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FCC Opens Flood Gates for Junk Faxes 276

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-the-faxing-begin dept.
EmagGeek writes "The FCC implemented a Report and Order on Reconsideration (R&O on Recon) that uses some of the same exemptions for junk faxes that currently exist for the Do Not Call list. The new rules specify that junk faxers can claim an Existing Business Relationship (EBR) to justify flooding you with junk faxes. Under the new rules, a junk faxer could visit your website and call that an existing business relationship. The new rules also prevent junk-fax trapping, in which someone posts their fax number on the internet, waits for junk faxes, then files suit against the faxers under the TCPA. With all of the government-sponsored selling out of The People that has been going on in the past, say, 6 or so years, one has to wonder when or even if it is going to stop."
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FCC Opens Flood Gates for Junk Faxes

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  • Wha? (Score:5, Funny)

    by drewzhrodague (606182) <drew@zhrodagu e . net> on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:07AM (#15084291) Homepage Journal
    Can we put the FCC's FAX number on the junk fax list?
    • Sure you can, get all of the government fax numbers you can find and send em to junk faxers along with links to apporpriate .gov websites so the faxers can create that all important relationship.

      You would then expect that the FCC will reconsider the regulations.
      BZZT!

      1> The government, hit by increased communications would determine the need for a lot more fax machines, and clerks to feed them paper and file the vital communications being received.

      2> Certain specific government entities (congresscritte
      • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:24AM (#15084472)
        Sure you can, get all of the government fax numbers you can find and send em to junk faxers along with links to apporpriate .gov websites so the faxers can create that all important relationship. You would then expect that the FCC will reconsider the regulations.

        Or, just as likely, you'll find yourself going to pound-me-in-the-ass "terrorist" prison.
    • Can we put the FCC's FAX number on the junk fax list?

      Calling all Slashdotters! Please send the FCC a nice Fuck You! @ 1-866-418-0232
      • by lax-goalie (730970) on Friday April 07, 2006 @12:12PM (#15084936)

        Call AND fax your congressman and senators. Ask to speak to the staffer who deals with either telecommunications or consumer affairs issues. Tell them, nicely, that you have a problem with these regs, and they need to step up. Hard as it is to believe, for the most part, these people really try to listen to their constituents.

        House web site: http://www.house.gov/ [house.gov]

        Senate web site: http://www.senate.gov/ [senate.gov]

        Don't bother mailing, because letters sit in a warehouse for months waiting to get checked for anthrax.

  • Two words: Unpublished numbers.

    Give your FAX number only to those you trust, period. If someone then abuses it, it'll be easier to track down where the abuse stemmed from, and take appropriate action.

    • Re:One solution... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by forand (530402) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:14AM (#15084364) Homepage
      I think you are being a little short sighted here. When you are a business you need to make your contact information available to your customers and those that are interested in becoming customers. While businesses certainly do want you to contact them if you are interested in becoming a customer they most certainly don't want to have a similar ammount of faxes on the floor in the morning as they find spam in the email boxes. Keeping a number unpublished is not an option for what most fax numbers are used for: business corrospondance.
    • Two words: Unpublished numbers.

      Two more words: "Greedy politicians"
    • Re:One solution... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Let me give you a clue, here: IT DOESN'T WORK.

      I HAVE an unlisted number. I've been very careful with it, in fact. And yet, I get BOMBARDED with goddamned junk faxes day..AND NIGHT. I don't even own a fax machine.

      The best I can figure is my number, prior to me getting it, was already on some dumbasses' junk fax list.

      So, despite the fact that I pay for an unlisted number, I get an answering machine full of "beep-beep-beep" every fucking day. I've been woken up at 2am by these people, too. The phone comp
      • So, despite the fact that I pay for an unlisted number, I get an answering machine full of "beep-beep-beep" every fucking day. I've been woken up at 2am by these people, too. The phone company won't do a damned thing about it other than try to sell me new services. And now the gov't has just opened the sewer to make it 1000% worse.

        Prior to dumping our landline for mobile-only lines, we found a TeleZapper(tm) appeared to work with these as well as with the telemarketers.
    • Re:One solution... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jon_Hanson (779123)

      That doesn't work. I have a fax number that I give out to no one and yet I still get at least one junk fax per day. I have probably been found through war-dialing.

      I actually sued a local company that advertised themselves that way in small-claims court under the TCPA. I did end up winning the case but I was only awarded court costs and not the $500 to $1,500 for a willful violation. The judge said that he had to keep things in perspective becuase he doesn't fine DUI offenders that much ($1,500). At least i

      • Re:One solution... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by NewbieV (568310)

        A little Googling came with with this company [faxrecoverysystems.com].

        Quoting from their website:

        "That junk fax could be worth $100.00! Fax Recovery Systems, Inc. (FRS) can help businesses and individuals combat the junk fax spammers that send unsolicited facsimiles day and night. These unwanted advertisements are illegal -- and a terrible waste of time and resources!"

        I've never used their services, but my office gets enough of these junk faxes that it might be worth giving them a try.

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:08AM (#15084321)
    "uses some of the same exemptions for junk faxes that currently exist for the Do Not Call list."

    This was called for by the Junk Fax "Prevention" Act of 2005. It cleared the Senate unanimously and by voice vote in the House. Be sure to thank your members of Congress for this one.
  • Might this mean a return of the good old Moebius Fax? [student.uit.no] (scroll down a bit)
  • Fax Is Old (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chrpai (806494) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:11AM (#15084338) Homepage
    The traditional print to paper fax machine is old and should die. The last place I worked at was large enough that FAX was integrated with their VM system and all public fax machines were thrown away. If you wanted to send a FAX you went to the copier and scanned it to your inbox. If you wanted to receive one they fax'd it to your telephone number and it showed up in your inbox. Add in a FAX spam filter module and problem solved.
    • I work in a smallish office where the fax is always on (Clients like it that way so we do it, but that's another story). The thing I hate, are the junk fax calls- i.e. we get a lot of faxes to our main voice line, so you pick up the phone and you get the beep bleeep beeeeeeep beep. It is obnoxious. Even more so than the "Must invest now" or "7 Day 5 star tropical vacation for $16!!!" that come into our fax line...
      Does anyone know how to stop these junk fax "calls?"
      • Re:Fax Is Old (Score:3, Informative)

        by smooth wombat (796938)
        Does anyone know how to stop these junk fax "calls?"

        There should be a phone number at the bottom of the fax which you can call to input your phone number and have it removed from their list.

        Where I used to work (state government office) they had faxes on every floor and on those times I would be out and about if I saw a junk fax I'd take it with me, call the number and have the fax number removed. As far as I know junk faxes stopped coming to those machines.

      • forward the call to a fax machine, observe the output- follow up on it.

        we can do this at my workplace, take an incomming call and dial a different outbound number.

      • Re:Fax Is Old (Score:3, Informative)

        by EggyToast (858951)
        yes, you can report it to the telephone company and they will contact the offending faxer. Next time you get it, hang up and dial *69 (the one that tells you what the last incoming number was). Then call your telephone number and say you've been receiving faxes at this voice line for [duration] and here's the offending number. They'll track down who owns the line and, well, they won't be very nice about it.

        I had this happen to me in my old apartment. We didn't own a fax machine, but we got fax calls a

    • I use a service provided by trustfax.com. For a pretty reasonable price, they provide an 866 (toll-free) number, and a mailbox of PDFs of the incoming faxes. No paper mess. And I haven't gotten a spam fax yet.

      I have no connection with trustfax.com except as a satisfied customer; there are other, similar fax service providers.
      • The good news is...

        Anyone can setup their own Print to Fax gateway and Fax to Email gateway.

        Though my setup just collects the faxes and sorts them based on some rule sets.

        Then everyone is free to pick through the fax list on the servers, open the pdf, and then print the fax if need be. All we pay for is a phone line...

        WinPrint Hylafax is a beautiful thing. (Though you can also use scripts to create an samba print to fax printer, but then you need to embed all the things you want in the cover page)
    • The last 4 companies I worked for still relied on at least 2 or 3 stand-alone paper fax machines, along with computerized fax solutions. Why?

      Primarily, there's the "simplicity" factor. No matter how nice it might be to be able to fax anything from your PC that you could print to a printer, you've still got the complexity of the system itself to deal with. Larger companies use networked fax solutions like "LightningFax", where all the outgoing faxes get queued up on a server for delivery. If a dialing ru
    • Re:Fax Is Old (Score:3, Insightful)

      by optimus2861 (760680)

      Add in a FAX spam filter module and problem solved.

      The problem with junk faxes is less the data, more the time & method of transmitting the data. This isn't the internet where data transmission is measured in milliseconds, and you can have multiple connections to computers active at a time. Even a one-page fax takes several seconds to transmit, and while that fax is being sent, you can neither send one out nor receive another one on that phone line. Start letting junk faxers have free rein and you

    • I work for a Fortune Global 500 company and we still use stand alone fax machines with paper output. Not everyone has jumped on the integrated techno bandwagon.
  • what a joke (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Don't tell me this is Bush's fault too? I hate the guy as much as anybody but get fucking real.

    They get all the blame for this and no credit at all for the do not call list. That's pretty fucking funny. I'm sure SOMEBODY here (everybody?) will explain it away with some bull shit story that I'm not interested in hearing.
    • Re:what a joke (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eln (21727)
      The DNC list is a great idea, and it does help, but there are too many exceptions in the rules to make it a final solution. Political campaigns and non-profits can still get through, and the idea of what it takes to establish an "Existing Business Relationship" is a joke. If they just changed the EBR restriction to only apply to, say, people who had actually purchased something from the company in the past, it would help a lot.
    • Don't tell me this is Bush's fault too?

      Seriously, every bill that passes congress (a republican or democrat) is the fault of the President unless Congress over rides him with a 2/3rds majority.

      Even if he doesn't bother reading the bill and rubber stamps it... It is still his fault because he isn't using his authority to not pass bad laws.
    • by uradu (10768)
      > I hate the guy as much as anybody but get fucking real.
      > They get all the blame for this and no credit at all

      Then you don't hate the guy enough, I'm afraid. If you hate someone--truly hate them--you don't look for reasons to give them any credit at all. And you'd most definitely listen to any potential explanation for why he doesn't deserve any, no matter how tenuous.
  • I have 2 comments: 1. What if my web page says "Reading this does not a business relationship make"? 2. You still use a real FAX machine with real ink and paper? Shame on you. And don't quote me SOX rules, I've been there and conquered. -B
  • ...because it will just hasten the day when fax dies out in favor of pure digital means of information transmission.
  • by jfengel (409917) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:18AM (#15084410) Homepage Journal
    I get a fair number of junk faxes as it is. There's no business relationship; it's an unlisted fax number. The FCC can open the "floodgates" as far as they want with regulations if they're not going to prosecute anybody.

    By contrast, the Do Not Call list appears to be more or less working. The few political and charity calls that still get through don't bother me much.

    I don't know why telemarketers are respecting the DNC, but the junk faxers are fearless. Maybe junk faxes are less expensive to send, so they're more akin to spam than telemarketing?
    • I don't know why telemarketers are respecting the DNC, but the junk faxers are fearless. Maybe junk faxes are less expensive to send, so they're more akin to spam than telemarketing?

      I don't think so. Spam can be sent in bulk because the existing mail transport system has many loopholes that allow the individual "connections" to be distributed to someone else. Spam isn't actually inexpensive except for the spammer himself. Junk faxes on the other hand require a point-to-point voice connection just like a

    • I never signed up for the Do Not Call list.

      I never got that many nuisance calls, and that hasn't changed. I figured that the Do Not Call list was a centralized repository of live phone numbers, and I would get more calls through misuse than I get without it.

      * We eat dinner as a family, and unless someone is expecting a call, we just don't answer the phone, then.
      * As a general practice, I NEVER say "Hello" a second time when answering, if it appears that nobody is on the other side of the line. Perhaps it's
      • As a general practice, I NEVER say "Hello" a second time when answering, if it appears that nobody is on the other side of the line. Perhaps it's urban legend, but someone once told me that getting the second "Hello" is the trigger for demon dialers used by telemarketers to hand off to a human.

        Yup, urban legend. Many years ago, I worked IT for an ethical telemarketing shop. And by ethical I mean that not only did they maintain their own in-house DNC list, but all of their outbound clients scrubbed against
    • you get those from harvesters. Many marketing companies will run a war dialer across exhanges looking for fax answer tones. (those calls you get that are simply hangups? that's them!)

      In order to not set off phone company wardialer alarms they dial randomly from a database that is populated first marking off each one as they go.

      you can not hide a fax machine from these things.
  • by shoptroll (544006) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:19AM (#15084420)
    Anyone else find it a little ridiculous that this is on the same main page with the FTC shutting down Spammers?

    Only in this country could we have one department closing down spam and another opening it up...
    • Why not? We have one agency conducting terrorism, and another waging war on it. Isn't spam at least as annoying as the terrorist boogeyman? If you added up all the man-years spent on spam, I'm sure it would vastly outweigh the U.S. losses in Iraq (although not the Iraqi losses, I'm equally sure).
  • Fun day (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:19AM (#15084421) Homepage
    Stories about AT&T handing over traffic to the NSA...now this...

    Honestly, there are some days when the news just makes me embarrassed to live in this country. And when I'm done being embarrassed, I become scared, because of how little power is left to we the people to incite change in the governmental powers that rule and abuse us.

    As a 22 year old who admittedly does not know very much about the history of our government...can any older Slashdotters explain what it was like when there were even worse government abuses than this, and what the catalyst was that finally got the people to act? I understand that an effective catalyst from back then might not be effective today...but I'm just trying to gain some hope from the fact that some day soon, the people will collectively say "ENOUGH!" and we will be able to go about trying to fix this country into what it should be, and try to patch up the horrible mess we've made of ourselves to the rest of the world.

    Although honestly part of me thinks that my youth might be the enabler of this naivety I have that there is any hope of seeing things get better in my lifetime.

    (Note: To any who find this off-topic...I would pose that it is on-topic in terms of the government screwing us over yet again, mod me down if you disagree...whatever, I feel like everything is kinda pointless right now.)

    • can any older Slashdotters explain what it was like when there were even worse government abuses than this

      I'm not much older than you, so I don't think I can comment much, but I don't think there has been a time (in America) where government abuses have been this bad, at least not within anyone who is still living's lifetime. Nixon and Hoover did some pretty egregious stuff, but I don't think anyone living has seen such widespread and flagrant corruption in America as the current administration. I agree w
      • "I agree with you, though- I'd love to hear how bad it was, if someone knows of it being worse..."

        You know...I think your comment simply states lot about the current state of things....its so bad that the only way to see any hope in things is to hear about a worse time.

        Last time I heard about things being so bad that that kind of thinking was rampant was (pardon me Godwin) in the concentration camps.

        • Please, refrain from the piece-of-crap Nazi analogy. It's demonstrably false anyway, doubting you were in the camps. Re-read your sentence.
      • I recalled this from a History Channel show and dug up a link:

        http://www.historychannel.com/tdih/tdih.jsp?catego ry=oldwest&month=10272956&day=10272985 [historychannel.com]

        Basically, some miners were striking to improve living conditions so they and their families were evicted from their company owned homes. When they took up residence in the hills and continued to strike, they were fired upon by private detectives hired by Rockefeller. When that didn't work, Rockefeller got the governor of Colorado to send in the Nat
        • Yeah... that's pretty damn awful. I would hope that if something that bad were happening in the US today, it would end up getting televised and there would be a huge backlash. But given how easily the media overlooks atrocities we know are going on elsewhere, I'm not holding my breath...
          • Please name one.
    • Re:Fun day (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:41AM (#15084625)
      There've been 2 key reasons for "revolutions". Mostly one: Despair. The other one is idealism, but that one is rarely used and pretty much died out by today.

      Despair has been a good fuel for every revolution ever. French revolution, Russian revolution, when people ain't got nothing to lose but their life, and especially if said life is close to being gone anyway, that's when they take up anyone as a leader.

      Of course, governments learned since. What we got now in the US (and most of the "civilised" countries) dates back to the Roman Empire and panem et circenses: Bread and games. And of either there is no shortage in any "western" country. You have access to cheap food and cheap entertainment. Everything else is expensive, regulated and culled. Freedom isn't amongst the first things people want. What they want is food and entertainment.

      And they got that. Plenty of that.

      So you won't see a revolution anytime soon. People simply don't care. They don't care about freedom. They don't care about junk mail. They don't care about anything as long as their bellies are filled and their nerves are tickled.

      If there was a God, he'd have replaced humanity with a sentient lifeform by now.
      • If there was a God, he'd have replaced humanity with a sentient lifeform by now

        He tried, but the replacement didn't have opposable thumbs.
        Big mistake on His part.
      • The other one is idealism, but that one is rarely used and pretty much died out by today.

        Because, as we've learned, idealism can be bought for as little as a $300 tax refund.

    • ... and what the catalyst was that finally got the people to act?

      Uh.... Boston Tea Party?

    • Go see Good Night, and Good Luck if you can find it in a theatre, or buy it on DVD.
    • by jhines (82154)
      See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings/ [wikipedia.org] for a time when students stood up against what they though was government screwing us over.
    • Catalyst (Score:3, Funny)

      by SoCalChris (573049)
      what the catalyst was that finally got the people to act?

      The president getting a BJ.
    • Keep in mind, in the past we didn't know about the abuses. At least now there are enough leaks to keep us informed.

    • Re:Fun day (Score:3, Interesting)

      Great question. I'm in a cynical mood, so here we go.

      Wish I had a well researched answer, but the best I can do is pull the following out of my ass:

      Political science has developed to the point that governments, ours included, are becoming quite adept at manipulating the public.

      It has reached the point where, after realizing that their greatest threat is from the educated, they have made the "educated elite" their enemy and worked hard to curtail higher education, thus depriving the future of their greatest
  • FCC mis-step (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Todd Knarr (15451) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:19AM (#15084422) Homepage

    The FCC's made a mis-step here. Junk e-mail is one thing, it costs time and hassle but not money. Junk faxes, though, cost money. The accountants will see the cost of consumables (paper, ink/toner) go up, and they'll be able to tie it directly to junk faxes. That's when the business groups start calling their Congressmen saying "Your FCC's decision is costing our members money. Do something, or come election time our contributions go to your opponent.". That's why the junk-fax provisions of the TCPA were put in in the first place.

    Of course, there's also another catch. The FAX-sending entity probably has a FAX line too. If they're claiming an existing business relationship with you, they can't very well deny you having an existing business relationship with them, now can they? And these new rules allow you to send junk FAXes to entities you have an existing business relationship with, don't they?

    • Junk e-mail is one thing, it costs time and hassle but not money.

      Bandwidth is free? It's (usually) small when you're an individual user, but ISPs have to upgrade because of spam.
    • Coping (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Phreakiture (547094)

      Of course, there's also another catch. The FAX-sending entity probably has a FAX line too. If they're claiming an existing business relationship with you, they can't very well deny you having an existing business relationship with them, now can they? And these new rules allow you to send junk FAXes to entities you have an existing business relationship with, don't they?

      Actually, this just gave me a neat idea.

      First off, I suggest that FAX machines should have the ability to read CID data, and that FAX

      • Yeah, just like spam email, the junk fax CID is set to some random number, which you can blacklist, but the next junk fax will have another random CID. Blacklisting CID is as useless as blacklisting spam by sender email address (blacklisting spam by IP is more useful because spammers cant as easily forge the physical IP they are connecting from)
    • The cost of receiving junk faxes may be more obvious to individuals and businesses, but don't be fooled into think email spam doesnt cost money. AOL estimated once that half of its total email bandwidth was spam - just imagine AOL's total bandwidth bill, and take half that. It amounts to quite a bit more than 'nothing'.

      Not to mention all the extra servers, storage space, extra wages paid to employess to design and implement anti-spam systems (or the costs to outsource it), to clear customers mailboxes that
    • Sending junk faxes costs money too - much more, I suspect, than email spam. Unless you happen to be in the fax-spammer's area code (if so, just go over & break his knees), there's a long-distance call involved in sending you that fax.

      The only way I can think of to get around this without paying some fees to someone is to set up your own dialers in each area code, connected via internet, and send out that way - similar to an old-school ISP setup (only outgoing instead of receiving calls). Sure there ar
    • Not only is bandwidth not free, support staff to run and maintain email servers are not free. Disk space is not free. The cost of virus scanning software is not free. The time wasted by busy workers wading through spam to get to their business email is not free.

      Spammers steal from all of us.
  • by lancejjj (924211) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:20AM (#15084428) Homepage
    I noticed that starting about a year ago I started to get junk faxes on my fax machine... and now it has grown to 30 to 40 per day... and none of the faxers have ever had ANY business relationship with me. If I ask to take myself off a list, a new one appears the very next day!

    Before that time, I used to receive a total of 3 or 4 faxes a week total (from my clients, and none from scam-marketers)

    Virtually all of these faxes are of the nature of "HR is sponsoring a company trip to Aruba for $300", "June, I thought you'd be interested in this special weight loss pill, it worked for me!", and "refinance your house".

    I'm not sure how congress or the FCC let this scum go nuts, but it's obvious that they have, costing ME lots in paper, toner, and consumption of my otherwise important business FAX line.

    • Of course, you DO understand that you're partially to blame for the explosion?

      The *first* time you called one and said "take me off your list", you just raised the value of that CONFIRMED GOOD fax number 100x. So you got bumped to the "confirmed good" fax number list, to be sold MUCH more widely.

      Here's a trick: put a phone on your fax line. Hit *77 or whatever your local telco's signal is for (Anonymous call reject). Reattach your fax.

      Voila, 90%+ of your incoming spamfaxen are now prevented from reaching
      • Of course, you DO understand that you're partially to blame for the explosion? The *first* time you called one and said "take me off your list", you just raised the value of that CONFIRMED GOOD fax number 100x. So you got bumped to the "confirmed good" fax number list, to be sold MUCH more widely.

        Huh? This line of thought applies to email, where sending to a non-existent address and sending to an existing address may only be differentiated by a "remove me from your spam list" reply, but a fax number i

  • We've been seeing a big decline in FAX usage for a while now, in companies of all sizes. The small firm I work at doesn't have a dedicated FAX line anymore, and we're not alone. Pretty soon the FAX will be as rare as Telex.

    The last FAXes to go are likely the one's in lawyers' and doctors' offices. They like the hard copy, cause it seems more legal . . .

    • We've been seeing a big decline in FAX usage for a while now, in companies of all sizes. The small firm I work at doesn't have a dedicated FAX line anymore, and we're not alone. Pretty soon the FAX will be as rare as Telex.

      Where I work (sales office), while there has also been a decline in faxes vs. email, the fax machine is still HEAVILY used. We have 10 incoming fax lines. I've never had someone say I can't fax it, but I get plenty of people everyday say that there email's not working & ask me to just
  • by kaoshin (110328)
    I think the junk mail dudes are in cahoots with the trash dudes that pick up the trash. One day basically everybody is gonna kill everybody because they're jerks which owns.
  • by saintp (595331) <stpierre.nebrwesleyan@edu> on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:21AM (#15084440) Homepage
    "With all of the government-sponsored selling out of The People that has been going on in the past, say, 6 or so years, one has to wonder when or even if it is going to stop."
    s/6/200/;

    The problem isn't this president; the problem is the last 38 or so.

  • by G)-(ostly (960826) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:24AM (#15084468) Journal
    You missed about eight years there, buddy. Ever heard of this little thing called the DMCA?

    Yea, Clinton signed that one.

    Bush is an ass, but if you can't be honest about why you hate him, just keep your trap shut.
  • Obsolete? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:25AM (#15084478) Homepage Journal
    I removed my fax number from my old business card about 6 years ago by ACCIDENT. I've been paying a little extra a month for the fax number (its all electronically processed now anyway) for those 6 years. I don't think a single person has asked me for my fax number in that time -- the only faxes I really receive is from marketers who I opted-in with, and I guarantee I have never made a purchase because of a fax.

    Is the fax obsolete? Does anyone rely on faxing (maybe for contracts?) for their jobs? For me, e-mail is for documents I need, SMS is for notes and quick messages. I don't see anything in my businesses that needs the fax other than applications for accounts.
    • Re:Obsolete? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ivan256 (17499) *
      Business to business transactions where the seller is extending credit to the buyer (a Purchase Order sale) is still handled over fax almost exclusively. Up until the last few months, insurance business was conducted via fax. Many local governments haven't gotten around to upgrading their fax based systems.

      It's almost dead, but it's not dead yet. Luckily, for the most part, the fax machine is obsolete... At least on the receiving end.
      • So basically it is government that is keeping this kludge still active. Their departments haven't upgraded from the 80s, and the law doesn't recognize any standard of electronic signature that would aid businesses in transacting contract signatures. Funny how that works ;)
  • "With all of the government-sponsored selling out of The People that has been going on in the past, say, 6 or so years, one has to wonder when or even if it is going to stop."

    Isn't that just assumed now?
  • This shouldn't be a problem.
    (CSID)
    Caller Sender Identification
    When any fax machine sends a fax, it includes a Caller Sender Identification (CSID) at the top of the fax. This method is useful for routing messages when all faxes from a particular company are destined for a single user.
    It was also against the law to send faxes without it, at least it was 10 years ago when I used faxserve on *choke* netware.
    Bad legislation is bad legislation however, you can miss important calls for your fax machine
  • It's not like anybody paid attention to the current fax rules.

    Besides, who uses a fax machine for incoming faxes anymore? Fax is a paperless process now. Incoming junk faxes don't cost the recipient money like they used to when they would use up your thermal paper.
  • by wealthychef (584778) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:31AM (#15084540)
    Elsewhere on slashdot: the government fined some major spammers. [slashdot.org] Crazy world.
  • by ianscot (591483) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:32AM (#15084543)
    I happened to be working a short-term temp job with a computer products company that sent junk faxes back when legislation originally stated you had to have specific permission to send someone such a fax.

    That caused a little panic around that awful office. We had a little group meeting, in which we were told that we'd need to do a ton of "cold calls" to get permission to send people these unwanted faxes. Several recommended techniques for getting unknowing employees at the other end to sign off on that idea were provided to us.

    I quit the next day, after maybe three days on the job. It was excruciating to consider how asinine the whole situation was -- on our end, on theirs, for everyone... the cost in worthless faxes that wouldn't sell anyone anything.

    That was more than, oh, ten years ago now. The catalog junk mail industry has been straining at those restrictions since then, I guess. More than a little out-of-date, really, to be trying to sell hard drives over the fax... You'd think they'd be concentrating on their own Web presences long since, wouldn't you?

  • You know what makes a good fax machine? An old iMac running OS X. It can receive faxes and just store them as PDFs, and even forward them to an email account, and you don't have to use one lick of toner, ink, or paper that you don't want to use. Got a junk fax? Just delete it. Use your email filters to separate out faxes from legit sources (the fax header appears in the Subject: header of the email) from the junk ones. The fax function is included with OS X, and if you buy some additional software and hardw
  • by msauve (701917) on Friday April 07, 2006 @11:47AM (#15084679)
    US Code Title 47, Sec.227(b)(1)(C):

    "It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States to use any telephone facsimile machine, computer, or other device to send an unsolicited advertisement to a telephone facsimile machine"

    A "telephone facsimile machine" is defined in Sec.227(a)(2)(B) as:

    "equipment which has the capacity to transcribe text or images (or both) from an electronic signal received over a regular telephone line onto paper."

    The term "established business relationship" is by law only applicable to a "telephone solicitation," which is clearly defined in the law as different than a fax. Furthermore, the FCC is by law specifically allowed to exempt by law only two specific sections, neither of which pertain to faxes.

    http://uscode.house.gov/uscode-cgi/fastweb.exe?g etdoc+uscview+t45t48+1372+1++%28%29%20%20AND%20%28 %2847%29%20ADJ%20USC%29%3ACITE%20AND%20%28USC%20w% 2F10%20%28227%29%29%3ACITE%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20 %20

  • No, a junk faxer can't visit your website and claim an existing business relationship. There has to be something more, such as a request from the receipient of the fax for information or a quote, or an actual purchase. Read the Order for exact details.

    If you do publish your fax number on the net, you can flag it as not being publication for the purposes of accepting fax spam. I just added the following text to my home page's fax number listing:

    (NOTICE: No unsolicited advertisements are accepted at either of
  • Easy fix... (Score:3, Informative)

    by PenguinBoyDave (806137) <david AT davidmeyer DOT org> on Friday April 07, 2006 @12:12PM (#15084932)
    Get eFax...comes to my inbox. No wasted paper, no 2:00 AM ringing fax machine.
  • Any chance that we will read an article here about the US Government that doesn't involve:

    1) Spying on its citizens
    2) Allowing companies to spam and fax at will & abuse patent law
    3) Silencing or changing scientific studies or theories?
  • IF we insist that website contact is not a "business relationship" in connection with faxes, 'fax-trapping' becomes a profitable pasttime for a certain segment of the population. In slashdot-ese:

    1) Post fax number on web to attract victims (and they are the victims here),

    2) Wait for the junk faxes (which were, in fact, solicited if you think about it),

    3) ??? --> Sue sender for issuing "junk faxes" (which aren't junk faxes),

    4) PROFIT!!!

    If, OTOH, we conclude that website contact is a "business relati

  • While the article itself is an obvious Troll, and should be modded as such, I feel it's going to take putting a couple FCC commissioners up against the wall and executing them in prime time pay-per-view to get their attention back on the people they're supposed to be serving and protecting. Junk faxes, network neutrality, open telephone and cable competition, municipal WiFi...the list goes on.

    The problem is that the Democrats can't fight a war on terror, or keep Illegal (they call them Voters) immigrants

  • I have two parts to my two cents here.

    I remember when I used to use a regular land line all the time that I got faxes all the time sent to whatever phone line I had. I always loved the automatic fax spam at 10pm or whatever. Phone numbers get recycled, and for some reason so many places use really old phone book software (probably because it costs them a whopping $10 by then). So, my solution is to be on VoIP. I don't really want a ton of places calling me anyway, so my friends have my contact info. If for

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