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Spam Fighter Hit With $11.7 Million Judgment
engine




msg:3084643
 5:53 pm on Sep 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

The nonprofit group behind a popular blacklist used to block spam has been hit with a multimillion-dollar judgment, but the order may not be enforceable.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ordered Wednesday that Spamhaus must pay $11,715,000 in damages to e360insight and its chief, David Linhardt, who sued the U.K.-based organization earlier this year over blacklisting.

The court also barred Spamhaus from causing any e-mail sent by e360insight or Linhardt to be "blocked, delayed, altered, or interrupted in anyway" and ordered Spamhaus to publish an apology stating that Linhardt and his company are not spammers, according to a copy of the order.

Spam Fighter Hit With $11.7 Million Judgment [news.com.com]

 

Wlauzon




msg:3086275
 8:58 am on Sep 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

On topic - nobody and I repeat, NOBODY should be allowed to censor email communication for whatever reason!

If my post office (snake mail that is) refuses to forward any (even junk) mail to me I will sue them to their bones - their business is to FORWARD mail - any mail - and not only the one I or they like! And, I may add - without reading it.

I fail to see why electronic mail should be treated different. The only one to decide if an email is wanted or unwanted is the recipient. If it is unwanted, it will be deleted.

MORE total BS!

You are not being censored. You are being BLOCKED. There is a world of difference. You can use your "free speech" all you want, I am using MY option to NOT listen to you by using the Spamhaus list to block you.

You PAY THE POST OFFICE MONEY. Why is the practical and legal difference so hard to grasp?. The post office is a government organization that charges you money for a service. When YOU start paying 39 cents for each outgoing email, THEN you can whine about your mail not being forwarded.

If you cannot see why electonic mail is so much different in so many ways, legally and practically, then there is not much I can say.

To put it bluntly, I do not want your or anyone elses crap unsolicited email in MY box. *I* am the one paying for the mailbox, not you.

And I can believe the 10,000 emails a day. We are not that popular, but even then I see over 5,000 a week of trashed and bounced emails from the server stats. And it keeps going up as I add more and more filters. It has gotten to the point where I have almost the entire continent of Africa blocked now, and about 1/3 of Europe. My IP block list alone is hundreds of lines. But I don't mess around any more, I used to block each address as it showed up, now I just use something like 213.*.*

[edited by: Wlauzon at 9:05 am (utc) on Sep. 17, 2006]

DamonHD




msg:3086290
 9:35 am on Sep 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi jtara,

Yes, my deluged email address(es) are back from USENET days, maybe even before Cantor&Segal reared their VERY ugly heads. (Where are they now? Can we sue THEM for all the consequential losses their horrible example caused, maybe many tens of billions USD to end users and legitimate merchants/etc together?)

And so I assume your and my addresses ended up in several copies/variants on each of those horrid "346 MILLION FRESH EMAIL ADDRESS" CDs that the SPAMmers used to hawk alongside their #*$! pills. Clearly no honour amongst thieves even. Haven't seen so many of those ads these days, at least.

Rgds

Damon

lammert




msg:3086315
 10:34 am on Sep 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

I fail to see why electronic mail should be treated different. The only one to decide if an email is wanted or unwanted is the recipient. If it is unwanted, it will be deleted.

Therefore, I applaud the judgement.

You fail to see that electronic mail isn't treated different. Every spammer is free to send emails to me. Every spam messages enters the network card of my mail server, and every spam message is evaluated by the CPU of my mail server which is physically less than 10 inches away from the harddisk where my received mail is stored.

It is me as an Spamhaus end-user who decides to block the mail or not. My IP whitelist, Spamhaus' blocklist and some other criteria are used to decide if I want to receive, or reject it. Spamhaus doesn't block the incomming mails. Spamhaus' list gives an advice if the mail is from a source with specific criteria.

--
About this specific judgement, Spamhaus has never declared that e360 is a spammer. What they did is putting another well known spammer in their ROKSO (Register of Known Spam Operations) and for some magical reason, that well known spammer used the same IP ranges as e360, even when e360 moved to a new IP range. E360 has not denied that that spammer used their IP addresses but claimed that there were contracts preventing them to stop the association with that spammer.

This is from a legal point of view a very interesting situation. E360 can technically be a clean company and complying to CAN-SPAM and therefore go to court to sue Spamhaus, and without any defence which emphasizes the relation between E360 and the spammer, they can force a ruling as now happened.

jtara




msg:3086721
 9:36 pm on Sep 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

If you don't want anybody filtering your mail, choose a service provider that doesn't filter mail, or that gives you that option! It's easy - vote with your feet! It's your choice.

g1smd




msg:3086762
 10:22 pm on Sep 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> This way, the spammer has a cheap public document, won in a court, where they're declared officially non-spammers to show in the future. <<

But in the meantime, I'll bet that at least a few people are waiting to see if they get any email from this company, especially when they know that they have not opted in to their marketing list.

I guess someone will soon launch a counter-suit for receiving unsolicited mail from them...

g1smd




msg:3086779
 10:43 pm on Sep 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

The best defence that I have found in stopping junk mail has been to get the email address removed from wherever the spammers were harvesting it from.

Several people that I know used to receive many hundreds, and in one case over a thousand, items of spam per day just a year or two back.

In the meantime they have removed their email address from every website that has published it, and replaced it with a non-clickable text-as-an-image notice as to what the email address is, and/or utilised an email form with captcha, and/or various javascript coding options.

In all cases the amount of spam received has already dropped BY more than 90%. It seems like the bulk-email-list CDs have a life of only a few months to a year.

So, although spam filters and blockers are quite effective, there is actually no substitute for keeping the email addresses off the spammers lists in the first place.

Try it. I have seen it work in every case that I have looked at (several dozen now).

wmuser




msg:3086786
 10:46 pm on Sep 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thats not good.Spam filters maybe are a bit too aggressive but thats the only effective way to fight spam atm

WebDon




msg:3087047
 7:08 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

These lists do need more (or any) moderation. I know of cases where legit .gov domains were blacklisted.

I'm not sure about the moderation but .gov domains spam as well. Just because an email may be legal doesn't mean it's not spam. As part of a list I received an email from a senators local office. I never signed up on the list or requested any information from the office, yet here came the emails. BTW there was no unsubscribe or opt-out option included. When I asked how I got on the list I was told it was an error, that an intern inadvertently put my address on the list. Since I never contacted them in any way how did they have my email address available to be inadvertently added? Never did get an answer to that one.

On topic - nobody and I repeat, NOBODY should be allowed to censor email communication for whatever reason!

As my server administrator reminds me from time to time, people tend to forget that servers are generally NOT public property. We have EVERY RIGHT to receive or refuse any email message we want. As soon as it attempts to enter our servers which are private property it's our choice.

By the way, this is NOT censoring...it's simply being selective about what kind of email we allow on our systems.

lammert




msg:3087081
 8:17 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

The complete text of the verdict is in a PDF file on the spamhaus website. Some interesting points from it that haven't been covered in depth in the media yet:

Spamhaus still has the right to list IP addresses of E360, if they can prove that that IP address was used for spamming under US law. They cannot list blocks of IP addresses if only one or some of the IP addresses in that block were used for spamming.

Spamhaus initialy defended the case. In a later stage of the process they withdrew their attorneys. I don't know enough about US law, but is the initial defence not a sign that they accepted the trial under US law?

note:
Currently the spamhaus website is unreachable due to excessive load. Maybe because of the media attention, or a DoS attack.

tedster




msg:3087097
 8:47 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Could be the best thing that ever happened to Spamhaus. Their profile just came way up, and they look like the good guy to most people I talk to.

lammert




msg:3087151
 10:23 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Tedster, I don't know if these are the best times for Spamhaus at the moment. Their website is still down, and my SMTP server which uses Spamhaus' blocklist as one of the e-mail filter criteria didn't receive a response from sbl-xbl.spamhaus.org since this morning 8:11:56 GMT.

It seems that Spamhaus has taken their operations off-line 5 days after the verdict (which was on Sep 13.) which is exactly the period mentioned in the judgement after which Spamhaus had to remove E360's listings and put a 1 inch by 1 inch message on their site that E360 is not a spammer.

<correction>
Successful request recorded to sbl-xbl.spamhaus.org at 10:48:39 GMT
</correction>

jtara




msg:3087286
 1:13 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, perhaps here is the reason they have been down: the web page is back up, with an incident alert. They say that a spammer (identified by name) is sending a large amount of spam to ISPs telling them that "they will be next" (referencing the Illinois ruling) if they block spam using the Spamhaus list.

They say that the spammer set the reply-to address to @spamhaus.org.

Thought they don't say it, I'd imagine this has resulted in a great deal of unwanted traffic. I've been in this situation myself (spammer used return address in my domain) and it can be difficult to deal with.

DewChugr




msg:3087361
 2:09 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10k email a day? What do you do, put your email addres right on your web page?

hutcheson




msg:3087605
 4:58 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

>Now, How do I ensure I get all the emails directed at me?

Just post your e-mail address. I'll forward my copies to you. I apologize for not being able to give you everything you deserve, but I'll do my best.

incrediBILL




msg:3088191
 4:00 am on Sep 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

People that think email filtering is bad have no clue what some of us deal with on a daily basis.

Hundreds of emails?

That would've been nice, but I used to get THOUSANDS a day!

Anyone that thinks it's OK to spam or that you should get all emails sent your way, just give ME your email address and I'll forward a few catch-all accounts on my server and see what you think about getting it ALL.

I had to finally set them to REJECT misdirected email, not even BOUNCE, just because all the bounce email had fake from addresses and it choked my outbound mail queue with thousands of them piled up pending to be sent per day. If you didn't understand that, it meant my mail server wouldn't deliver mail in real time anymore because it was massively overloaded, took HOURS to process outbound mail.

With all the REJECTS and filters in place, now I'm down to about 100 that actually get in and about 10 spams a day that slip past the filters which is small enought I can deal with it.

So, when you think it's OK to get over a thousand emails a day and sift thru them all just let me know as I can hook you up with a flood of email like you've never seen before. So seriously, let me know, I'd be more than happy to pass 'em off to someone else!

incrediBILL




msg:3088192
 4:02 am on Sep 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

OH YEAH, I forgot to mention that it got so bad at one point that the anti-virus scanner on my server checking emails as they came in brought the server to it's knees under the load.

Yup, we don't need filters, naive...

Pibs




msg:3088270
 5:53 am on Sep 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't think anyone here is saying you don't need filters or that spam isn't a problem.

Oftentimes you DO need filters and spam IS a problem, OK?

Thing is, if someone offers a service, profit or not, where they will provide you a list of known spammers, then they best check that list and ensure only known and PROVEN spammers are on it.

Doesn't matter if they're providing a specific service or just displaying the names on the website, you go calling Fred a spammer you best be able to back it up, in a court of law. That Fred is a businessman and you've been blocking his legitimate emails means he can sue for damages/losses as well as libel.

Spamhaus would be best of simply supplying a service but hiding what companies they're blocking. Then people can decide for themselves if they trust the service to allow proper mail through or not - but no, you can't publicly accuse someone without a firm footing. That they got slapped with 11 huge ones means they didn't have such a footing.

Lesson learned.

I loath spam but we shouldn't let the 'cure' be worse than the problem.

"Email is useless because it's mostly spam - yep, that's a problem but:

"email is useless because my mails are blocked as spam" is ALSO a problem

Email is a fantastic tool, one worthy of more refined solutions than just large black lists that aren't verified enough. Not saying I know what the solution is, just saying that spamhaus operating the way they did/are is probably not it.

P

Lexur




msg:3088271
 5:54 am on Sep 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, perhaps here is the reason they have been down: the web page is back up, with an incident alert. They say that a spammer (identified by name) is sending a large amount of spam to ISPs telling them that "they will be next" (referencing the Illinois ruling) if they block spam using the Spamhaus list.

I told you it!

This way, the spammer has a cheap public document, won in a court, where they're declared officially non-spammers to show in the future.

[edited by: Lexur at 5:56 am (utc) on Sep. 19, 2006]

kwngian




msg:3088291
 6:28 am on Sep 19, 2006 (gmt 0)


I get upset when I receive one spam mail in my inbox but feel no qualms about sending ten of thousands of such promotional emails to my 'customers'. That's why we need a neutral third party like spamhaus to decide whether I am a spammer or not.

Spamhaus blacklist is mild compared to many others like SORB / SPAMCOP.

Whoever on the list are also quite obvious spammers that have a whole block of class C or even several class C with all ips running SMTP servers.

They also own several versions of the same domain with the first alphabet changed just to confuse your spam filters.

Many are also on bulletproof hosts that will move them from one ip block to another just to escape the blacklisting. These hosts read abuse reports for entertainment purpose only.

In other words, they are rather hardcore to be able to get a listing in Spamhaus.

KeithCash




msg:3090169
 2:54 pm on Sep 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

This issue with spam filters turn up to high and being labeled as spam has been going on since the late 90's when I was in the newsletter business. Spent too much time getting bounce backs because the settings thought I was spam or someone who signed up for email would contact the ISP said the newsletter was spam, even though they signed up for the newsletter or they forgot.

Or even after you call and send a letter to an ISP and inform them that you send out thousands of newsletters at least 10 times they change the spam checking filters at the ISP and label you a spammer and cut off your account. Thanks 3 days to get turned back on.

I could go on and on about the spam insanity of just being legit email newsletter provider. But that is in my past now. Fewer headaches

Demaestro




msg:3090215
 3:18 pm on Sep 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Spamhaus has never declared that e360 is a spammer.

Actually they did.

A quote from Spamhaus

"Linhardt and his company are indeed spammers and remain on the Spamhaus blocklist.

Posting a note that e360insight was inaccurately labeled as a spammer would be a lie"

Murdoch




msg:3090287
 3:51 pm on Sep 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

On topic - nobody and I repeat, NOBODY should be allowed to censor email communication for whatever reason!
If my post office (snake mail that is) refuses to forward any (even junk) mail to me I will sue them to their bones - their business is to FORWARD mail - any mail - and not only the one I or they like! And, I may add - without reading it.

I fail to see why electronic mail should be treated different. The only one to decide if an email is wanted or unwanted is the recipient. If it is unwanted, it will be deleted.

Hahahahahah someone send this guy 10,000 emails.

I don't see the problem with blacklists. I think everyone who is serious about getting e-mail should make a personal whitelist (and e-mail account providers should be forced to allow users to create personal whitelists). And all webmasters who wish to send e-mail to their clients should just put on their site "Please put us on your personal whitelist to ensure that you receive mail"

I know, it's not a perfect solution but it's all I got :)

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