Email / Featured Blogs

Commentary on the FTC Spam Summit

The following speech was prepared with the intention of using portions of it during the FTC Spam Summit, but CAUCE was not given the opportunity to participate due to time constraints... "I am here today to question. Yesterday we heard how the tenor of the discussion about spam became more mature. How, in the period of time that has elapsed since the last summit, things have developed as an industry. That may be true, but I question if the discussion at hand here this week is truly a big tent effort. I see few anti-spammers here..." more

Opt-In Permission for Mailing Lists: Is It Enough?

For some time now I have contended that Confirmed Opt-in, 'COI' is dead, or at the very least on life support. It certainly is not a major factor in the continued relation between sender and receiver; that relies far more heavily on the ongoing and historical reputation of the mailer and the mail stream. Proof of permission doesn't scale; end-users complain all the time, but it is rare if not impossible for a receiving site to request proof when an end-user complains, then the receiver complains to the sender, and the sender says that permission was actually in place. Much more commonly, the sender unsubscribes the address and moves on, permission or not, since the subscriber doesn't want the mail any more. But then, I recently had two eye-opening experiences... more

Will Arrest Stem Tide of Spam?

Legitimate email marketers, anti-spam groups and beleaguered recipients got a bit of good news with the arrest last week of a man described as one of the world's most prolific spammers. Robert Alan Soloway, 27, dubbed "the Seattle Spammer" by federal officials, was indicted on 35 charges related to fraudulent Internet activities. Soloway pleaded not guilty to all charges at his May 30 arraignment. You can read more here. Although it's always great when a notorious spammer gets put out of business, such actions probably won't result in a drop in the amount of spam that gets sent... more

The New Hong Kong Anti-Spam Law, and a Small Fly in the Ointment

Well, it has been quite a while since first the Hong Kong OFTA (in 2004) and then CITB (in 2006) issued requests for public comment about a proposed UEM (Unsolicited Electronic Messaging) bill to be introduced in Hong Kong, for the purpose of regulating unsolicited email, telephone and fax solicitations. We're a large (worldwide) provider of email and spam filtering - but we're based in Hong Kong, and any regulation there naturally gets tracked by us rather more actively than laws elsewhere. We sent in our responses to both these agencies... The bill is becoming law now - and most of it looks good... There's one major fly in the ointment though... more

Hotmail Running Its Own SMTP Variation

Companies sensible to effective delivery of email to all free email services may have noticed problems with deliveries to Hotmail addresses. Despite the SMTP dialog ending with a successful "250" return code, recipients don't see the message. In their Guidelines, MSN require thorough compliance with IETF standards. However, it seems they have their own interpretation about provisions for Delivery Status Notifications, a.k.a. bounces, that servers must send after they have accepted responsibility for delivering the message... more

Ailing ETO-2002 and the Demise of PKI

The only Cyber law passed in Pakistan till date is the famous ETO-2002 (Electronic Transaction Ordinance - 2002). It required Ministry of IT&T to set up a Central Repository for all digital certificates and in addition to set up a body to be named as Electronic Certification Accreditation Council (ECAC) to accredit Electronic Certification Authorities to be established in the country... In this regard, government has not only closed its eyes and has blindly trusted the only certificate authority (CA) in the country operated by a private business group, it has also mandated the citizens and business to trust it. Case in point is Central Board of Revenue (CBR) that has told all taxpayers to digitally sign the emails using the certificates issued by this private party... more

Stop! Don’t Forward That E-mail!

Forwarding e-mail is so easy that it must be legal, right? Not everyone thinks so. Ned Snow at the University of Arkansas recently wrote A Copyright Conundrum: Protecting Email Privacy that argues that forwarding violates the sender's copyright rights, so it's not. The article is quite clever and is (as best I can tell, not being a legal historian) well researched, even if you agree with me that its conclusions are a bunch of codswallop... more

Oklahoma Spammer Fighter Loses Even Worse

Last December I wrote about Mark Mumma, who runs a small web hosting company in Oklahoma City and his battle with Omega World Travel a/k/a Mumma lost his CAN SPAM suit agains them in December, but Omega's countersuit for defamation went to trial last week, and I hear that the jury awarded Omega $2.5 million in damages, which Mumma is not likely to be able to pay. This may be painted in some circles as a huge defeat for anti-spam activists, but it's not... more

Spamhaus Policy Block List Update

Recently, I wrote about the Spamhaus Policy Block List (PBL), suggesting senders encourage their network/connectivity service providers (whomever they lease or purchase IP addresses from) to list their illegitimate email-sending IPs as a step towards improving the overall email stream on the internet. The initial PBL was seeded with listings from the Dynablock NJABL ("Not Just Another Bogus List"), which at the time of the cut-over was at more than 1.9 million entries... more

More than 99% of Email is Spam?

One of my pet peeves is the headline "n %" of email is spam, it is inherently misleading, and conveys no useful data. I guess it makes for great newspaper headlines then! On our servers looking at one email address for 4 hours, we saw 208 attempted connections for SMTP traffic referring to this email address. ...One can't measure spam in relation to the amount of genuine email, because the amount of genuine email is not connected to the amount of spam... more