Accused Spammer Sues Spamhaus, Wins $11 Million

from the what's-wrong-with-making-a-list? dept

A few years ago, a group of spammers teamed up to sue a bunch of anti-spammers, with the main target being Spamhaus, who keeps what's considered the definitive list of spammers. After their lawyers realized they had little chance of getting anywhere with the case, the spammers withdrew the case. The accused anti-spammers took on the odd move of trying to get the case to continue in order to set a precedent that it's perfectly legal to put together a spam blacklist. However, that didn't work, and you knew it was only a matter of time until someone else sued Spamhaus. That's exactly that one company that's on Spamhaus' list did. What's surprising, though, is that they somehow convinced a judge to order Spamhaus to pay $11 million for listing the company as a spammer. As the article notes, the company, e360insight, is going to have a lot of trouble collecting since Spamhaus is based in the UK and outside the jurisdiction of the Illinois-based court. While part of the reason Spamhaus may have lost was Steve Linford's decision to basically ignore the case and not show up or defend Spamhaus at all, it's still not at all clear how the $11 million was picked as the number -- but the whole thing seems problematic. All Spamhaus does is put together a list of companies or individuals who Spamhaus has collected evidence on suggesting they're spammers. Linford insists that the company in question absolutely is a spammer and he won't remove them -- and he doesn't see why it should cost him millions of dollars for being honest and keeping his list accurate. While it is true that some anti-spam blacklists can be way too aggressive, it should hardly be illegal to put one together -- especially if you have evidence to back up the claims. Spamhaus has always been one of the more respected anti-spam lists out there, and it's difficult to believe it would continue to put a company on the list if it didn't truly believe the company was guilty of spamming.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    firstpost, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 3:18am

    technophobe

    I can only assume that the judge in this case doesn't actually use email...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Tek'a, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 3:36am

    Directoy Services

    I think its time to sure the phone company and the yellow pages for listing my address and phone number.

    sure, thats where I live, and thats my phone number.. but how dare they have a list! I demand 11 million dollars in compensation for being legally and correctly listed!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Bullshifter, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 3:51am

    Spamhaus appears to be pretty arrogant in that they didn't show up to rebutt the claim against them. The big issue here is that if you don't show up in court you're going to come up on the short end of the stick and end up liable, guilty or not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    claire rand, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 3:52am

    suprised?

    and now we wait for the somewhat silly situation of another Brit being sent to the states by our daft extradition laws for an action somebody stateside objects to.

    naturally spamhaus being a uk based operation, breaking no uk laws will be seen as irrelvent to this.

    another brit who had better avoid visiting the states for a while as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Peet McKimmie (profile), Sep 15th, 2006 @ 4:11am

    Re: Directoy Services

    Don't joke about it, Tek'a - I'm getting ready to sue my teleco for doing just that! The difference, I suspect, is that my contract with them lists my number as ex-directory, yet they published it anyway. :'-(

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    An Onimous, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 4:11am

    How, you ask? I would assume under some corporate version of libel.

    If someone is not a spammer, and you "publish" that they are, well... it doesn't take a rocket scientist to make the case to a judge when the other party doesn't even show up.

    If they have evidence, they should have no problem getting cases dropped, and counter suing. But hey, these "spam cowboys" want to play by their own rules. It's coming back around to bite them in the ass, and I couldn't be more pleased!

    It's not the list, it's labeling them as spammers. None of you have ever happened to purchase hosting on a previous spammer's IP, that they refuse to delist... not because you are a spammer, but because they don't like the ISP, and think they're spam friendly, so YOU suffer. And what do they tell you, "Well, then switch ISPs." In other words, they are digitally blockading you to force YOU to boycott your ISP.

    All spamhaus does is chase their own tails. They can't win, and innocent companies and people suffer from these totalitarian, wild-west style wackos.

    A good filter keeps out most spam, and if you are that paranoid, use a whitelist. If you can't whitelist, like a sales email, you might as well use your own filters (spam assassin + built in, like Thunderbird), SPF verification, etc. etc. A few simple steps, and you won't get any spam anyways. With my filters off, I get between 200-1000 a day (from about 10 different emails and some all @domain.com several years old, and holidays usually spike) With the filters on, I get about 15, and would probably get about 10 less if I added a filter for Russian characters.

    Services like spamhaus are about as outdated and useful as the blink tag, only think of it as a blink tag that has the power to cut off all your communications. Yeah, SLIGHTLY more annoying. [/sarcasm]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Peet McKimmie (profile), Sep 15th, 2006 @ 4:16am

    It's not the list, it's labeling them as spammers. None of you have ever happened to purchase hosting on a previous spammer's IP, that they refuse to delist... not because you are a spammer, but because they don't like the ISP, and think they're spam friendly, so YOU suffer. And what do they tell you, "Well, then switch ISPs." In other words, they are digitally blockading you to force YOU to boycott your ISP.


    That's your argument; personally I sse it as them trying to close down SPAMmer-friendly ISPs, and as such I think that's a laudible aim. If it makes you take a moment to check out whether an ISP is listed as SPAMmer-friendly *before* you buy hosting from them next time, and then not buy it if they are, that can only be a good thing. Just because you got it wrong this time doesn't make it everybody else's problem.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 4:19am

    If I were told to face trial in the US for something as stupid as this while my business was based elsewhere, I certainly wouldn't be fronting up to court. What a waste of money for a plane ticket and accommodation...

    Somebody should sue all lawyers and judges for fexking up the whole system. It needs to be rewritten from scratch, and that goes for the patent system as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Kevin, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 4:30am

    Re:

    Think about it though. The company is based in the UK but was sued in Illinois. I'm not sure it would make sense to hire/pay for the lawyers, send them to Illinois, and have them defend the case (costing a lot of money) that should have been thrown out in the beginning. Once again, we need a world-wide jurisdiction agreement instead of "venue-hopping". Who gave the Illinois court the right to order a UK company to pay up, anyway?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    MC, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 5:08am

    Kevin, you have it right. If the spammer really wanted to do more than just have the court make a statement, they should have filed in a UK court.

    I don't understand why the Illinois judge didn't throw it out on those grounds anyway. Unless the judge was just pissey because someone offended him greatly by not even bothering to show. Judges and lawyers in the US are such prima dona bustards!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    JC, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 5:31am

    The company I work for was blacklisted earlier this year by Spamhaus because we had gotten a worm that use our email system to send out spam. We discovered this and removed the problem, then we contacted spamhaus and went through their steps to get removed from the blacklist and it was rather painless. As long as you can prove that you are not a spammer these type of companies are easy to work with.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Scott, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 5:49am

    Re: suprised?

    If you are talking Area 51 Man, even under UK law, the loony alien hacker boy committed computer trespass.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    The Original Just Me, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 5:49am

    jurisdiction

    I agree with all of the previous posters who mentioned the stupidity of hiring lawyers and flying over to defend against a BS lawsuit.

    Jurisdiction is another reason why people accused of something shouldn't come to the US. Just recently we heard about the two executives who were arresed after being accused of running Internet gambling operations in another country where, presumably it was legal. Dimitry Skiyarov was arrested when he came to the US for a convention.

    Why come here and deal with the potential hassle?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    ScytheNoire, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 5:59am

    USA, always making new friends

    And people wonder why the rest of the world dislikes the USA so much. If it isn't the military, or political elections that are screwed up, or companies suing their own customers, or people spilling coffee on themselves and winning millions, or patents being given for clicking a mouse.

    Face it, the USA is just full of stupidity. There is no logic in things. I live about as close to the US as you can without living in it, and I love it, but so many of the things they do make no sense at all.

    It's just a shame, their current legal system is so screwed up, their political system is so corrupt with corporate money, they make laws that hurt innovation and technology, the pay billions (or more) to keep people who smoke pot locked up, yet they allow huge corporations to destroy hundreds, thousands, millions of lives and families and do nothing.

    Capitalism is wonderful, but not at the expensive of the advancement of mankind and the good of the people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Chris Darrow, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 6:16am

    Re: Directoy Services

    Now come on Tek'a, this is just a stupid reply. Yellow pages lists you have to pay to have white pages are free but you can opt NOT to be listed. The spammers don't get to OPT OUT. I am not saying they are right but your comparison is so far off its not even funny

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Sean, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 6:20am

    Spamhaus should try to counter sue them in the UK and when they dont show up rule in there favour for $22mil

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Gary Wallin, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 6:27am

    A SAD day in Cyberspace for SPAMHAUS

    Another SLAPP lawsuit. (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. ) Environmental groups have been dealing with this for years. Check this newer one: http://www.eausecours.org/anglophone/Express-%C3%94/a43.htm

    Free Speech now requires deep pockets and an Insurance Company that will stand behind you. SAD :(

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    John, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 6:46am

    strange

    I don't see how this flies. Spamhaus offers a service that other companies buy, they don't "block" anyone from their email. They merely sell the capability. Moreover, I wouldn't expect much from a company that replaces their entire web presence with court docucments and case information regarding an $11 million settlement in their favor. Does anyone know their supposed legitmite service they offer?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Spartikus, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 6:55am

    Sean has a good idea...

    It's not even about the hassle or cost it would take to come here and appear in court... Think about it. These little Illinois bums expect representation from a company to appear in a *state* court, to answer to charges which are both hypocritical and pretentious, when the company is based "outside their jurisdiction" (a phrase which is here used to describe the fact that their on another friggn continent).

    If they have the money to spare I think they should actually follow Sean's suggestion, if for no other reason simply to point out the absolute wtf-dom of what's going on. It's rifraggindiculous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Spartikus, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 6:57am

    And uh...

    Also, their = they're.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Spartikus, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 6:58am

    Wait no

    Naw naw I had it right...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    socrates3001, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 7:03am

    Re:

    I did not read anything in this article that proves the state had jurisdiction over an organization in another country. We have unified commercial codes (UCC) in this country with clear precedence defining how a foreign (including "other" states) can be within the jurisdiction of the state where the litigation is happening.

    There is no evidence that spamhause advertises in any state in this country, let alone Illinois. In other words, this will never stand up in an appeals court.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    KarmaShave, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 7:06am

    Re:

    Did you read this? Why should Linford waste his time and money travelling to the US to appear in a court that *has no jurisdiction in the UK*?!?!?!?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    krached, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 7:23am

    Re: UCC and jurisdiction

    You do not understand how uniform laws work. The UCC governs in no state, it is only the particular adoption of the UCC that governs. While the UCC has been widely adopted with very little variation, other uniform laws have not uniformly adopted.

    Second, the UCC governs only the sale of goods. This does not include service contracts or other issues of law, such as the tort of slander. I must admit, I have not read any of the pleadings, but this seems like it would be the strongest argument.

    As for jurisdiction, that is actually quite complicated. State courts are considered courts of general jurisdiction, generally being able to hear almost anything. As for not advertising in this country, with a website, you can be expected to have advertised anywhere. It is not that simple, but most websites would now qualify.

    If a party wants to argue that a court does not have jurisdiction, then they must make what is called a special appearance to contest that. If a party simply shows up and starts arguing the merits of the case, or wants a continuance as the article summary suggests, then the defendant has subjected themselves to the jurisdiction of the court, having waived any rights to bring this up as an error.

    So the spammer has gotten a judgment. This is a big so what unless Spamhaus has some assets in Illinois. Not the plaintiff must go to a UK court and seek to enforce their judgment. I do not anything about enforcing international judgments, so what Spamhaus' rights in that proceeding are I cannot comment on. But for $11 million, I would be pursuing the judgment.

    As for having to come to this country and defend yourself, well, you only need to find an Illinois lawyer to file. Yes, this would cost money, but it is probably cheaper than ignoring the problem.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 7:29am

    So...

    exactly what kind of business is e360insight into anyway? The only thing on their that is not about the case is this one line at the bottom of the page:


    Please contact us with questions about this case or to inquire about our marketing services.


    They don't realize how guilty it makes them look to replace nearly all the content on their site to talk about this one do they?

    I want to know how they are gonna make them pay the $11mil.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Link, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 7:45am

    Re:

    It's not arrogance. By showing up for court, they would have been acknowledging a possibility of guilt. Never mind the fact that the state of Illinois has absolutely *no* jurisdiction in the United Kingdom!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Big Huge Dave, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 7:49am

    Re: USA, always making new friends

    Dear ScytheNoire,

    If you or anyone else dislikes the USA because our country isn't perfect, then I don't want you as an ally of our country.

    There's not a single country on this planet that doesn't have issues with it's political system and/or legal system. To single out the USA on these issues is just moronic, but someone that posts comments like yours make it pretty evident that the author is a moron.

    And by the way, the United States has become a country with the highest standard of living for its citizens in a shorter time than any other country in the world due to our embrace of capitalism. We dont' have perfect capitalism here due to our government and special interest groups, but as I mentioned previously, no country is perfect, but the majority of Americans strive to make this country better.

    If you'd like we can discuss the shortcomings of all the surrounding countries to the United States, and countries in Europe, Asia, etc but why even go there?

    How about not generalizing an entire country based upon the outcome of certain laws, court rulings, the political system's flaws, etc? For example, a lot of Americans talk about how they "hate the French". But not ALL French are bad people, and not ALL French hate the USA.

    I'm happy to be American, I love this country, but I may not love the government officials living off our hard work, and the ridiculous judges that are in the various states of which I have no control over.

    So yes, you offended me with your comments, and most likely other Americans would be offended as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Brad, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 7:59am

    Spamhaus

    One definition of spammer in use by Spamhaus defines a spammer as "anyone who's mailing list signup process doesn't use double-verification" as a spammer. That is if your opt-in list subscription process doesn't ask for an email address, then send a confirming email with a link to verify that idenity before adding the name to your email list, Spamhaus may add you to their list -- and won't remove you until you prove you've updated your process.

    This happened to my company. We had a huge opt-in list that had been built without the email verification process. Every email had a one-click unsubscribe and we had no problems for years.

    We then had a disgruntled ex-employee who visited the site weekly and actually signed up for a newsletter under the email address "webmaster@spamhaus.org". We were instantly on their spam list.

    Over the next few weeks we received hundreds of complaints from subscribers that our emails weren't getting to users who had signed up for them. We contacted Spamhaus directly, asked them to look at our site and our processes and were told that until we updated our subscription process we would remain on their list -- even though only one person had reported us out of list of 1.2 million names!

    During the period we were on their spammers list, we lost tens-of-thousands in sales. We dropped development of other site features and immediatly updated our subscription process. Once the new process was in place, we again contanted Spamhaus and got off their list. We then went through the extraordinary step of requiring our entire mailing list to re-authorize themselves through the new process.

    Sad story? Maybe, it took one person to get us labeled a spammer, and being labeled a spammer cost usa bunch of money.

    I guess the moral is to make it impossible for your site to be considered a spammer and to agressively monitor spamlists to ensure your site isn't on one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Brad, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 8:10am

    Re: Re:

    Careful, Illinois might make a "pre-emptive strike" to protect their national security and bring freedom to those lacking it in the U.K....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Matt, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 8:40am

    Re: strange

    "Does anyone know their supposed legitmite service they offer?"
    I think they sell penis enlargers and keep their customers up to date on cheap stocks that will be increasing in value soon. Both are excellent endeavors!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    James, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 8:44am

    Re: Spamhaus

    You may be right, this may be a situation where an anti-spamming list/process fails... but apparenlty it works ALOT of time if not often enough. AND, bear in mind, it wouldn't even be necessary if there weren't people out there ruining email by spamming in the first place. I for one, stopped giving out my REAL email addresses to company's years ago... very sad.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Sep 15th, 2006 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re: Directoy Services

    Qwest Dex yellow pages charge you a fee to not be listed. WTF?!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 9:14am

    Not sure if it matter, but it was not a "State" court, it was the U.S. District Court, which is federal. This particular U.S. District Court just happens to be in Illinois.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Paul Frankenstein, Sep 15th, 2006 @ 11:48am

    The FRCP is pretty clear on the point that if you're sued, and you fail to show up in court, default judgment is automatically entered against you. That's the way the system works, and there are actually some pretty good reasons why the system's set up that way.

    Admittedly, the spammer has a snowball's chance in hell of actually collecting on the judgment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Your Grammar, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 2:04am

    Re: Wait no

    No, you had it wrong. Their = possessive; they're = they are. You were saying that

    THEIR

    on a different continent.

    you needed THEY'RE

    which is THEY ARE on a different continent.

    If you are worried you were HASTY in your FIRST post, at least try and get it right and TAKE YOUR TIME AND CHECK before your second and third posts. Maroon.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    John, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 7:09pm

    Re:

    >Spamhaus appears to be pretty arrogant in that they didn't show up.

    It seems like someone has misunderstood the situation, a court in Illinois has no jurisdiction in the UK so why should Spamhaus bother to respond. The court should have dismissed the case straight away as it totally clear they have no jurisdiction in this matter.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    BIll, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 10:48pm

    Spamhaus Internet terrorists.

    Spamhaus Internet terrorists.

    Becoming what you oppose
    Editorial by Dave Hayes

    Many folks have asked me why I stopped "contributing" to the everlasting debates in NANA (news.admin.net-abuse.*). I generally respond with something along the lines of "I don't wish to become that which I oppose". Indeed, recently I've "plonked" several entities (among them the terrorists known as "spamhaus" and "spews") simply because I no longer wish to beat my head against the stone wall of ignorance.

    Terrorists? Yes that's right. One definition of "terrorism" is "attacking innocents in the name of your cause". Nowhere is this more ironic and extreme than in the deeds of my old nemesi, the anti-spammer zealotry collective, some of whom are now known as spamhaus and spews. The terrorism they practice is implemented in the form of "mail blacklists".

    Blacklists are not a new notion. In the 1950's, the infamous McCarthy blacklists contained names of "possible communists", which ultimately led us to a more sterile culture.
    The social costs of what came to be called McCarthyism have yet to be computed. By conferring its prestige on the red hunt, the state did more than bring misery to the lives of hundreds of thousands of Communists, former Communists, fellow travelers, and unlucky liberals. It weakened American culture and it weakened itself. ---Victor Navasky, Naming Names (New York: Viking Press, 1980)

    Modern internet technology has created our own version(s) of social blacklists. Many anti-spam zealots have turned to this method for freeing their mailboxes from spam. Simply expressed, these organizations maintain databases which are supposed to contain the IP addresses of known spammers. They then provide these databases to various electronic mail servers, so that the servers can reject email based on what's in these databases.

    The bottom line is, if the machine that sends your email is on this list, a number of mail servers will automatically reject all email from your server.

    If (and only if) they restricted these blacklists to actual spammers, I doubt very seriously that I would have problem with this practice. If we could trust human beings to maintain a logical and calm viewpoint about life, I doubt that I would have a problem with these blacklists. Unfortunately we cannot trust these things in either case.

    Fact: Spamhaus and spews have added innocent IP blocks to their blacklists.

    The anti-spammer idealotry goes like this: "Anyone who gets service from a network friendly to spammers is supporting the spammers and therefore our enemy." (The friend of my enemy is my enemy too?)

    So here's how this goes. Once a network provider is branded "a communist"...er excuse me..."a spammer", ALL of their IP ranges are blocked. Typically a network provider is providing services for smaller service providers, many of whom would never and have never engaged in spamming of any kind. No notice is really given on these blacklisting events, rather you find out when mail starts bouncing to some destination. Usually an end customer is the first to notice, and that customers is directed by the bounce to complain to...their own ISP!

    In essence, the customer is tricked into presenting the terrorist anti-spam agenda to the ISP. The ISP turns around and finds out that their provider (or provider's provider) is what the anti-spam zealots want "silenced". Until that target complies with their arbitrary agenda (usually of the form "stop spamming", but this is not always true...see below), everyone else has to suffer with electronic mail blocks.

    What's wrong with this? Everything.
    * First and foremost, the most often heard reason anti-spammers are so rabid about anti-spam is "it makes electronic mail unusable for average people". If this is true, then how does blocking innocent email help this situation? In fact, blacklisting innocents contributes to the problem. The hypocrisy here is so thick I doubt even a knife can cut it. * The dishonor of the practice of blacklists is amazing. Many naive internet mail administrators add blacklists like spamhaus "because they work to reduce spam". Lots of these sites have no idea that they are being cut off from legitimate email because of these machinations. If their customers really knew that they were cutoff, I wonder how many would still buy service? Getting rid of spam is one thing, blocking that key business email that means $100K in sales is quite another. Lets take this one step further. Person A buys email service from ISP X who is using Spamhaus to block spam email. Person A's daughter, who's income is very low due to being a student in college, buys email service from ISP Y (because it's cheap) who uses IAP S as their connectivity. ISP Y buys network from IAP S because it's cheap. Due to real life constraints, the only contact Person A has with their daughter is email. IAP S suddenly gets put on the anti-spam master blacklist. The same day, Person A's daughter has a car accident. A roommate desperately tries to send email to Person A but it's blocked. Worse, it's blocked because these zealots have an idealogical cause which is set up to be more important than a person's life. This is the height of dishonor. * The practice is quite criminal by many definitions and with criminals on all sides: o Any ISP that is blocked is told to "comply with our demands or be blacklisted" (a.k.a. extortion). o Attacking innocents in the name of their cause (a.k.a. terrorism). o Since the control of the blacklist is out of the hands of the service provider who subscribes to it, by law you must clearly state "random people may be blocked to your email box by other people who are not under our control" before selling "email services". I've never seen this stated on any ISP ad. (a.k.a false advertising) o Blacklisting ISPs is a good way of knocking them out of business (a.k.a restraint of trade) o If spam ever goes away, these organizations will also. Thus they have a vested interest in keeping spam alive (a.k.a playing both sides of the street)

    Do note that the anti-spammers claim these practices are not criminal and will "reduce economic support for the 'spam friendly' ISPs". This claim is quite erroneous:

    Fact: Spammer companies have far more money than most innocents.

    Yep, to the tune of millions of dollars per month. SPAM is big business. Do you think that the income of one little ISP with 1000 customers is going to make any difference against the large income of a spam company? No! All that does is clear more bandwidth for the spammers to use, should the little ISP cave in and switch to another provider.

    While there's no proof (that I'm aware of), it's not so far fetched to open up questions of collusion between "the providers that are anti-spam" and the "anti-spam blacklists". Certain providers, to compete, may pay the blacklist groups lots of money to keep attacking innocents, which gets them more customers in the long run as ISPs fold because they cant afford the connectivity provided by the "anti-spam supporter" providers.

    I've established some things here:
    1. In my opinion, blacklists are bad. 2. The anti-spammers are resorting to clearly criminal activities to further their goals: extortion, restraint-of-trade, terrorism. 3. The effect the anti-spammers are trying to have by blocking innocents only works to destroy email connectivity, the cure is worse than the disease.

    This brings me to my concluding point. The original complaint against spammers included accusations of being criminal. Most spammers are considered criminal. Yet look at the anti-spammers! In their undying eternal zeal to end spam, they have become just what they oppose! Criminals and email destroyers. Gee, isn't this what they call the spammers?

    The aware person realizes that fighting something only makes it stronger. Indeed, when you see two people rabidly on one side or the other, it's very hard to distinguish the two. They almost appear to be the same person, willing to commit any atrocity for the sake of their ideology or economics. What more do I need to know?

    So, in a roundabout way, that's why I don't participate. I've done my days of tilting at windmills. I've presented my pearls, but the swine didn't hear any of them. They've misrepresented my position countless times for their own agendas, failed to understand even the most basic of the concepts I've explained, and twisted what I've said to make me out to be something I am not. ("Spam supporter"...lol)

    I have finally realized that it has less to do with the ability to understand, it's mostly that they are not willing to understand. So in that climate I should once again venture forth into that primal never-ending argumentia that is NANA?

    No. I'm sorry. I have far better things to do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Joe T, Sep 17th, 2006 @ 9:38am

    Re: Spamhaus Internet terrorists.

    "One definition of "terrorism" is "attacking innocents in the name of your cause"."

    Then the spammers were terrorists FIRST. They attacked me in the name of their cause - their bottom line.

    I *CHOOSE* to have my mail server query Spamhaus' database before it decides wether or not to accept mail from a given host. Spamhaus does not force me, pay me, or threaten me to do so. I am happily replying on their judgement to help keep me from spending HOURS PER DAY cleaning up the spam mess that I would have if I did not subscribe to blacklists and use other anti-spam technologies.

    Just to give you some perspective:

    I run a VERY small mail server - for myself, my immediate family, and a few select others. Why? Because my ISP email account was literally BURIED in spam.

    Here are some statistics from yesterday:


    44 messages checked and passed.

    Messages rejected using Anti-Spam site 339 Time(s)
    bl.spamcop.net identified 23 spam messages.
    cbl.abuseat.org identified 1 spam messages.
    dnsbl.njabl.org identified 5 spam messages.
    dul.dnsbl.sorbs.net identified 66 spam messages.
    list.dsbl.org identified 25 spam messages.
    sbl-xbl.spamhaus.org identified 219 spam messages.

    Connections lost:
    Connection lost while CONNECT : 77 Time(s)
    Connection lost while DATA : 209 Time(s)
    Connection lost while EHLO : 18 Time(s)
    Connection lost while HELO : 1 Time(s)
    Connection lost while MAIL : 1 Time(s)
    Connection lost while RCPT : 156 Time(s)


    Errors in HELO/EHLO conversation:
    Helo command rejected: Invalid name: from 3 Host(s), 5 Time(s)
    Helo command rejected: need fully-qualified hostname: from 131 Host(s), 195 Time(s)



    Do the quick math, and you'll see that 44 emails made it through the blacklists and intelligent server checks, and 1001 were blocked. Of those 44, 19 additional emails were marked as bank/paypal type scams by my AV scanner. Of those 1001, around 1/4 of them were blocked by Spamhaus.

    At work, the numbers are even more dramatic, where 7851 spams were blocked for a company of around 100 people. Spamhaus blocked 2325 of them.

    I regularly do random audits of blocked mail to see if it is legitimate, and am partially responsible for the "I didn't get an email from someone" complaints. I have seen perhaps 5 examples of legitimate mail being blocked in the last 2 years. I am completely comfortable with those numbers, which in many cases was solved with a domain-based whitelist for the entity involved.

    Quite frankly, if someone DID shut down Spamhaus, THEY should be sued. I don't know under what legal basis, but "there oughta be a law".

    For those who hate Spamhaus, I have nothing but contempt for you. They are helping ME to solve a large problem. As many commenters have said, if you are NOT a spammer, it's not terrible to get off their list. If you ARE a spammer, or have spam-like list building techniques, you get what you deserve, and I have chosen NOT to accept your email. Too bad - that's MY choice to make.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Enrico Suarve, Sep 18th, 2006 @ 10:38am

    Re: Spamhaus Internet terrorists.

    Erm are you for real?

    Comparing antispam lists to the Mcarthy Lists is maybe just a little harsh?

    Frankly Spamhaus get my vote - I realise blacklists are not a perfect system but what is?

    Simple facts - you can remove yourself from their lists (yes this can be problematic if its actually your ISP but the fact is that someone has to do something)

    I work for a global company and we do get complaints from users that they can't receive emails from contacts in other companies from time to time as their ISP has been blacklisted. When this happens we add the individual email address to a whitelist and the problem is solved from our side, we usually also do the courtesy of directing the person who's been blocked in the direction of whichever blacklist blocked them (we use several) so they can find out what to do, and yes sometimes the advice is change ISPs

    Many of these ISPs allow spammers to create new addresses with impunity and do nothing to stop the mail leaving their IP address or cut back on it, frankly if my ISP were that irresponsible i'd be worried and want to change

    It is annoying from time to time - we get maybe 15 of these requests a year for a segment covering over 20,000 users (not bad odds I think) but its managable

    On the otherhand our email filtering systems failed badly a year or so ago and stopped blocking anything - the email system was completely useless all day due to the amount of crap in it. Connections to them were so slow as to be unusable and even if users could get to them their inboxes were overwhelmed by the sheer number of SPAM mails. Lots of our users then failed to receive legitimate mails as they had run out of inbox space and real business impact was experienced

    If your business plan involves sending SPAM to people in my view it should also allow for serious jail-time, screw lawsuits you should be locked up

    The other comment I have here is please, pretty please, could the US stop trying to be the worlds policeman, judge, jury and torturer - with the exception of the last one you're not really that hot at it anyhow and it just annoys others. Personally I wouldn't waste my companies time and money turning up to some show trial in a court on another continent that has no jurisdiction over me either

    On the other hand can I sue e360insight for the mental anguish their emails have caused me over the years? I could claim a fear of the word viagra and sue them in the offical court of the peoples banana republic of my bathroom

    ......................

    Wait - i've done it, the court finds that e360insight should pay damages of $500million and one rubber duck

    Now I just need to alter my website and put the official court transcript on there (its actually quite short since they didn't show and my daughter wanted the toilet which shortened proceedings)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2006 @ 4:28am

    Bullshit

    1, the case has now set a precident
    2, if he was so absolutely positive that he was right, I would have show up for court.

    The fact that he's in th UK blah blah blah is ok and all, but you have two people you dont know.

    Because one side (spamhause) is on the side of the 'right and just' (what bullshit THAT comment is) and the other is already labled a spammer, he's automatically in the wrong.

    Cool, if you were in kindergarten.....

    I personally dont know either of them, and regardless of who's "side" one or the other is on, prove to me you didnt fuck up ...dont tell me "Linford insists that the company in question absolutely is a spammer and he won't remove them -- and he doesn't see why it should cost him millions of dollars for being honest and keeping his list accurate."

    I say im the pope. Who here believes me? ....you will either scoff at the obvious bullshit and /or demand what?

    PROOF!.

    How many of you guys have found errors on your credit reports? How many times were you pissed off at not only the dumbass who messed up, but how difficult it is to fix it. Now compound that fact that it now affects your business.....people see your credit, they don't know/think/ or even CARE that it's a mistake.

    If you are going to do something that affects someones livelyhood (not spam, but legitimate business) then you had best be fucking accurate and PROVE your actions when asked as well as correcting mistakes.

    NOT to sit back and refuse.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Kevin, Sep 19th, 2006 @ 4:55am

    Re: Re:

    Just thought I would outline what someone with half a brain (me) can think of....try thinking once in a while, you might even come off as a nit wit.>:)

    Pick up telephone:
    Hi, im so and so in the UK, I need to be represented in OHIO court. Here is the evidence, here is this, here is that.

    This is my position, this is theirs, this is why I'm right and this is why they are wrong.
    The court date is
    Can you represent me?
    yes?, great.

    How much.

    Hourly rate is 400 an hour, and you estimate this will be about 2 hours of work.

    Ok, done deal.
    Hang up phone.

    YOU personally do NOT have to appear. YOU do NOT have to send a lawyer from the UK to the US.

    The opposite of your arguement applies, who gives the right to UK lawyers to appear in US court? They may have passed the US bar, but unless they are licensed in to practice law in that state, they cant do jack anyway.

    The company brought the issue to court for one reason, not to get money, but to have his case heard in a court of law and force the company to PROVIDE PROOF not just say they are "positive that the company is a spammer".

    I say prove it.

    But thats just me, I don't like blacklists, they remind me of the 50's Mccarthyism.

    Fuck
    That

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    ||bass, Sep 19th, 2006 @ 2:45pm

    Stay in the UK

    I just hope the CEO of this company doesn't have any US vacation plans for the next 60 years because should he ever set foot on US soil, he would be immediately arrested for contempt of court and probably imprisoned for a very long time.

    As long as he stays out of the US, he should be fine though. I've owed nearly $1000 in taxes to Fife, Scotland for several years now and they can't legally collect from me because I'm a US citazen in the US. I just need to stay out of the UK.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Enrico Suarve, Sep 20th, 2006 @ 1:40am

    Re Re Re & Re Bullshit

    OK So e360Insight were doing this out of the greatness of their hearts and it was nothing to do with the $11million dollars?

    Er OK I'll pretend to buy that for a moment

    My company have been on the SpamHaus Blacklist before - we were attacked by a mail worm and ended up flooding the internet with crap SMTP mail, yeah this was a little embarassing since we buy their list

    If you contact them they willingly tell you why you are blacklisted and steps you can take to remove the listing - its actually quite an easy process even my manager could follow it

    So why the big deal? (unless it really is a multiple cock-up in which case if you were serious about things, you would raise an action in a country which DID have jurisdiction over the lister)

    Here's a thought as to why I would not turn up at court... (and by turn up I mean involve myself or my company in such a bullshit legal action in any way - I KNOW you don't have to physically go in person)

    1) I DO have genuine contempt of US courts - they are corrupt as hell and the sue first, think later culture they promote is undermining the bedrock of your society (lots of happy lawyers though)

    2) Kevin seems to think this would be 2x hours at $400 an hour (personally I think hes underestimating the cost but hell)
    And since when was involving a lawyer as simple as a quick conversation and no further involvement - obviously not someone whos had too much time dealing with them (lucky man)

    That's 800$ minimum assuming that they show up, you show your evidence and the judge throws out the case with no counters, no one asks for an ajournment etc etc...
    Now take a look at the number of Spammers Vs the Number of listing agencies

    You were talking about a precedent - yeah, well now there is one but fortunatly for the rest of the world its only in the states - maybe you guys will be banned from using blacklists as an eventual result which would be unfortunate

    The other precedent here is that if I as a lister constantly 'go' to other courts in other countries to defend every action I will shortly have no time or money to do my main business...

    I too wish there was a better way of proceeding but I've always found the listers to be quite accurate and actually quite helpful (they know that a SERIOUS company would raise an action in a way which WOULD mean heavy penalties - not in just a theoretical, cancel your holiday plans to the US sort of way...)

    We've established people on this thread don't like blacklists and that I don't like US courts taking on actions they have no jurisdiction over...

    The big question to all the brainiacs - SUGGEST SOMETHING BETTER

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Trouble Maker, Oct 9th, 2006 @ 6:27am

    two cents worth

    I guess as a Spamee I can sue Spamers for $11 million right?

    I have a EUlA on my computer, stating that anyone, company, software action, that installs software on my computer agrees to pay usage fees of $1200.00 a day. I guess I need to add the email spammer clause to it as well.

    Go on and Spam me....(cha-ching!)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Alan Roberts, Oct 11th, 2006 @ 10:08am

    Spamhaus

    My company clients are about to team up together and start proceedings against Spamhaus and Steve (the crook) Linford. We have about 2000 members who will be donating several thousands of £'ssss to start to sue these rougues. For years my clients ask me for information on events we run by email but they are often blocked by Spamhaus and the CBL. Having spoke to our solicitors there may be something under the DPA that may make this illegal. Also we emailed that blackmailer Steve Linford and got a vile threatening email back, in a word arrogence springs to mind. Also a visit to their London HQ proves what people say about Spamhaus, it's just an accomadation address in Marylebone. However Steve Linford does have quite a nice London pad that may require a visit to ask him some questions about his operations in the UK. Spamhaus has almost wrecked my company but i not going to stand for it no more.

    Has anyone had any other problems with this company?!!!

    Alan Roberts (London)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Mar 26th, 2007 @ 4:06am

    idiots

    You must be able to get your ISP to simply tag as spam messages, rather than delete them, so if you fell afraid that legitimate messages are being blocked, they will still get through, and you can see the address and white-list it.
    If you are running the filter yourself, you choose which list to use. If you disagree with enough of the list, change sources or make your own.
    If you are a legitimate mailing list, you can specify on your signup page that you may be blocked as spam by some blacklists, so the user knows they may need to whitelist you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    SpamHaus totally flawed, Oct 20th, 2007 @ 11:34pm

    SpamHaus has lost everyone's respect

    I hope SpamHaus gets shut down. Not because they started off good, but because they are now the REAL problem.

    They have the nerve to place newly listed domains on their spam blacklist, without any investigation. What a bunch of crooks! And trust me, I am no spammer.

    I know I'm not the only non spammer complaining about these idiots (SpamHaus)

    I assume, a competitor or Steve Linford wanted their hands on certain domains, and were frustrated or jealous...

    They might have been good in the past, but I see them going downhill...its all downhill for them now.

    They definitely should get shutdown for all these "oversights" that they commit, seems they have their own agenda.

    If you (SpamHaus) cannot do your job properly, DON'T do it. Dont self appoint yourself as the moral spam guardian of the world.

    Enough said.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Sumi, Nov 18th, 2008 @ 1:38pm

    CBL / Spamhaus

    CBL / Spamhaus actually may have other issues concerning the manner in which they handle NDR's. Our outgoing mail IP started appearing on Spamhaus and we continued to remove it. We checked all outgoing / relayed servers with Microsofts Malicious Software Removal Tool and various products by Trend Micro. All servers came up clean. We contacted CBL multiple times asking for the information and have not recieved a response. As it turns out our Spamfilter manufacturer stated that CBL has been blacklisting IP because NDR is turned on, and is interpereted as a WORM by CBL. NDR's is part of the manner in which we do business, and our dealers get responses if an inquiry / claim / order....etc was sent in and blocked for whatever reason. If we turn NDR's off then that communication is lost. That is a legitimate use of our Spam Filter that is possible disrupted by CBL / Spamhaus.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Scott, Nov 19th, 2008 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Correct, Legally

    By ignoring the case they are, in effect, acknowledging that the court has no jurisdiction over them. Great move IMHO, since international law makes it much more difficult to collect money, and if I were spamhaus, i'd simply refuse.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Matthew Pollock, Nov 29th, 2008 @ 3:50am

    What IS spam?

    What IS spam? Seems to me there's not enough thought given to the issue.

    We have, for example, a business for which there are around 4,500 customers in the world.
    > We meet them at a party, and ascertain that we're potential business partners, and follow up with an e-mail - is that spam?
    > We get recommendations from friends, that other friends might be interested in our services, and mail them - is that spam?
    > We rigorously comb the net and identify people who would genuinely be pleased to receive mails from us, and are interested in our service, and sent them an email - is that spam?

    I suggest that none of these are spam.

    Spamming (I suggest) is not sending one or two emails which happen to be poorly targeted, if the wider list has been carefully and well selected.

    Spamming is sending a whole lot of emails to a largely un-targeted audience, in the vague hope that one or two in a million may reply.

    In other words whether something is spamming or not, is about the relative care with which the list has been selected, not about the fact that the person has pre-indicated that they wish to receive mail from me.

    I send mail to friends, but none of them explicitly sign consent forms to receive mail from me. Am I spamming them? No, because I know that they are likely to welcome mail from me (though sometimes they don't).

    There's your criterion - whether someone is likely to welcome mail. Having explicitly given consent is NOT the issue.

    It would be wholly impractical to require emails not to be sent unless consent had been given.

    Just as it would be wholly impractical to forbid all advertising unless all potential viewers of the ad had consented.

    It would also be impractical to forbid all letters, unless potential recipients had consented.

    Spam is not about explicit consent. It is about the care and concern with which the recipient has been selected.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Ross, Dec 9th, 2008 @ 10:27am

    Spamhaus

    What many people here don't seem to have grasped is that Spamhaus ruins businesses. If you're an anti-capitalist moron then story over. But if you work for a business (many of you) then you're affected indirectly.

    Firstly companies who subscribe to Spamhaus's services do so on the understanding that their filter will block spam. It can and does. But it also blocks domains and ISPs related to what they "deem spam". I can tell you now that if subscribers knew they weren't getting certain (non-spam) emails because of Spamhaus software, they'd stop using it pdq. Spamhaus would go out of business because we buy software because we don't want to write it ourselves. Not only is Spamhaus very arrogant in its dealings with wrongly affected parties but it also trumpets "you can't sue us nah nah nah". Quite wrong in fact.

    What spamhaus has been comparied with are "internet terrorists" and I for one would rather know I'm receiving everything I'm expecting and a few "proper" span emails than no spam and no email from the person I was epecting an email from.

    Spamhaus apparently hasn't even heard of innocent mailservers being hijacked (relaying). If you've been affected by relaying there's a very good chance your server domain has been blacklisted FOREVER by spamhaus.

    I equate them with speed cameras: indiscriminate. And isn't that what spam's supposed to be?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Rodrigo Gregorio, Sep 30th, 2010 @ 6:06am

    fuck Spamhaus

    your blocked all ip range 189.25.*.* i want my R$ 5 million

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This