Does The EU Have Jurisdiction Over Email Scammers In Nigeria?

from the didn't-think-so dept

The EU's certain to have spammers and email scammers shaking in their boots with the news that consumer-protection bodies across the continent are now working together to stop international email scams. "Joined-up enforcement across the EU will help to stamp out scams and leave the sharks with nowhere to hide," says one politician. Nowhere to hide, indeed... except outside of the EU, maybe. See, the thing about the internet is that it's a global network, and you don't have to be anywhere near a particular place to target people there with scams and attacks, regardless of what the politicians think. Spam, phishing and other email-based problems aren't going to be solved by legislation or government intervention. In the first place, it's ineffective, and even if it weren't, the scammers would simply pick up their digital sticks and operate from somewhere else with a less aggressive regulatory environment. Dealing with spam and email scams demands technical solutions -- blocking and stopping the messages, or other approaches -- and social ones -- getting people to quit buying from spam and to stop falling for phishing and other scams. Legislative and regulatory solutions that help solve the problem, rather than make it worse, are hard to come by. But again, that's not important when there's a chance for politicians to make themselves look helpful.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    misanthropic humansit, Jan 3rd, 2007 @ 5:08pm

    no easy way

    Short answer - no. I think you're right Carlo, it's just a whackamole game. Analogous in very many ways to the illegal drug trade.

    Long answer - no way! But for complex reasons. Stick with the drug trade anology for a moment. Qui bono? Or "follow the money".

    There's a vast grey area here. I can't see any government or trading bloc attacking the spammers at root, because the "legitimate" cold marketeers are too tied up in the whole process.

    Killing the demand might help. The most effective way to destroy the spammers would be to out-compete them, say by reducing the price and increasing the availability of what they offer. That means allowing the over the counter sale of V14g12a and w4r3z :) Not going to happen is it?

    Black markets exist because "white" markets are over-regulated. If you legalised dope, cocaine and heroin overnight and allowed people to grow and sell their own the international drug markets would collapse. The reason this does not happen is too many powerful interests are mixed up in profiting from that trade.

     

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  2.  
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    PhysicsGuy, Jan 3rd, 2007 @ 5:16pm

    getting people to quit buying from spam and to stop falling for phishing and other scams.

    it'll be a cold day in hell before that happens. a technical solution is the only apparent approach. some people hate to hear this but here it goes: the majority of people are too stupid to realize what they're doing. seriously, as "mean" or "arrogant" as it comes across, it is the cold hard truth. the aol user base is the best demonstration of this. phishing was running rampant on aol. aol sent out e-mails and posted plenty of warnings everywhere telling people never to give out their personal information. did the majority of people listen? needless to say when aol put up "The AOL staff will never ask for your password or billing information." on the IM window, all you had to do was add "Please disregard the warning below" to the phishing line you used to try to hook them and they bit. i could imagine it's even worse now that phishing scams involve actual web pages. either way, you should be looking for a technical solution; a social solution is inevitably going to fail because, despite a very low cutoff point, intelligence of some sort will be needed to discern whether someone's cast their bait at you.

     

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  3.  
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    Anita @ Say No to Crack, Jan 3rd, 2007 @ 5:20pm

    IP addresses?

    How many IP addresses does Nigeria have, 10 maybe? OK, they probably have more, but possibly not many (based on the news that Wikipedia blocked all of the Qatar by blocking 1 IP address).

    I ask because why doesn't the EU just block all Nigerian IP addresses? Problem solved. They do this type of thing for kiddie porn all the time, why not egregious spam?

     

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  4.  
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    misanthropic humanist, Jan 3rd, 2007 @ 6:25pm

    Re:

    It's amazing how many computer literate people get tickled too. Have you never almost clicked on dodgy link? I have - what gave it away was loads of redirects. Yeah, it's hard to say just how stupid the average user is without sounding mean and arrogant, but we all know the horrible truth, just remember that us "savvy" users get hooked too sometimes, and that puts it into perspective, most people I know *could* get hooked. It's also very hard to say anything to them which helps protect them, and like you say the scams are getting more and more sophisticated.

     

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  5.  
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    emma Salgado, Jan 3rd, 2007 @ 8:07pm

    Perhaps if there was a mandatory high school course on detecting spam and not falling for it. spam detection 101. full proof.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2007 @ 8:08pm

    I know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    How about they send out a lot of spams too, but if people go to the spam sites they get a YOU ARE STUPID AND DON'T DO THIS

     

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  7.  
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    good, Jan 3rd, 2007 @ 8:35pm

    that is a defeatist attitude

    This is a good thing. You must not have noticed that most of the phishing and check fraud spam is now coming out of EU countries. It is about time that they clean house. If they can just stop the junk coming out of the EU it will be at least a start. They should do nothing because they can't stop everything? Gotta disagree with you on this one. You have to start somewhere.

     

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  8.  
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    Erstazi, Jan 3rd, 2007 @ 9:52pm

    Re: Re: misanthropic humanist

    Off subject, but I would like to comment on it. Bill Hicks was the best. Too bad we don't have as many people along those lines today.

     

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  9.  
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    Cathartic, Jan 4th, 2007 @ 1:42am

    So how should

    When the Italian government tells ISPs to block child porn, then your response is that the government should instead go after the child pornography sites themselves.

    When the EU tries to enact legislation that would help it confront spammers then you say the correct solution is to use blocking instead.

    Are you taking contradictory positions? It appears to me that you are more interested in opposing whatever our legislatures are trying to do, rather than coming up with a coherent position on how objectionable activities of any sort should be prevented on the internet.

     

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  10.  
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    Justin Pakosky, Jan 4th, 2007 @ 4:32am

    Re: So how should

    Short: What Cathartic Said!!!

     

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  11.  
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    Guido Mulder, Jan 4th, 2007 @ 7:09am

    Regulatory Solutions

    How about enforcing ISPs to maintain higher spam blocking standards, on a per country basis, and also requiring ISPs to utilize anit phishing technology. As always, this moves the bar up and does not solve the problem, but can help to fight it.

     

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  12.  
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    Carlo, Jan 4th, 2007 @ 8:47am

    Re: So how should

    I don't think they're contradictory positions at all, rather they take the similar position that governments should intervene in places where it's most appropriate and their resources can best be used. In the instance in Italy, having ISPs block sites is a band-aid, not a solution, as it does little to actually take down the sites (or indeed, even block people from accessing them, thanks to encryption and proxies and so on). In this case, revolving around email, cross-border cooperation will have little effect because spammers and scammers can work from outside the EU very easily. We also didn't call for the government to block spam, and there's hardly a reason for it to do so, since the market generally demands it, and plenty of parties are happy to oblige.

     

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  13.  
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    william i, Jan 4th, 2007 @ 4:46pm

    Re: IP addresses?

    that is one of the most stupid comments I have seen in my life, nigeria has 10 IP addresses, dummy more like 1.5 million landlines, 25 million cellphones and 5 million computers online, so that is a heck more than 10 IP addresses, do your research b4 you post dumb comments

     

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  14.  
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    Elane, Jul 1st, 2007 @ 9:37am

    I'm so tired of receiving email from these people. Is there anything we can do to stop them. I block all emails I receive from them but they keep changing email addresses. Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

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  15.  
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    Hoselita Ikoli, Aug 18th, 2008 @ 11:45am

    Re: IP addresses?

    Yes block all Nigerian address and the innocent surfers.
    All expatriate will be held at bay. No business. The US will probably surfer. OIL. REMEMBER!

    Beside there are humans also trying to break free from this so call Nigerian curse.

     

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  16.  
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    LINDA HAMMOND, Nov 15th, 2009 @ 9:30am

    I NEED SOME INFORMATION

    DOES LAGOS NIGERIA HAVE LAND LINES, LIKE HOUSE PHONES I THINK I AM BEING SCAMMED AND I NEED TO KNOW THIS INFORMATION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. IT IS VERY URGENT

     

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