Microsoft, AOL, Earthlink, Yahoo Gang Up on Poor Defenseless Spammers

Only two months after the US can-spam act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing), Microsoft, AOL, Earthlink and Yahoo have taken legal action against at least a hundred of the individuals that have been clogging up your inbox with all those offers of loans, cheap medicines and naked men, women and livestock.

The can-spam act made many of the spammers techniques illegal – such as sending bulk email by the misuse of open proxies (basically a relay for sending mail), using false email addresses and false unsubscribe options.

The plaintiffs aren’t entirely sure who they are prosecuting – many of the defendants are as yet unnamed, but they’re confident they’ll know who they are by the time the cases get to court.

This is a tiny, tiny step in the progress towards reducing the amount of spam that is sent worldwide every day. This legal action from MS et al will do little to stop the vast tidal wave of spam from around the world – only when changes are made to email software and mail transmission can we look forward to seeing any reduction.

Microsoft’s Coordinated Spam Reduction Initiative (CSRI)

BBC Q&A on Spam

Spam filters on ZDNet

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?