write viruses that infect who-knows-how-many computers. These are people who break into people's systems to send spam.

And we are giving these people the metaphorical keys to the kingdom with the YOU-CAN-SPAM law. This really annoys me. The problem is that the junk-marketing conspiracy gives just enough lip service to not annoying people so that they don't get restrictive laws and put out of business. The telemarketers and junk mailers want to get into the spam business real bad, but without sullying their slightly sleazy reputation in the process.

Maddening, all around. I won't describe what I want to do to spammers because I've got a big imagination and they'd prolly put me away. I do know that a spammer was operating a 15 minute drive away from me at one point, at least if the DNS records were accurate.

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