Re: porn ads

Subject: Re: porn ads
From: Bill Bledsoe <bill -dot- bledsoe -at- CMS-STL -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 12:31:05 -0500


congrats! You've been spammed.

more below....

Rebecca Carr wrote:

> I have a serious question.
> Does anyone know who I can complain to regarding pornographic picture
> advertisements coming to me on my email?

This is one of the most annoying trends in email, and I'm sorry to say
that your call to the attorney general in your state will get you no
where. Under current US Law, spam is okay, because if you do not let
people spam, it is a violation of freedom of speech. Now... there's
some interesting case law here... and I can't cite anything... except
that I'm pretty sure the "spam king" got sued by AOL, and I think he was
allowed to continue... based on freedom of speech. (Help on this

> It has happened several times
> and I am getting really mad about it. I also am getting alot of JUNK
> ads (on how to make a million in a week, chain letters, etc), but
> I wonder is there is any agency monitoring this and investigating the
> senders?

Well... there's no one agency "in charge" of the internet. The NSA here
in the states has some juristiction, as well as the FBI and the Justice
Dept. But... not much, due to the global nature of the 'net.

> The latest mail says that if I scroll down the message, I am
> automatically signing on and attesting to my legal age.

That probably means that there is pornographic content in the message.
There is no law against pornography on the 'net and there probably won't
be one for a long time, again because of the global nature of the
internet... there's just too many places to regulate right now.

> I called the
> attorney general's office and someone is calling me back. I reported
> them to my system administrators. Here at work, I mostly get laughs
> but it's not funny to me.

The 'net ain't perfect... and this is one of the "downsides." Consult
with your sys admin group again, as the firewall at your facility might
be able to provide you with some relief. A compotent sys admin who
knows something about internet mail should be able to tell from the
header of the message that you have where the message came from. I
would take the issue to your boss if you feel the group is not doing
their level best to help with the problem... but... again... there are
very few "things" you can do to eliminate this problem right now.

> Usually, when I try to send a message back
> telling them to stop sending me stuff, I get a message that the
> address
> does not exist, or someone answers denying they know anything about
> it.

It is unfortunately very easy to "fake" return addresses, as well as
"send" these messages from someone elses' servers clandestinely. Again,
this is a technological limitation of the internet, one which security
experts are addressing but that will take time to correct due to the
nature of internet technologies.

How did you get on this spamming list? Well... you've probably posted
to a newsgroup that is public. Listservs (like this one) can be
protected (and Eric, correct me if I'm wrong... but Techwr-l is), but
the freeware news servers usually offer no protection from spam miners,
who troll these newsgroups automatically for email addresses. That's
why you'll see people putting things like "nospam" in their return
addresses. I would suggest that you do that if you post to any public
newsgroups. And... if you think that TECHWR-L is the source of your
spam, then you should notify Eric.

In the short term, changing your email address at your work, while a big
pain, will provide you some relief. Then, changing your reply-to
address to include something like "spamblock" will help as well.

good luck!
Bill Bledsoe
Senior Technical Writer - CMS
Bill -dot- Bledsoe -at- cms-stl -dot- com or intlidox -at- anet-stl -dot- com

Prediction 4
"The people who are studying Tai Chi Chuan instead
of saving money are planning to beat us up and take
our stuff when we've retired"

Scott Adams - The Dilbert Future
If Bill Said it, Bill said it... Not CMS. Got it?

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