Anti-Spammer Fined For DNS Lookup Of Spammer

from the ouch dept

Anti-spam activists often need to do quite a bit of hunting to track down the real identity of various spammers. Over the years, spammers have become increasingly adept at hiding from those trying to shine light on their activities. However, when one well-known anti-spammer used some standard whois and DNS lookup tools (the same kind many of us use every day) to find out the identity of a spammer, the spammer sued him... and won! The anti-spammer has to pay over $60,000 in fines, and possibly much more once lawyers' fees are added up. The judge ruled that some rather basic tools suddenly constituted "hacking" even though the details don't suggest any actual hacking. The anti-spammer simply used the tools available to get the information necessary. He didn't need to break through any security or do anything malicious to get the info. If you read the ruling, it sounds like a judge could define plenty of perfectly normal online activities as "hacking." Update: There's a good discussion in the comments, suggesting that there's a lot more going on here than is clear from the article itself. The judge's finding of facts suggest that the anti-spammer did some questionable things, including lying and ignoring an injunction -- which certainly hurt his case. However, others are suggesting that the judge's finding of facts are incorrect and there's much more to this story that will come out on appeal.

Filed Under: anti-spam, fines


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  1. identicon
    Some Guy, 18 Jan 2008 @ 1:01pm

    No web surfing in Cass County ND allowed

    I have seen this so many times. One side spews a bunch of crap to the judge and the other side fails to call them on it.

    As many have said this happens in the background when you go to websites. It amazes me that they didn't just run a packet capture on someone (maybe even the judge herself) to show that going to a website will do the same thing.

    Of course the average user does not know how to perform these kinds of actions. There is a small group of people building blacklists so you (and your children)are not getting a ton of penis enlargement, and "have sex with local dripping wet [insert explicative]" advertisements in your inbox.

    Quite frankly I am upset at the defense in this case because they allowed this misinformed judge to set this precedent. There is no choice in the matter, it must be appealed. Otherwise typing "www.google.com" into your browser and hitting GO will be considered hacking in Cass County North Dakota, and all because Judge Cynthia Rothe-Seeger failed to see through the bullshit of a professional liar, the spammer.

    Someone should tell her what news groups are often used for. Maybe when the topic of trading images in violation of 18 USC 2252 (aka child porn) comes up maybe she will do something right and issue a warrant to have the news groups examined by law enforcement. Then they can take on the never ending task of tracking down everyone that uploaded and downloaded all contraband images.

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