Loopholes Galore Mean Political Spam Should Be In Your Inbox Shortly

from the wonderful dept

Political spam is nothing new. We first wrote about it nearly six years ago, during the 2000 Presidential elections. Since then, there have been plenty of articles on it, and plenty of examples of politicians using it (though, some believe that it can cause more people to vote for the spammed politician’s opponent). However, a few legal loopholes could mean a lot more political spam this election season, even as people are getting more and more fed up with spam. The first is that the CAN SPAM act just so happens to exempt political spam (politicians exempting themselves from a law? what a surprise…). The second was the recent ruling that internet political communications were not subject to federal election rules. This makes sense for a lot of reasons — because such regulations could ban all sorts of political talk online, from blogs to emails. However, in giving the internet total freedom, some fear that lots of money that can’t go directly into a campaign will now get funneled into political spamming campaigns. It’s a way to help promote a candidate without the traditional limitations. Of course, as we mentioned at the beginning, there is still the risk that such actions could actually end up influencing voters in the opposite direction — away from the spamming politician. However, since we live in a world where overwhelming and unavoidable political advertising seems to be seen as a good thing by most political operatives, it seems unlikely for many to realize that not annoying everyone might actually make sense for once.

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Comments on “Loopholes Galore Mean Political Spam Should Be In Your Inbox Shortly”

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Claire Rand says:

shotgun email...

and to think, heres me in th UK… stuck with a ‘.com’ email addy, so i daresay i’ll get stacks of this crap as well, along with all the other ‘offers’ that make no sense since i’m outside the US (not that i’d fall for them anyway).

more food for thunderbird i guess.

honestly from an ‘end user’ point of view filters are making this a moot point, though i can see servers being hammered.

but as for politicos drafting laws that they themselves are exempt from… why is *that* considered ‘news’ its always been that way, and always will be.

Dosquatch says:

politispam backlash

It’s true that spam, as hated as it is, might push voters the other way. Knowing this, though, what’s to stop campaign A from sending spam promoting campaign B in an effort to cash in on this backlash?

Not that it matters either way. The backlash effect only matters if only one candidate is engaging in politispam. That’s not likely. Once the muckraking starts, whatever the venue, the other candidates are going to be right there, live and in color in the naked bipartisan muck wrestling match.

Just One Guy says:

Re: politispam backlash

Dosquatch is right in both ways – besides campaign A using spam promoting campaign B trying to irritate citizens AGAINST campaign B, the real point lies elsewhere:

Once BOTH candidates start sending spam, either honestly promoting their own candidacy, or deviously trying to irritate voters against the other candidate, who are the voters pushed to vote for? Or against?

claire rand says:

cold calls

only had two politicos cold call me, told both of em i was gunna vote for em, but since they annoyed me with a call i now wasn’t going to.

other way (quickest way) to get them off the phone is just say your a life long voter for them, but don’t have the time to talk.

likewise i tell every polester a different (random) story.

Moneyguy says:

Re: Send it back

I have to admit to receiving political spam. However, to their credit when I asked to be removed from their list I didn’t receive any more. (Yes, I know asking to be removed isn’t a smart thing with most spam, but I was curious.)

I was also fascinated at just how well crafted the message was. Links to “news” stories supporting the candidate or issue. Donation requests, links to get information to become involved … it was oddly compelling. Not like the message from “Marta Conley” with the subject line of “Dharma not kiwi” telling me about the next great energy stock.

Loyola Nerd says:

Flood Schools with Political Email?

Well, I think this is bull$#!t seeing that we already get enough spam. The emails might look wonderful, but that’s exactly what they want to happen, it’s sensationalism. Something I just thought about, is these politicians might head for college email networks, and flood them out with polit-mail. After all, we are the “future” and a pretty easy target. My school runs on the new Internet 2 with up to 10 MBit/Sec connections, I wonder if our networks are prepared for the attack. Any further insights on this?

Moneyguy says:

Re: Flood Schools with Political Email?

I wouldn’t put it past politicians or anyone for that matter to flood whatever institution that is a good target market.

Although the politicians have been complaining about the “apathetic youth” and their involvement with politics. Maybe colleges are not good targets?

I used to work for OSU’s Supercomputer Center and the only thing that ate up the bandwidth on a regular basis were file sharing programs. Every once in a while an email virus or denial of service attack would slow things down. Politispam eating up the bandwidth? Probably not because of the backlash. Or maybe that’s what THEY want?

Loyola Nerd says:

Re: Re: Flood Schools with Political Email?

I think that politicians might hit us college students because they’re “angry” at our generation as a whole. I might not be talking for every college student right now, but I think students don’t vote because they disagree with both parties. I’m 18 right now, so I’ll be voting in the next election, but when Bush and Kerry were going at it in 2004, I did not want either of them in office. They just picked apart each other’s “pot-smoking and law breaking ordeals” and this and that and blah, blah, blah, SHUT UP! We all make wrong decisions get over it. They’re both immature, in my opinion and so I wouldn’t have voted because I didn’t agree with their views. You can’t make a politician happy these days i guess.

David Valdez says:

Politicians Suck

Well must people think in certain way because they are republicans and or the other party either way they end up affecting the state or even the whole country but they doesn’t realize that not everything goes into politics. Not because there is ways to put new laws and changing them every whatever it means the country or the world is going to be fine its not, because I heard that they put the laws and they are the first ones to brake it so, what do you guys think about that? and it is not only in this country it happens in different countries around the world but always they found the way to cover themselves and they’re messes like I said before POLITICIANS SUCK.

g says:

RNC spamming

I used to work for a company that sent the RNCs email before they took it over themselves. They would generate email addresses by paying “free lottery” sites to collect email addresses to let people gamble.

Then they would spam these users. There were sometimes a blurb about mail coming from RNC before you signed up, but usually not. Sometimes the email lists were just rented from other sources.

The RNC at least was very dirty in its mailing from a technologists standpoint. Im sure the DNC wasnt really any better. Maybe less hypocritical since RNC stands on anti-gambling when doing its church rounds.

Cary says:

I plan on following a simple rule

If they send me spam, they loose my vote. I don’t care if I vote for the 6th guy on the ballot instead of the other 5 ahead of him.

I know a couple of candidates for public office in this year’s elections. I plan on telling them that. Please tell any candidates that you know. They can spread the word to other candidates as well. If enough of us tell them the consequences now, then maybe they will see the light before they start up the spam machines.

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