Vigilante Spamming For Political Good?
from the ends-justify-the-means? dept
Last year, we pointed out that the various high profile attempts to build vigilante anti-spam systems that bombarded spammers back seemed like a bad idea. And, while some of the attempts have succeeded in annoying spammers, sooner or later they were going to fight back. Earlier this year, one of the most well-known names attempting such a vigilante system, Blue Security, was shut down after spammers started spamming all of its members and getting hit with a massive denial of service attack. Not much has been heard about the company since then, but it looks like they've now come back with a new plan (and a new name), though it really doesn't sound much better. It's once again based on the idea that if they do a bad thing, but for a good cause, it should be okay. This time, they've taken their vigilante spamming effort and set it to work for political campaigns. Basically, people will now be able to use it to flood petitions, online comment forms or other feedback mechanisms with canned messages of support or protest. This isn't a particularly new idea. Plenty of "advocacy" groups have used similar ideas to flood policy makers over issues -- especially when it comes to television indecency complaints -- and it hasn't done much good. All it does is inflate the views of a particular constituency way out of balance. While the policies that this reinvention of the company are looking to support seem like good ones, it's worrisome that they're planning to use such bad tactics to do so.