The Spam Diaries

News and musings about the fight against spam.
 by Edward Falk

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

National Spam News

Wow; it's been a very busy week.

A law in Georgia which would have established a do-not-email list for children has joined similar laws in Connecticut, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Hawaii in limbo. This partly in thanks to the Email Sender and Provider Coalition's lobbying efforts. See article Exclusive: State Kids’ No E-Mail Bills Dead. I have mixed feelings about this one; a no-spam list for children sounds like a good idea, but has at least one obvious flaw, and the laws as written were further flawed.

More lawsuits for spyware company Direct Revenue. Spyware Warrior reports that multiple plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit against Direct Revenue.

And since it seems to be Spyware Week here on the ol' internet, there's an interesting interview with a former 180solutions employee that's worth a read. It's about what you'd expect: the employees managed to blind themselves to what they were doing or even convince themselves that they were in an honorable business. The executives had no moral qualms at all since they were getting rich and that's all that mattered. After the execs made their millions, they could afford to start worrying about the company's bad image, but by then it was too late. Anti-spyware activist Ben Eldelman is mentioned by name.

A critical bug in Internet Explorer was discovered recently which allows users' systems to be compromised by dirty or hacked web sites. Compromised systems are then used by spammers to relay spam. The bug is considered extremely critical, and many windows users aren't willing to wait around for the patch any longer. Information Week reports that over 94,000 users have downloaded a third-party patch just from eEye Digital Security. See article Third-Party IE Patches Moving Fast As Spam Attack Starts for the full story. Meanwhile, ZDNet reports that Microsoft promises to release the real patch on the 11th: Microsoft to slap patch on risky IE hole.

OK, here's a security patch for you: it's called Firefox. Jeez.

I think not a day goes by that I don't hear something new in the spam wars: A game blogger reports that Electronic Arts (EA) now subjects players of Battlefield 2 to advertising when they play on line. See Why does EA spam me for playing XBox LIVE?

CAN SPAM wins another small victory: An online survey company has put together a kit to help their clients comply with CAN SPAM. Ok, so the kit includes help in maintaining an opt-out list, but at least it's a step in the right direction, tiny as it may be. See Yahoo! Finance article WebSurveyor Announces CAN-SPAM Assurance Kit. Remember: spam that complies with CAN SPAM is still spam.

Raise your hand if you didn't see this coming: MediaPost Publications reports that mobile phone spam is on the rise, with 18% of users reporting having received unsolicited ads. See article Mobile Spam Flourishes.

Peopleline cries Joe job: Market Wire reports that VoIP/FoIP vendor Peopleline insists that it did not authorize the spam sent in January. See article Peopleline Responds to Spam.

And speaking of phone spam and VoIP, Red Herring has an article about VoIP will make recorded phone spam a very real problem. See Spam’s New Target: VoIP.

Verizon has lost a class-action lawsuit which accuses them of too-aggressive anti-spam filtering which resulted in the loss of a great deal of legitimate email. The settlement will require them to compensate customers up to $49 each. See hardwareGeeks article Verizon to pay for SPAM blocking methods for more.

Blue Security's star continues to rise: Business Wire reports that Blue Security and Firetrust will be joining forces, with Firetrust's MailWasher anti-spam program integrating with Blue Security's Blue Frog software. The partnership will allow users to automatically and seamlessly report spam. I first wrote about Blue Frog in January, and again a couple weeks ago when it was announced that spamware Send-Safe would integrate Blue Frog compliance into its product.

I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention all of the press attention that Spam Cube has been receiving lately. There are too many articles to reference in this space, but suffice to say that their PR department is doing an excellent job. The gist of the on-line reviews seem to be that Spam Cube is too aggressive at the moment but has great potential. Chosen more or less at random, here's engadget's review.


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