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including Notes on Internet E-mail


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22 Jan 2024

Do you need a license to look for spam? Email

Jay Fink had an interesting little business. If you lived in California, you could give him access to your email account, he'd look through the spam folder for spam that appeared to violate the state anti-spam law, and give you a spreadsheet and a file of PDFs. You could then sue the spammers, and if you won, you'd give Fink part of the money as his fee.

While the federal CAN SPAM law largely preempts state laws, it lets states add their own penalties for fraudulent or misleading spam. California is one of the few states with a usable law, and one of the few that lets spam recipients sue in small claims court. The spammers tend to pay to settle rather than going to court (because they are pretty sure they'd lose) so this was a way to make life more difficult for the spammers, paid for by the spammers.

Last July, the state of California shut him down, saying that the stuff he was doing needed a Private Investigator (PI) license. The license is quite expensive and requires 6,000 hours of training in a field like arson investigation or insurance adjustment. Fink thought this was ridiculous, since none of the training would have anything to do with looking for spam, and the requirements were grossly excessive for what he did. He sued the state, supported by the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm.

Last week the parties filed the first substantive exchange, in which the state moved to dismiss the case, and Fink's lawyers said not so fast.

See more ...


  posted at: 17:56 :: permanent link to this entry :: 0 comments
Stable link is https://jl.ly/Email/spamfink.html

22 Mar 2023

Spam filtering and social media moderation are the same thing Email

CDA Section 230 has been called ``The 26 Words that Created the Internet''. While it is obvious how Sec 230 protects the World Wide Web, it is equally important for e-mail.

A recent Pennsylvania court case emphasizes this point. Dr. Thomas, a professor at the Univeristy of Pennysylvania forwarded an article about another professor Dr. Monge to an online e-mail discussion list. Dr. Monge claimed the article was defamatory and sued Dr Thomas, the university, and many others. But since neither Dr Thomas, nor the university were the author of the article, under Sec 230 they were quickly dismissed from the case. This is good news for anyone who (like me) runs mailing lists for other people. If we were legally responsible for everything anyone said on a list, the number of lists would be a whole lot smaller.

But Sec 230 doesn't just protect mailing lists. It also protects spam filtering, and on the modern Internet, mail without filtering would be unusable.

See more ...


  posted at: 21:30 :: permanent link to this entry :: 0 comments
Stable link is https://jl.ly/Email/sec230spam.html

14 Oct 2020

My, that's a lot of mail Email

I get a lot of mail from political campaigns. I expect a lot of us do.

In my case, each campaign gets a separate e-mail address so I can track how much they pass the addresses around. (Nothing surprising, local passes them to national for the same party, stuff like that.) While I was supposed to be doing something else, I wrote some scripts to track the mail, per campaign.

You can see the results, updated daily, at https://www.taugh.com/polispam.php. If it looks like one day the Republican presidential campaign sent me 15 separate messages, yup, they did. It's not entirely clear what their strategy is because they keep telling me that I am one of their TOP 100 SUPPORTERS even though I've never sent them a dime.


  posted at: 14:21 :: permanent link to this entry :: 1 comments
Stable link is https://jl.ly/Email/polispam.html

11 Mar 2020

Political e-mail placement or, you're not special Email
A recent piece in The Markup called
Swinging the Vote? attempts to figure out how Google decides where to deliver political e-mail. They were startled to discover that only a small fraction of it was delivered into the main inbox, and a fair amount was classed as spam. They shouldn't have been.

See more ...


  posted at: 11:55 :: permanent link to this entry :: 0 comments
Stable link is https://jl.ly/Email/notspecial.html

07 Sep 2019

Fewer bad examples for mail Email

The DNS has always had a few names for use as examples in documentation, domains example.com, example.net, example.org, and example.edu. In 1999 RFC 2606 formally reserved the first three.

There's nothing technically special about these names, which have normal WHOIS and DNS entries, managed by IANA. Until recently, that meant that even though none of them handle any e-mail, mail sent to them by mistake worked badly.

See more ...


  posted at: 05:56 :: permanent link to this entry :: 0 comments
Stable link is https://jl.ly/Email/exampnull.html

Topics


My other sites

Who is this guy?

Airline ticket info

Taughannock Networks

Other blogs

CAUCE
Spam trends update for Sep-Nov 2023
32 days ago

A keen grasp of the obvious
Italian Apple Cake
530 days ago

Related sites

Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail

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© 2005-2020 John R. Levine.
CAN SPAM address harvesting notice: the operator of this website will not give, sell, or otherwise transfer addresses maintained by this website to any other party for the purposes of initiating, or enabling others to initiate, electronic mail messages.