The Spam Diaries

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

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Barack Obama thinks my name is "StupidSpamSucker SlutFace"

Spammer revenge or Republican dirty trick? Too early to tell, but either way, it's incompetence at the Democrat's email provider.

Well, it's not every day that you get called a nasty name by a major presidential candidate, but there's a first time for everything, I suppose.

Here's the latest missive from Barack Obama (or his campaign staff, to be precise):

Subject: Major news
From: Barack Obama <>
Date: 13:04
To: StupidSpamSucker SlutFace <>

StupidSpamSucker --

We learned something extraordinary since I wrote to you last night.

We've crunched all the numbers and discovered that we are within striking distance of something historic: one million people donating to this campaign.

[request for donation deleted]

Paid for by Obama for America

This email was sent to:
Reading the net-abuse newsgroups, I see that I'm not the only one who got this. Clearly this is the deliberate work of someone delibarately adding anti-spam activists to Obama's "spread the word" web page. The only question that remains is: is this the work of a spammer making life a little harder on anti-spam activists, or a Republican dirty trick (it does sort of have Karl Rove's stench)?

But the thing is, either way, it points to gross incompetence on the part of the Democratic mass mailing provider, "Blue State Digital".

One thread in the discussion includes a response from an admin at Blue State who is quoted as saying

We don't confirm ownership of the subscribed email address -- no need, as there's nothing to be gained from submitting fake signups.
I don't know how to respond to this. Sad to see that someone can be so naive in this day and age and in this political climate. Here's a hint: "Swift Boating". Look it up.

Anyway here's to hoping that the Obama campaign wises up and fires Blue State's sorry asses before this goes any further. In the meantime, my "StupidSpamSucker SlutFace" will live in my file of truly memorable spams.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Terry Zink has a good post on the Ritz case

From Terry Zink's anti-spam blog: Maybe the North Dakota judge should watch more South Park...

In a nutshell, Terry comments on the judge's ruling that David Ritz was guilty, in part, because he used tools the average user wouldn't have known about; as if expertise in a subject was criminal all by itself.

Terry compares the case to an episode of South Park which is a parody of the TV series 24, but in which the kids perform their investigation with the tools already in everybody's hands.

The point being that maybe David knows what the whois database is, or how to do a zone transfer, while the average end-user (or North Dakota judge) has no clue, but the fact remains that these tools are in every internet user's hands and their use for what they were intended is not a criminal act.

And while I'm on the subject, I'd like to remind my readers that David's defense fund still does not have the money required to defend against the oncoming criminal case, let alone to appeal this inane decision.

Please take a minute and donate to David's defense fund, either at this web page or by sending a check directly to his lawyers at:

David Ritz
c/o Debra S. Koenig
Godfrey and Kahn, S.C.
780 N Water Street
Milwaukee WI 53202

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Verizon/UUNet drops off of Spamhaus top-ten list

I never dreamed I'd see this day, but Verizon/UUNet, former bane of the internet, has managed to get themselves removed from the Spamhaus Rokso top-10 list of worst service providers (currently in the #11 position.) It wasn't very long ago that they were in the #1 position (and had been for a decade) by a very wide margin.

Kudos to the abuse staff at Verizon, who did what no other abuse staff had ever done before — gotten UUNet under control.

Read Steve Linford's message about it in the net-abuse newsgroups.