The Spam Diaries

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Don't register or host your domain in the U.S. if it's controversial — part 2

Last year, I wrote that you should never host or register your web site in the U.S. if it's at all controversial.

The problem is this: someone who wants to shut you down — whether it's someone whose business you interfere with, or the government itself — can usually find a judge somewhere who will be happy to issue a court order seizing your domain name or ordering your hosting provider to shut you down. Hosting your domain and servers overseas gives you a considerable amount of cushion against such abuses of the legal system.

In this week's news, we learn of a judge in New Jersey who has ordered three web sites shut down [ComputerWorld] because they oppose the H-1B visa system.

Judge James Hurley has ordered the three web sites shut down because of a lawsuit by Apex Technology Group Inc., which is suing the three sites for libel, based apparently on anonymous comments left on the sites.

In addition, there is some brouhaha about leaked documents. The leakers should have known to send the documents to wikileaks, who have a history of surviving such legal challenges. (Although, when I just now checked their web site, they've suspended operations while they look for more funding. I think they're a good cause, you might consider contributing.)

You can also read more at, another anti-immigrant website.

Related news: According to SlashDot, political parody group "The Yes Men" have had their parody site pulled off line by the Canadian Government.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New anti-slapp law under consideration

Thanks to commenter Samantha J. Brown, Legislative Director of the Federal Anti-SLAPP Project, I've learned about proposed federal law H.R.4364 which was introduced last week by Rep. Steve Cohen.

The importance of a good anti-SLAPP law to free speech cannot be stressed enough. For decades, bad actors with deep pockets have abused the legal system to stifle free speech. While there are individual states with anti-SLAPP laws, the lack of a federal law has allowed the abusers to "venue shop" for a court that would be friendly to their brand of harassment.

I've already said enough about my own experiences with the legal system, so I'll simply urge you to read the news item about H.R.4364 for yourselves.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tactera vs MAAWG

The other day, I wrote about Tactera, the snowshoe spammer which had finally earned its place in the Spamhaus ROKSO list. More stories about Tactera have been brought to my attention recently. Today's interesting tidbit is that on their "about us" page, Tactera strongly tries to imply that they are members of the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) and the Email Sender & Provider Coalition (ESPC).

A little checking has shown that Tactera is a member of neither group. You can read a little more about it in this usenet post. It should be interesting to see what happens when MAAWG's lawyers see this.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Woman sues Burger King over text message spam

At the Miami Times is a report of a woman who is trying to file a class-action lawsuit against Burger King over spam texts sent to her cell phone (and presumably to thousands or millions of other cell phones.)

Unlike email spam, text message spam is very clearly forbidden under USC 47, so it looks like she may have a strong case. Especially since she contacted them and asked them to stop spamming her.

Tactera added to SpamHaus

Here's one for the record books — or the patent office anyway. Long-time snowshoe spammer Tactera has finally been added to the Spamhaus Registry Of Known Spamming Operations (ROKSO). Because you need to be kicked off by three internet providers to join ROKSO, and Tactera usually operates under assumed names, it took a long time for them to qualify.

Why do I mention the patent office? Because in reading the ROKSO record, I was surprised to see that Tactera actually has a U.S. patent on showshoe spamming: 7,594,035