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Spam Communications

Spam Turns 100, By One Reckoning 366

Posted by timothy
from the existential-and-definitional-questions dept.
mkavanagh2 writes "Spam is 100 years old today! But, surprisingly, the first spam wasn't sent via e-mail. In fact, 100 years ago, Cunard sent out telegrams to selected (rich) members of the British social elite, advertising tickets on a new liner, and becoming the first spammer. Let us all take out a moment to consider how to best 'repay' the spammers who followed for the 100 years of 'joy' they have given us. ;)"
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Spam Turns 100, By One Reckoning

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  • Cheap fun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erick99 (743982) <homerun@gmail.com> on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:32PM (#10242743)
    Spam, if that is what it was (as opposed to junk mail) was a bit more costly to Cunard than to modern day spammers. If he had not the cost of the telegrams he might have sent the sales pitch to the entire assembly rather than the "select" group. Junk mail is cheaper still than telegrams but not nearly as cheap as email spam where you can reach out and touch millions for a pittance. So long as spam is that inexpensive, and a least a few souls click to their way to more hair, a longer penis, $35,000,000 from a besieged politico in Nigeria, then we will continue to have spam. Short of taxing email (would that even work?), spam is here to stay. No need to repay them, they seemingly pay themselves very well, and, possibly , at your expense.

    Cheers,

    Erick

    • Re:Cheap fun (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rokzy (687636) on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:42PM (#10242813)
      I hate this defeatist attitude.

      there is no reason why spam cannot be defeated. in principle it's one of the easiest problems. much easier than hunger or aids. the problem is just that lots of people in charge won't get off their arse and design a new protocol.

      maybe because there's no money in it. pharmaceutical companies hate cures, they much prefer treatments. you only sell a cure once, but treatments last a lifetime.
      • Re:Cheap fun (Score:5, Insightful)

        by back_pages (600753) <(ten.xoc) (ta) (segap_kcab)> on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:58PM (#10242913) Journal
        Oh yeah, laziness and greed are gonna be SO easy to just stamp out. It's definitely not as hard as, say, using the farking shift key.

        Spam is not a technological problem, it's a social problem. Find me a widespread social problem that was easy to fix and I'll show you a magical fantasy land with unicorns and easy living.

        • of course it's a technological problem.

          if you mean that some people are twats, sure that will always be true.

          but make a protocol that doesn't allow anonymous sending of mail and you defeat spam.
          • Re:Cheap fun (Score:3, Insightful)

            by back_pages (600753)
            but make a protocol that doesn't allow anonymous sending of mail and you defeat spam.

            Dur, turning off email defeats spam. That doesn't make it a good solution. Forcing people to indentify themselves isn't going to halt spam. It doesn't stop junkmail in your USPS mailbox, does it? It never kept phone solicitors from calling you, did it?

          • Re:Cheap fun (Score:5, Insightful)

            by znode (647753) * <znode&gmx,de> on Monday September 13, 2004 @11:40PM (#10243153) Homepage
            but make a protocol that doesn't allow anonymous sending of mail and you defeat spam.
            Show me a non-spoofable (or so difficult to spoof it would not be profitable sending spam through) protocol that doesn't allow anonymous sending of mail, yet still allows normal communications*, and I'll send you a copy of Duke Nukem Forever. On a stick.

            *i.e. not a whitelist, because then legitimate but not-yet-on-your-whitelist people can't contact you
            • Re:Cheap fun (Score:3, Insightful)

              by rokzy (687636)
              d'uh, if it existed we wouldn't have spam, that's kinda the point.

              imagine something where you need to set up an account (more like a bank account in a well-regulated country than a simple fill in this web form thing). then every mail is authenticated like a bank transfer.

              then imagine spam being more like credit card fraud - sure it happens sometimes, but isn't the norm like spam is now. actually spam is about 10 times* more the norm than legitimate mail at the moment.

              *or some other ridiculous number.
              • Re:Cheap fun (Score:3, Insightful)

                by benna (614220)
                But what if I want an anonymous email account and I'm not a spammer? The real problem is idiots that buy things from spammers. If they didn't exist, neither would spam. So I say somebody should fund an ad campaign telling people not to buy things from spammers.
                • Re:Cheap fun (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by geminidomino (614729) *
                  While that's true on the surface, it's really not the core of the problem. The main people buying things from spammers are the companies HIRING the spammers. The spammers say "we'll mail out 10M ads" and don't guarantee any sort of return. The companies then consider the .000001% response rate a positive thing and worth the money they paid the spammer. I got spammed by Target about 1.5 months ago. Cancelled my target card and haven't shopped there since, when they asked why, I told them I don't do busines
                • Re:Cheap fun (Score:5, Interesting)

                  by plover (150551) * on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @02:47AM (#10243843) Homepage Journal
                  No, very few idiots actually buy from spammers.

                  Mostly, the idiots are the vendors who hire the spammers. They buy the spamming service for $60.00 for 10000 emails. The spammers invest $200 in "fake" purchases from the vendor. The vendor is so excited he forks over $1000 for 200,000 emails. The spammer sends them out, and pockets the $860, not caring if the vendor makes another sale or not. If he thinks the fish is really gullible, he might string him along with another investment of $100-200, in hopes of landing another $2000 or so.

                  Spammers are thieves, they lie, cheat and hack their way into our inboxes. What makes you think they treat their paying customers any better?

            • Re:Cheap fun (Score:3, Interesting)

              by iamacat (583406)
              Check this out [thawte.com]. Free personal e-mail certificates!

              I am affraid I am a Mac user, so I will take a gmail invite instead of DNF. The stick is optional.
      • I think the current spate of phishing emails will help wipe out spam.

        As more and more users lose their bank accounts, install viruses which hose their PC's and generally realise that the shit they get on email is pure shit, then they will start ignoring it.

        The more its ignored, the less effective it'll become.
      • Re:Cheap fun (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jcr (53032)
        the problem is just that lots of people in charge won't get off their arse and design a new protocol.

        Oh, is that all?

        -jcr

      • Re:Cheap fun (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheoMurpse (729043)
        I'm going to start with an assertion of my beliefs:
        Everyone has the right to run their own SMTP server.

        Following from this, everyone would be able to send email.

        Following this, everyone would be able to send spam.

        How do you stop the spam, without removing something you might argue is a right? You stop peoples ability to run SMTP servers, then you stop some people from using the email of their choice. Slashdotters, how many of you HAVE your own SMTP servers? I'm pretty sure a lot of you do.

        Also, remember
        • Re:Cheap fun (Score:3, Insightful)

          by geminidomino (614729) *
          Everyone has the right to run their own SMTP server.

          I agree with this. However, before someone tries to use this to attack dialup/dynamic blocklists, allow me to correct one small error: "Everyone has the right to run their own SMTP server provided they PAY for it." Most ISPs have business accounts that allow you to run a server, whereas home accounts generally (not always; Sprint DSL is an exception I'm familiar with) forbid running servers. Yes, you generally have to pay more for a business account, bu
      • Re:Cheap fun (Score:3, Insightful)

        by iamacat (583406)
        pharmaceutical companies hate cures, they much prefer treatments

        Do you also think funeral parlors are happy when people die? I rather suspect every non-nutcase company would gladly disolve if that's the price of curing AIDS. You are talking about ethics of software companies, but humans dying because their body rots out is a bit more important than the format of your word processor files.
    • Inflation (Score:5, Funny)

      by ProfessionalCookie (673314) on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:49PM (#10242868) Journal
      Of course dollar for dollar the first spam [google.com] sent was quite a lot cheaper. But when you account for inflation and the reduction in volume per can (from roughly 0.00084 Volkswagens [designtechnica.com] to roughly 2 iPods [apple.com]) the price is actually $0.40USD/Can more expensive

      Don't believe me? Check my references.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:33PM (#10242754)
    I'd kill him if he weren't already dead.
    • In case you haven't heard it, the joke is this:

      Woman 1: My husband's a ship's captain, he works for Cunard. Woman 2: Well my husbands a postman, and he works pretty hard too!

  • by joeldixon66 (808412) * <joel@NOSpAm.jd53.com> on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:33PM (#10242760) Homepage
    In terms of Internet spamming - it's closer to 26 years old - link [wikipedia.org].

    I can't see anything about Cunard from the submitter's link.
  • by savagedome (742194) on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:33PM (#10242761)
    But, surprisingly, the first spam wasn't sent via e-mail

    Shouldn't that be "But, unsurprisingly, the first spam wasn't sent via e-mail".
    It would be really a surprise if they sent spam by email 100 years ago. Don't you think?!
    • by bburton (778244)
      I always thought SPAM [spam.com] came in a can...

      Remember:
      • When somebody talked about SPAM, they meant the food.
      • When a Mouse was a little furry rodent
      • When Hardware meant hammers, nails, etc.
      • When RAM meant to butt into something.
      • When Monitor meant to watch someone closely.
      • When Desktops were made out of mahogany.
      • When Wallpaper went on walls.
      • When Icons where people you looked up to.
      • When Pointers were a dog breed.
      • When Buttons went on your shirt.
      • When a Register was something a store kept money in.
      • When a BUG m
  • Hmmmm. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sevn (12012) on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:34PM (#10242762) Homepage Journal
    Let us all take out a moment to consider how to best 'repay' the spammers who followed for the 100 years of 'joy' they have given us.

    I have the kind of love for spammers that makes me want to light them on fire and throw them down a flight of stairs. That's love baby.
    • Let us all take out a moment to consider how to best 'repay' the spammers who followed for the 100 years of 'joy' they have given us.

      I want to eat them.

      Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam! Spaaaaaaam! Spammity Spaaaam!
    • Re:Hmmmm. (Score:3, Funny)

      by Nos. (179609)
      Nice idea, but I liked when the name of one spammer and his home address was published here (amongst other places) and he found himself on every snail-mail mailing list in the US. I seem to remember hearing stories of US Postal trucks driving to his place to deliver all the mail.
    • Re:Hmmmm. (Score:3, Funny)

      by danielsfca2 (696792) *
      ...and throw them down a flight of stairs.

      Just one flight of stairs???

      That's a little generous, don't you think? I'd throw the bastards down the stairwell all the way down the Sears Tower! Of course, that's after I gouge out their eyes and shove their computers up their asses. Okay, getting a little worked up now, better quit.
  • by cato kaze (770158) <omlet.magi-n@com> on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:34PM (#10242767)
    We joke and complain about spam, but personally I am wondering how much the internet can take before things just start to slow down drastically. Spam is increasing, not decreasing, and it is most certainly doing so with or faster than the pace of technology. We really need to find some solutions to this problem before spam becomes so widespread that the only way to fight it is to increast bandwith. (I don't mean just email spam, I mean popups and flash banners and such. The bandwith they take up must be massive, I'm amazed that the internet still functions with all the waste)
    • by erick99 (743982) <homerun@gmail.com> on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:37PM (#10242779)
      That is an interesting point that seems obvious but I don't see it expressed that often. If spam really did get so bad that the Internet was noticeably affected, I mean to the point that big businesses were losing big money, I bet a very creative solution would be forthcoming pretty quickly. I think that is what it migh take. -erick
    • by ryanw (131814) on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:42PM (#10242812)
      We joke and complain about spam, but personally I am wondering how much the internet can take before things just start to slow down drastically.
      I would imagine the traffic of porn and usenet far outweigh spam and is also increasing at an exponential rate.
    • Are you joking?

      I probably use more bandwith checking CNN first thing in the morning than is used for spam sent to me (and I get 20-25 pieces/day).

      As long as you don't keep storing it on disk, it is just a nuisance.

    • And of course using email clients with spam filters won't stop it from taking up bandwidth. The spam has to be stopped before it is sent across the world to your client, not after.

      Though I wouldn't classify popups and flash banners as spam. They pay the website to have their ads displayed (unless they are part of an adware program, but thats another story). Thus I have trouble seeing them take down the net as the hosts can regulate them. They thus cannot take up more bandwidth than the hosts allow the

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:35PM (#10242769)
    There are really two kinds of person-to-person communication medium...

    - An open network, where anybody can send to anybody... and that means you can get messages from people you never heard of, for better or worse. Lowlife types are allowed to thrive and spam away.
    - A closed network where in order to stay in the club, you've gotta play by the rules. Lowlifes are bounced out on their first offenses. This keeps the trouble away, but it also limits the number of people who can reach you over that channel.
  • um..... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:37PM (#10242777) Homepage
    Wouldn't that make it the first JUNKMAIL and not spam? I thought spam (aside from the food) was solely tied to email.

    • I thought spam (aside from the food) was solely tied to email.

      Well, there ya go. I used to think that spam was solely tied to Usenet, until Web newbies hijacked the term. Proabably the same gang that ruined the word "hacker", too.

    • I thought junkmail was specifically tied to mail ;) That stuff probably goes back 500 years!
  • Time to get tough (Score:3, Insightful)

    by buchalka (416106) <tim.buchalka@com> on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:37PM (#10242783) Homepage
    We need to get tough with them.

    Charge them, arrest them.

    This is a good start [slashdot.org]

    Of course this was not just spammers but they are all as bad as each other if you ask me.
  • I say we take use of modern technology, get al the spammers onto a luxury cruise ship, and then chuck a meteor at it while sailing it thru a hurricane.
  • Define "spam" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jonboy X (319895) <jonathan.oexner@alum.wp i . edu> on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:38PM (#10242787) Journal
    Google says [google.com]:
    Spam: Unsolicited "junk" e-mail sent to large numbers of people to promote products or services.

    Note the e- in front of "mail" in the defintion. If it ain't e-mail, then it's just plain old junk mail. ;P
  • by john_sheu (755802) on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:39PM (#10242796)
    Or not. What they did was more akin to direct-mailing (or perhaps even more specific than that). They had a target audience, and by being limited by cost, they could only send to the select of that target audience. Now, Spam is essentially free. In fact, there is no "target audience" per se; the demographics of those who reply to spam is representative of much more diversity than those who Cunard targeted.
    • A Lamborghini [lamborghini.com] is 'essentially free' for Bill Gates, but that doesn't mean it's 'essentially free' for you or me. Likewise, spamming a ton of email address is 'essentially free' for you and me (or your and my companies) but that doesn't mean it's still more then some poor bastards yearly wage in rural China (or Africa, or India). And again, the 'direct-mailing' done by the uber-rich's ocean liner of choice was probably 'essentially free' for them as well.

      The cost of a service (or lack there of) doesn't/shou

  • by Suit_N_Tie (128024) on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:41PM (#10242802)
    The Spam in my cupboard is only 50 years old, so I guess I am doing well...
  • by Sheetrock (152993) on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:42PM (#10242814) Homepage Journal
    Most people consider spam as unsolicited commercial e-mail and have it in a separate class entirely from junkmail or telemarketing because it puts a heavier burden on the receiver than on the sender.

    There are signs that this is changing however, with fewer mailservers handling e-mail, better bandwidth, and larger hard disk sizes it is quite likely that we are approaching a point at which spam begins to achieve parity with junkmail in terms of that sender/receiver cost relationship. At which point it may be wise to at least consider including spam as a marketing resource alongside more conventional services.

    Junkmail keeps the cost of stamps low and helps subsidize other uses of the postal system. Perhaps if the same occurs with spam it won't be such an ugly concept?

    • Then give me an ad where I expect to find it. Get a banner ad. Buy a google adword. Etc.

      Don't go spidering my email address and sending me everything you can, because you can. And, don't purposely alter your message in an attempt to get past my filters. If my filter gets it, then I didn't want to read it anyways. If it doesn't, do you really think I'm actually going to read your mail? (for marketing idiots: no)

      Other advertising forms indirectly pay me by subsidizing what I'm doing. Email (and now voicemai
  • by scoser (780371) on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:43PM (#10242822) Journal
    The first unwanted advertisements were probably scrawled on cave walls and advertised "Atok's fine-carved spears, extra cheap! Kill many deer and bison!!!!!" a few hundred-thousand years ago, if we're going to get all technical about it.
  • Let us all take out a moment to consider how to best 'repay' the spammers who followed for the 100 years of 'joy' they have given us.

    Give them a free ticket on Cunard's most famous ship -- The Titanic. (No lifeboat, of course, just like for most of it's passengers). Of course, they'd have to swim to the deck themselves....

  • by stox (131684) on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:44PM (#10242831) Homepage
    1) Ebola research
    2) Cost effective replacements for crash test dummies.
    3) Cost effective replacements for animals in cosmetic testing.
    4) Cost effective replacement for ballistics gel.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:44PM (#10242832)
    How can I ever repay them for the huge gigantic penis I now have? The girls love it!
  • So, did you make that up, or do you have a link to back up the Cunard canard?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:53PM (#10242885)
    In fact, 100 years ago, Cunard sent out telegrams to selected (rich) members of the British social elite, advertising tickets on a new liner, and becoming the first spammer.

    For all we know, illicit advertising could have started even back in as far as the caveman days...

    There was once a caveman named Ug who would hurl rocks from far away at unsuspecting dwellers. Each rock would have a pictures etched into it depicting a caveman holding a shield to protect himself from flying rocks. One day, Ug threw a rock from far away at another caveman, Og, with the usual picture etched into the rock. Hit and startled by the incomming rock, Og picked it up, gazed at the picture, scratched his head, and looked at Ug. Ug threw another rock, which this time hit Og right on the head. Angry, Og threw the rock back at Ug, only to see Ug hold up a shield and deflect the rock.

    Og was very impressed. He and his tribe of other cavemen then walked over to Ug. Ug held up a picture showing himself handing another caveman the shield, and the other caveman handing him lots of furs. Og smiled, took the shield, and hit Ug over the head with his club, killing him. So Og and his tribe feasted on Ug, striking fear into the hearts of marketers who were not strong enough to defend themselves against a bunch of angry cavemen. Such a utopia prospered for generations, until the invention of the telephone.
  • Spam (the "food") is in its 6th decade.

    100 years ago they probably called it Invasive Nuisance®.

  • I've been trying to track down a spammer in my state.

    [The originator of the free iPod scams]

    I was surprised [sarcasm] to see that he had written a piece on the internet on how the CAN SPAM ACT would bring a renaissance in email marketing.

    This 100 years of SPAM reminded me of this because this "essay" describes how email marketing has now reached the protections that attorneys have desired for decades.

    I plan to do a story about this guy and his business [freeslide,producttestpanel, subscriberbase, cons
  • "Listen to me, you; when I catch you, I'm gonna pull out your eyes and stick 'em down your pants, so you can watch me kick the crap outta you, okay? Then I'm gonna use your tongue to paint my boat!" -- Moe
  • by intx13 (808988) on Monday September 13, 2004 @10:59PM (#10242921) Homepage

    From Wikipidia: "In this article and those related, the term spamming is used broadly to refer to all of these behaviors, regardless of medium and commercial intent."

    Notice the regardless of medium.

    Personally, I consider spam to be the automatic supply of unwanted information. For that reason I wouldn't consider mailing lists and telemarketers as spammers. You signed up for the mailing list and telemarketing is not an automatic process. Besides, telemarketing provides (provided) a lot of people with jobs (even if bad jobs, some people need the money more than the good job).

    For instance: You can be spammed with junk mail. A channel can be spammed by bots. You can be spammed with emails. You can't be spammed over the phone unless a recording is calling you. You can be spammed in the grocery store (oh wait, that's different...)

    Of course, this is just my personal way of looking at it, so what do I know?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, 2004 @11:02PM (#10242937)
    o--o o -o oo ooo / o -o o-oo o- o-o --o o -- o -o - / o--o oo o-oo o-oo ooo

    • I don't know which of the following things is the most sad:

      1) The parent was moderated as funny without the moderator knowing what the text said.

      2) The moderator knew what the text said.

      3) I took the time to decode the text.
  • In case any of you were wondering where the widely applied term "spam" came from here's an informative link [spam.com]

    This link gives Hormel's position on the use of the term "spam" and the history behind it.
  • by Peter Cooper (660482) on Monday September 13, 2004 @11:04PM (#10242944) Homepage Journal
    The link in the story has nothing to do with the text used.. there's nothing on that page about spam being 100 years old. Worse, it's a link to an other useful resource which could do without being hammered by tens of thousands of Slashdot readers. Remember the recent stories about Wikipedia being overloaded on Slashdot recently?
  • Where's TFA? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 13, 2004 @11:04PM (#10242946)
    Without an article to substantiate the claim, maybe mkavanagh2 simply sent a fake story to win a bet.
  • by B747SP (179471) <slashdot@selfabusedelephant.com> on Monday September 13, 2004 @11:07PM (#10242961)
    a moment to consider how to best 'repay' the spammers who followed

    OK, so admittedly Cunard didn't buy into White Star Line until some 18 years after that little mishap with the Titanic, but didn't we show 'em, what hey old chap, shiver me timbers and all that!

    $diety{'God'} is apparently omnipotent and all knowing and all that, so what's to say that he didn't plant the iceberg in anticipation of the fact that those people would become spammers in the not-to-distant (for 'him') future! Dumb bastards didn't learn, spammed anyway.

    Well, it's a great fantasy, anyway.

  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@@@hotmail...com> on Monday September 13, 2004 @11:08PM (#10242967) Journal
    Let us all take out a moment to consider how to best 'repay' the spammers

    While I agree with all the disgust the community has against spammers, please try to control your responses.
    As a recurrent victim of "Joe Jobs" where a spammer forges my domain name in the Reply-To field of their junk, I'm already having to deal with thousands of bounced messages (currently about 120/minute) as well as the attacks of well-meaning but misguided people on my website.

    I'm not sure what I've done to attract the attention of the spammer, but at the moment it looks like they'll succeed in putting me out of business - I can't use email while this is happening, since any filtering which brings the traffic down to a managable level also drops real messages.
  • "But, surprisingly, the first spam wasn't sent via e-mail. "

    Actually it was. Spam is defined [reference.com] as unsolicited e-mail (or a type of meat). What you are thinking about is just normal junk advertising.

  • by aussersterne (212916) on Monday September 13, 2004 @11:30PM (#10243094) Homepage
    I'd say that we should repay them with SPAM.

    That's right... a vigilante "SPAM squad" manning a truck carrying dozens of tons of SPAM, along with a delivery system not unlike a tree chipper that can accept SPAM by the ton and spray greasy SPAM puree hundreds of feet.

    The SPAM squad would pull up to the houses of known spammers and douse the house, car, grounds, mailbox, and anything else in sight in 6-12 inches of greasy salted pork goo that would take years to clean up. If the weight of the flying SPAM puree hitting their front windows just "happend" to break them and fill their living room with chunks of SPAM as well, by "accident," that would just be too bad.

    Say, 50-60 tons of SPAM per spammer in flash vigilante "actions" out to keep each of them busy for a few weeks (months? years?) at least trying to clean up their persons, personal effects, and lives and drive the smell (and flies) away. Just spray-and-go and let them come stumbling out, slipping and sliding and cursing, realizing that they have finally gotten their comeuppance.
  • Thus, to get rid of spam, one of three things has to happen:

    1) Individuals have to stop supporting SPAM by clicking those emails and purchasing those products.
    2) Companies must be prevented from advertising in SPAM fashion and must thus be fined.
    3) A new protocol has to be implemented.

    All three have problems. The first group will not stop using spam. Obviously, these are people who purchase porn, penis enlargements, diet pills, and things of that nature. Why should they stop if the SPAM email offers
  • by Whammy666 (589169) on Monday September 13, 2004 @11:33PM (#10243116) Homepage
    The simplist way to combat spam is to prohibit the use of falsified mail headers and/or 'from:' return addresses. Violators could be fined per message sent.

    This idea has been proposed before, but has been vigorously fought by spammers as unconstitutional. (I'm sure spammers are really concerned about the Constitution.) Their reasoning is that without the ability to send anonymous messages, free speech would suffer. Technically, they have a point. But you can satisfy the requirements of the First Amendment, while curtailing fraudulant headers/return addresses by simply saying that anonymous messages must have an explicit return address and sender id of (for example) 'anonymous@anonymous.anom'. Requiring the "ADV:" tag in the subject line is also a good defense against spam since it is easily filtered, yet can maintain anonymity.

    None of these ideas are new, and there have been attempts to get them into law. But until we as spam haters generate enough spam of our own in the form of consumer compliants to our elected officials in an effort to overcome the lobbying dollars being spent to keep spam alive, then nothing is going to change.

  • by dracken (453199) on Monday September 13, 2004 @11:44PM (#10243165) Homepage
    ....Spammers would be caught, jailed and made to share their cell with people who have enlarged their penis, taken viagra and are looking for a new relationship :^).

    -Dracken
  • by rfc1394 (155777) <Paul@paul-robinson.us> on Monday September 13, 2004 @11:48PM (#10243186) Homepage Journal
    It would have been Spam if the Cunard line had sent the telegrams collect!
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday September 13, 2004 @11:55PM (#10243219) Homepage
    For a good time, visit this spammer bulletin board [spamforum.biz]. "Make Big Money with Spam". There's enough criminal activity described there to put some people in Club Fed for many years. This is a window into organized crime. Some excerpts:
    • 07-07-2004, 05:25 PM
      Nugster is Offline:
      Junior Member
      Join Date: Jul 2004
      Reliable Proxie service hourly updated

      Hello, I am providing a very good proxie service with hourly updates.

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    • adamrich is Offline:
      Junior Member
      Join Date: Apr 2004
      Posts: 11
      processing Quote: Originally Posted by excelbru

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      ...
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    And much, much more.

    If you deal with spam, it's worth some time spent visiting that site. There's a whole criminal infrastructure to support spamming. You'll find "bullet proof web hosting" [blackboxhosting.com], domain laundering, credit card laundering [oxbill.com], virus/worm distributors selling access to zombie machines, mortgage lead buyers, and "pharmacy" operators.

    Yes, it's been reported to CERT/Homeland Security and NANAE.

  • by the-build-chicken (644253) on Monday September 13, 2004 @11:56PM (#10243223)
    It is hypothesized that certain neanderthal societies used to write inscriptions on large rocks before hurling them ferociously at passers by.

    Coincidently enough, this has significant commonalities with one of todays more successful spam counter measures, which involves incribing "stop sending me spam" on similarly large rocks and hurling them ferociously at spammers.
  • From Wikipedia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by craXORjack (726120) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @12:00AM (#10243238)
    Some of the
    "firsts" accomplished by Cunard [wikipedia.org] include:

    • First transatlantic passenger service (Britannia, 1840)
    • First passenger ship to be lit by electricity (Servia, 1881)
    • First twin-screw ocean liner (Campania, 1893)
    • First steam turbine engines in a passenger liner (Carmania, 1905)
    • First gymnasium and health centre aboard a ship (Franconia, 1911)
    • Largest passenger ship (until 1996) (Queen Elizabeth, 1940)
    • Largest passenger ship (Queen Mary 2, 2004)
    But I don't see where it says they were the first to spam. Anyone have the link to that?
  • by SpamJunkie (557825) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @12:07AM (#10243275)
    I would assume that even such early spam was soon frowned upon. In its infancy unsolicited communicaiton was probably novel but it wouldn't take long to become the burden it is today. But because it has remained a burden for so long proves its success.

    It is no more ingenious than a brute force attack. However, wherever else brute force fails it succeeds in the marketplace. If we tighten our email schemes, turn off pop-ups in our browsers and so on it stands to reason that spam will simply evolve, not die out. It has survived the shift from telegrams to email and all steps in between, it will likely not be quenched by anything less than a superior competitor: something that provides the same service - pairing potential buyers with sellers of questionable goods - yet isn't a burden to anyone who isn't interested.

    Much like factoring prime numbers and brute forcing encryption it may well be impossible to replace spam with something "better". But if it will be stopped that's the only way.
  • by pbjones (315127) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @02:36AM (#10243821)
    my wife replied, 'it tastes like it too'
  • Not Even Close (Score:3, Informative)

    by wwi (243026) on Tuesday September 14, 2004 @02:43AM (#10243838) Homepage Journal
    Nope. Not Even Close.

    Postal "spam" has existed since the
    post office was first founded. In
    the 19th Century, the typical
    addressee would be:

    The Best Farmer In

    Smallville, Missouri

    or

    Progressive Businessman In

    Littletown, Iowa

    The worst was before stamps,
    when all letters were
    sent collect. If someone was dumb
    enough to claim one of these, they
    paid the postage!

    Hmmm, kinda familiar.....

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