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Beep! Beep! You have Broken the Law. 340

medscaper writes "Authorities in China are using computers to spam mobile phones of law-breakers until they turn themselves in. Apparently, lots of illegal advertisements as stickers with mobile-phone numbers listed are placed around large cities and are becoming an eyesore. So, the authorities call the cell phones incessantly with recorded messages that demand the "businessmen" to turn themselves in."
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Beep! Beep! You have Broken the Law.

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  • Hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MacFury ( 659201 ) <me@jo[ ]ramlich.com ['hnk' in gap]> on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:47PM (#5584644) Homepage
    How well does this actually work? Wouldn't they just get a new phone number?
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Echnin ( 607099 )
      Well, as the article says, there are fees associated with that, and they may also lose their business. I think this is an amusing idea. I also think that advertisements should be illegal, as it only serves to make successful companies richer and create jobs where people do nothing more than convince other people to do something. So I say phonebomb EVERY phone number you see listed publicly! Even that guy Mark who was looking for partners in the Men's Room.
      • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gmack ( 197796 ) <{ten.erifrenni} {ta} {kcamg}> on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:02PM (#5584809) Homepage Journal
        Yes but that provides an easy way to DDos a competing buisness: just post the number somewhere"

        Ohh and odds are it wasn't mark who put the number in the men's room .. it was probably someone who thought it would be funny for hum to get a lot of freaky phone calls. It's a common prank.

        • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by count3r ( 316207 )
          Yes but that provides an easy way to DDos a competing buisness: just post the number somewhere

          Yah. The problem here is that the state is accusing, convicting and punishing the criminal without he/she ever getting a chance provide a defense. They are assuming that the posted phone numbers belong to criminals because (presumably) they are the ones that benefit most from the posting.

          This (I think) is sort of similar to the problems that were raised with using cameras to spot traffic violations. Early on,

          • This is China, the burden of proof is not on the government.
          • If you had bothered to read the article you would know that the #s are manually verified before the bombardment begins. A supervisor with the department in question actually calls the # to see exactly what the criminal in question is doing/selling.
            • Okay, so if its an individual, clearly things will be figured out early on.

              However, what if its a competing business? If someone calls up XYZ company and says, "I saw your ad, I'd like to buy some of your things.." I'm sure the business in question will be more than happy to oblige them. Is there anything else that could be done to demonstrate that they didn't put the signs up in the first place?

              I suppose its the same question in the US without a phone number. Say you print a bunch of stickers with you
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Informative)

      by bubblegoose ( 473320 ) <bubblegooseNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:52PM (#5584707) Homepage Journal
      The article discuss that. It says that they would have to pay fees to change their number, and they would lose any business from their ad.
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by thynk ( 653762 ) <slashdot@thynkMOSCOW.us minus city> on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:54PM (#5584726) Homepage Journal
      How well does this actually work? Wouldn't they just get a new phone number?

      From the article

      Those who prefer to change their "poisoned" number rather than face punishment incur the fees and inconvenience of switching, and also lose any business their ad might have generated.

      So changing the number comes with a pretty high price. Course, I'm "sure" after they get this message, every one goes right in and turns them selves in. I wonder how long it will take before someone figures out how to bypass this.
    • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:02PM (#5584815) Homepage Journal
      Amazing how on top of the latest trends in people abusing public places, spamming, etc. the chinese police are. Granted, they have a tradition of being viewed as repressive in the US, I was impressed with a small matter I had with a Hong Kong seller not delivering the goods and how they hauled the guy in and grilled him (not literally.) After he scampered home he sent me an email faster than the investigating detective. I get a hit and run in San Jose, CA, and the cops have better things to do... Probably explains a lot of why obvious crime efforts in Spam go unpunished.

      I'm sure the answer exists somewhere in the middle ... it just seems I was lead to believe in a different future by Adam-12 and Dragnet.

    • Ring Ring...

      Hello, locksmith here.

      We saw you bills advertising locksmith service, we can post bills for one half price of the competition. Can we send you a quote?

      Yes.

      Here it comes...
    • How well does this actually work? Wouldn't they just get a new phone number?

      this is answered in the article...

    • What does this do to the cellular phone networks? If I ran the verizon network, I'd be really glad to have a bunch of pissed off chinese commie gestapo guys /.'ing me 24/7.
  • by Bush_man10 ( 461952 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:47PM (#5584649) Homepage
    I would be sitting behind one of those people in a movie theater. If they are stupid enough to get into that situation you know they are one of those people who leave their cell phones on during movies. :) Excellent idea though..
    • by tmark ( 230091 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:34PM (#5585034)
      I would be sitting behind one of those people in a movie theater.

      Man, if you think *THAT'S* bad, I have one for you. I was actually in a theater when someone one row ahead of me *PLACED AN OUTGOING CALL*, talking at regular cell-phone volumes (read loud): "Hello, is Justin there ? Could I speak to Justin please ? Is Justin there ?". Everyone in the theater looked at each other, stunned.

      I can understand someone forgetting to turn off their cell phones. But being so f*cking ignorant that you would place a call, when you could easily and freely walk to the lobby ? I say bully to the theaters who want to block cell phone signals.
      • I hate pople who let them ring in the thearter....but what about those of us who put them on vib because we NEED to ahve the phone. It would really suck if they ban cell phones and I can't go to movies the nights i'm on call from work! Right now, it's not a problem. Phone goes on vib, and if it goes off, the only people who know are those that see me pull it out and check the incomming number.
  • by Enrico Pulatzo ( 536675 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:48PM (#5584656)
    "You got trouble."
  • by gorf ( 182301 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:48PM (#5584658)

    So, if I don't like someone, all I have to do is make up a few ads with his number on and stick them up places, and the state will spam him for me?

  • I swear.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EvilStein ( 414640 ) <spam@NOSPAM.pbp.net> on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:48PM (#5584663) Homepage
    this "we're going to annoy the hell out of you" method of law enforcement is rather entertaining... imagine the fun someone could have by posting bills with the telephone number of your competition!

    Proving that you did *not* post bills with your phone number could prove difficult but by that time, you've already racked up 543,766,246,742 voicemails and text messages.

    Do they have free incoming text messages in China? I certainly hope so.. in addition to a fine, you'd have a whopping phone bill.

    Hrm. maybe Verizon is in on this!
    • But what if the police don't pick up the number for some reason? In that case, you just spent a bunch of money posting advertisements for your competitor.

      We've got a similar problem here. Every telephone pole in town is covered with a bunch of signs advertising weight loss/appliance repair/whatever.
      My favorites are the one that say "Home Internet Business! Make up to $200 a day!". They're invariably hand-written with black marker on a torn piece of cardboard.

  • "You've Got an Arrest Warrant", including an all expense paid trip to the People's Center for Re-Education and enlightenment.
  • with the current fee of US $200 Thank you for committing this crime. Your local Police Department.
  • ... someone posts a bunch of messages with the phone number of someone they don't like.

    Or of a police station. That would be great - "Sir, the system we implemented to get rid of those illegal adds is flooding our 911 call center".

    Needs work.

    BBK
  • by CaffeineAddict2001 ( 518485 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:50PM (#5584681)
    If you do not turn yourself in by noon tommorow we shall send you another message asking you politely to do so again!
  • They're using that 'text-message speak' that's become so popular here:
    "UShdTrnURslfIn,Lwbrkr"

    and no one can figure out what it means. ;)

    -T

    • Re:Unfortunately... (Score:2, Informative)

      by Nakago4 ( 576970 )
      "You should turn yourself in, lawbreaker"
    • Re:Unfortunately... (Score:5, Informative)

      by anonymous loser ( 58627 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:22PM (#5584960)
      Actually the Chinese and Japanese languages lend themselves better to text messaging. I suspect that's why it is so much more popular in Asia, along with the fact that it's still a nightmare to send messages between providers in the US (i.e. dumbass wireless companies shooting themselves in the foot).

      The difference is that a single character typically represents an "idea" rather than a sound, although there are some cases of the latter, as well. When you can make most words in your language by combining at most 3-4 characters, it is much more efficient to express yourself in writing compared to English, whose average word length is 5 (according to my typing teacher from high school). Added on to that, Asian languages don't use a lot of the "superfluous" words you find in English like definite articles, pronouns, etc. Also, a lot more of the content is picked up by context and left "unwritten".

      So, packing all of these language "features" together means that it takes a lot less writing to express exactly the same concept. As a point of reference, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is 752 pages in English (paperback edition), and 210 pages in simplified Chinese (also paperback).

      p.s. a side note on "predictive text input"

      US cell phones have "predictive text input", Chinese and Japanese phones have this as well, and for a much longer time. It is a necessary component of entering any kind of text into a digital device in Asia, and has been constantly researched and developed basically since those languages were available on computers. If you want to try this out, and you have Windows 2000 or XP, try installing the IME for Chinese or Japanese, and playing with it.
      • by Suidae ( 162977 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:33PM (#5585028)
        Asian languages don't use a lot of the "superfluous" words you find in English like definite articles, pronouns, etc. Also, a lot more of the content is picked up by context and left "unwritten".

        Contextual English possible. But make speaker sound Asian.
        • The main technique is to concatinate the first syllable of each word or phrase. Like "SoMa" meaning "South Manhattan in English.

          The counter-example is to wade through Mao's political writings. Never has so much (words) said so little. He uses lots of four-syllable words (two is the average).
  • by silvakow ( 91320 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:50PM (#5584686)
    This is perhaps the most creative way to enforce a law I've ever heard of. More power to 'em. It would be easy, however, to anonymously attack someone by putting their cell phone number on a sticker and posting it around town. I hope they don't prosecute people that have been attacked this way.
  • by psoriac ( 81188 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:51PM (#5584690)
    I was having a conversion, on the cell phone. And it was like, beep beep beep beep! And then, like, I had broken the law. And I was like... hunh?

  • by tweakt ( 325224 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:51PM (#5584691) Homepage
    Dr. Cocteau: Be well, John Spartan.
    John Spartan: Be fucked.
    Moral Statute Machine: John Spartan, you are fined one credit for a violation of the Verbal Morality Statute.
    [Spartan shoots the machine]
  • by sssmashy ( 612587 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:51PM (#5584692)

    Upon answering the call, the wrongdoer hears the pre-recorded message--

    "You have broken the law by posting illegal ads. You must immediately stop this activity and go to the Hangzhou Urban Administrative Bureau for punishment. DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200."

  • It's such an obvious idea, and I could never figure out why they never started doing this here. Especially bad are flyers that people stick under your windshield wipers in parking lots. Most of them wind up on the ground, yet the perpetrator is never held responsible for the incredible litter. In fact, these flyers make up *most* of the litter on the streets of LA.
  • by tundog ( 445786 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:52PM (#5584711) Homepage

    1. Place stickers all over Beijing with a 1-900 number for an automated fortune cookie fortune service.
    2. Chinese police keep calling you to get you to turn yourself in.
    3. Profit!

  • Interesting legal process. So, all it takes to have someone one does not like to change his phone number (and pay the fees) associated with that is to print and paste on lampposts a few stickers with their phone number on them?
  • by agentkhaki ( 92172 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:53PM (#5584723) Homepage
    So basically, rather than taking the time to track these folks down, they're just going to annoy the culprits into submission...?

    At first, I was going to say "why not just turn the phone off?"

    But phone being off -> no incoming business calls either. Turn the phone on -> be spammed by police and have your minutes wasted. Turn yourself in -> no more spam + you getting a fine + you no longer hanging stickers.

    But couldn't you just block whatever number the cops are calling from?
  • Manual check? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fastdecade ( 179638 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:54PM (#5584724)
    The numbers are also checked manually and require the approval of a senior official before the bombardment can begin, he told the People's Daily.

    This is the bit I'd be worry about. You'd hate someone to target you and have you taken "for punishment" by pasting a few stickers in your name.

    So how effective is the manual check?
    • "So how effective is the manual check?"

      Well, I'd guess it would be fairly effective. Just call the number and say "YES! I'd like to enlarge my (well, you know) by five inches like you said in the ad!"

      If they say "Get lost, you pervert!" and hang up, you know somebody was framing them.

      • Sure, you can eliminate some problems that way - but what if someone has a legitimate business and someone else (their competitor, their eternal nemesis, their ex) decorates the streets of Beijing with their phone number?
  • to save "taxpayer" dollars, why dont they just instead, pull down the stickers upon their discovery, im sure most of these "businessmen" are using prepaid, hence disposable cell-phones and are not stupid enough to turn themselves in. the chinese government really is kooky. why do they not just put these cell phone numbers into "411", or post them on internet forums, i think that would get the point across better than any annoyance factor the police may be able to bring upon them. :)
  • Better hope people who don't like you don't make some ads with your mobile number on them and stick them up.

    And the "senior official" who approves the "bombardment" better make sure it isn't President Hu Jintao's phone or that of some random army officer...
  • Authorities in China are turning to technology to nab vandals--they use a computer program that spams the wrongdoers' mobile phones until they turn themselves in.

    Officials in Hangzhou, the capital of China's Zhejiang province, have developed a system which bombards mobile phones with pre-recorded voice messages, according to the official newspaper, the People's Daily.

    Businessmen who put up illegal advertisements which contain mobile numbers have become the target of the computerized phone-spammer.

    According to the report, illegal stickers have become an eyesore in recent years, with China's coastal and urbanized areas blighted with a blizzard of advertisements.

    This is because the postcard-sized stickers, which promote everything from fake identity cards to counterfeit academic certifications, are cheap to produce and offer some anonymity.

    The new system rings the mobile phone numbers of illegal advertisers at 20-second intervals, said the People's Daily.

    Upon answering the call, the wrongdoer hears the pre-recorded message--"You have broken the law by posting illegal ads. You must immediately stop this activity and go to the Hangzhou Urban Administrative Bureau for punishment."

    Those who prefer to change their "poisoned" number rather than face punishment incur the fees and inconvenience of switching, and also lose any business their ad might have generated.

    The system also dents the advertisers' bottom line as ad respondents are unlikely to get through, thanks to the mobile barrage. As the anti-sticker scheme is newly launched, results have yet to come in, said the report.

    Ordinary folks need not worry about being spammed by mistake as the phone numbers are taken from photos of illegal advertisements, said Wei Yunxiang, an official with the Hangzhou Urban Administrative Bureau.

    The numbers are also checked manually and require the approval of a senior official before the bombardment can begin, he told the People's Daily.
  • A better way (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jack Comics ( 631233 ) <.jack_comics. .at. .postxs.org.> on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:56PM (#5584754) Homepage
    This idea is all fine and dandy, but just asking for people to turn theirselves in won't work. It's all bark and no bite. It needs teeth. Now, if the police called me and said that if I didn't turn myself in by noon tomorrow, that they'd sic a naked Richard Simmons on me and have him follow me everywhere and even move into my house, *then* I'd want to turn myself into the authorities.

    It may not work the first few times, people thinking it's a joke and no police force would be so cruel, but after the first few times it gets reported by the media and several suicides later, the criminals would get the hint.
    • Re:A better way (Score:4, Interesting)

      by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:16PM (#5584922) Homepage
      I think the logic is that since they're using the number in the advertisement, the fact that the police are bombing the number makes it difficult for the person to do business over it - of course they can just buy another phone but they'd lose any profit they would have otherwise made with the original ad.

      I agree that "turn yourself in at your earliest convenience" is a bit dumb, but at least it's not "we know where you live, the phone company told us. Wer'e coming to get you" which is what I'd expect from the Chinese.

  • by r00t_ur_b0x ( 643995 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:56PM (#5584764)
    I thought Ellen Feiss had become a cop.
  • Call blocking (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bubblegoose ( 473320 ) <bubblegooseNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:57PM (#5584769) Homepage Journal
    How long before the cell phone companies offer call blocking? They must have a limited bank of phone numbers these police calls can come from.

    I know they have had something like that for a while on land lines here in the U.S. When my sister broke up with an abusive boyfriend she was able to block all calls from his phone number.
    • While that might work in some countries, don't you think in China the phone companies would have to make exceptions for the police? Especially if the police phrase it as "you WILL allow us to call him."

      --Atlantix
      • Re:Call blocking (Score:3, Insightful)

        by glesga_kiss ( 596639 )
        In every country, the telcos and the ISPs are making "exceptions" for the police. Or have you been asleep the past 10 years? ;-) I don't see any opposition to this scheme in any country, not just "in communist china".

        Obviously the phone networks won't be allowed to block these numbers, and they won't have caller ID on the DOS originator so local call blocking is useless. I doubt every phone network in China has caller ID, (hell, I can't think of anywhere with that), so blocking non-identifiable numbers i

    • I know they have had something like that for a while on land lines here in the U.S. When my sister broke up with an abusive boyfriend she was able to block all calls from his phone number.

      They can make caller id illegal. Until just a few years ago, caller id was illegal in California (although it was legal in other states). For instance, your sister could have blocked the telephone of her abusive boyfriend, but the boyfriend could have switched to a different pay phone everytime. If there was ever a stupi

  • Profit (Score:4, Funny)

    by agentkhaki ( 92172 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @01:59PM (#5584786) Homepage
    Wait, wait, wait... Couldn't you just get a 900 number associated to your phone, and post that all over town? Every time the cops call you, if they wanted to talk to you, they'd have to agree to the charge (or can they just bill you without asking - even better) ... Pure profit, at the expense of the government.

  • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:06PM (#5584845)
    ... with people who run red lights. Here in Portland, people think red lights are optional. I'm getting rather sick of it. I think if their cell phone were to start ringing every time they do it then we might see a pavlovian effect here to deter this problem.
    • In NYC, there are cameras set up at every intersection. If you run a red light, they take a snapshot... ...about a week later you receive a ticket in the mail, with a photo of your car going through the intersection and a closeup of your license plate. Try and talk your way out of that ticket!
      =Smidge=
      • " ...about a week later you receive a ticket in the mail, with a photo of your car going through the intersection and a closeup of your license plate. Try and talk your way out of that ticket!"

        My aunt had that happen, only she got the ticket instead of her son that was driving the car. That's probably why the photo radar option's not so popular here, though we do have it.

        I wish I had a phone numberr I could call so that I could report license plate #'s of ppl who do that. Then, what'd happen is the poli
      • This doesn't work. In my area, they tried this and it got shut down pretty quick. Unless there is a solid picture of the driver in the car, it does no good. The driver is to be fined, not the owner of the car.

        Too many cases had to be thrown out, due to "Yes, your honor, that is a picture of my car. However I was not driving my car."

        "Who was driving your car at that day and time?"

        "Well, that was 3 months ago by the time I got the mail and got this court date was set, and I don't remember if I let Marv
      • That was done in Germany too. Until one day some prominent politician got one. The wife opened up the mail. Hmmm - the woman in the passenger seat was NOT her.

        Pictures are no longer mailed with the ticket. I would assume that they would be available in court though.
      • According to the constitution, if you commit a crime, you have the right to face your accuser. OTOH, you give up lots of your rights when you sign to get your driver's license. (Yes, there's more to it than just that.)
    • So a national registry of license plates mapped to cell phones? Hmmmmmmmmmm.
  • Erm, I suppose they get some information about where the guy is (what cell, or better via triangulation or radio waves), or who he is talking to, too.

    or (shudder) they'll force him to use .. WAP ! (argh.)
  • Fight SPAM with SPAM (Score:4, Interesting)

    by techentin ( 121099 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:07PM (#5584856)
    Isn't it obvious? Spammers annoy everybody because they can do so without cost. The police have found a way to cost them money, which may actually result in less (sticker) SPAM.

    The logical extension is to apply the concepts of open source collaboration for email SPAM. Today a shady business can pay $5000 to a spammer to send 10,000,000 emails, and they get a profit because of the 0.01% response rate. Wouldn't it be a lot more fun if they got 10,000,000 emails and 10,000,000 web hits? Then let them try to sort the wheat from the chaff.

    Stop filtering, and just hit REPLY
  • by chrisseaton ( 573490 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:08PM (#5584866) Homepage
    They won't have to turn themselves in
  • Knee jerk reaction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wiggys ( 621350 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:09PM (#5584873)
    At first I thought this was a truly great idea.

    However, there is a huge problem with it: If you hate someone all you do is make some fake ads with their phone numbers on and leave them for the Chinese authorities to find and then spam.

    Result: an innocent person has a whole lotta shit to clean up.

    If the authorities do take some time to investigate the ads (ie actually try phoning the numbers and try to buy the products would be a start) then I think it might be a good way to deal with the criminals who promote their wares.

    Similar tactics have been done before against email spammers whereby people find out the spammer's home address and send them junk mail in the post. It pisses the spammers off, but unfortunately finding out the senders of such crap is much more difficult as they don't rely on an email address to take orders with.

    • If the authorities do take some time to investigate the ads (ie actually try phoning the numbers and try to buy the products would be a start)

      Yeah, actually...I would say RTFA, but it's the first time I actually read one in five years - I sorta had to to submit it - but it says that the police personally verify all numbers by calling them first before turning this thing on, and even then, a senior administrator has to personally vouch for the number.

      So, I guess it's his ass if they goof.

  • by CvD ( 94050 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:12PM (#5584890) Homepage Journal
    They did this about a year ago here in the Netherlands. Phones listed as stolen were sent a barrage of SMS messages, basically every couple minutes, making the phone nearly unusable (incessant beeping of arriving messages, full inbox, etc)

    In the GSM system, there is a SIM card which is linked to your phone number, subscription, etc. You put this card into your phone and use it. The phone itself has a unique identifyer as well, the IMEI number. It was these serial numbers which were used to identify stolen phones. So putting in a new SIM card won't work, because the phone will still identify itself to the network with its IMEI number.

    I never saw any report on how sucessfull this was, however. I can imagine that in a lot of cases the owner didn't even know it was stolen (if they bought it second hand)...

    Anyways, seems like a good way to harass people who use stolen phones.

    Cheers,

    Costyn.
    • I remember reading about this particular expirement, and they said that the cell-phone thefts were reduced by 90 % in a year.

      Which is quite easy to understand, as this makes it practically impossible to sell the stolen phone.
    • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @03:17PM (#5585383)
      They did this about a year ago here in the Netherlands. Phones listed as stolen were sent a barrage of SMS messages, basically every couple minutes, making the phone nearly unusable (incessant beeping of arriving messages, full inbox, etc)

      They're already doing this to me here in the US, although my phone wasn't even stolen. By linking sequential phone numbers directly to email addresses, they made it _very_easy_ for spambots to spam the hell out of us.

      Does anyone know of a US provider who doesn't use phone numbers as an email id?

  • by CommieLib ( 468883 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:17PM (#5584933) Homepage
    They'll even pick you up [smh.com.au].
  • Possible strategy (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Archfeld ( 6757 )
    to rid oneself of competition would then be to post your competitor's number all over the place and sit back smiling ?

    "Honest officer I didn't post 10,000 stickers all over the city with my cell number on it"
  • This would be great if implimented in the US against spam email. Set up a 'honeypot' email account, then spam-bomb the destination email address. Its like stealing from theives!
  • by BaCkBuRn ( 621588 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:35PM (#5585041) Homepage Journal
    Back in the good ol days officers of the law had discression when it came to interpretation of the law. When I was a youngin and was caught blowing up the neighbors mailbox I wasn't made a posterchild for federal anti-blowing-up-stuff ads like today. I was repermanded by a 7 foot tall ogre with a gun and a badge. I stopped blowing up mailboxes reeeeal fast.
    China's police figured out that jail and fines arent the way to stop most crime. It's all about the psychological punishment of having your phone ring untill your brain explodes. Hopefully more law enforcement agencies will catch on to the use of psycho-enforcement. (yey I coined another buzzword)
    -bb
  • by Anonymous Coward
    {man walks into police station}

    Man: Hello, I've come to turn myself in.
    Policeman: {starts laughing}
    Man: No really, I have. I feel all dirty and stuff.
    Policeman: {points at man, and starts laughing again}
    Man: Stop it! Stop it!!
    Policeman: {Regains breath. Tries to speak, and starts laughing again}
    Man: What's so funny?
    Policeman: Get out.

    THE END
  • Better Idea... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by j0hnfr0g ( 652153 )
    I doubt someone would actually turn themself in from spamming, so they ought to call and say:

    Hello. I have seen your advertisements and would like to learn more about your products/services since I think there is a high potential of purchasing at a large volume. Please meet me at (location) at (date/time).

    Then the police nab them at the location.
  • I do something similar to Spammers that have a contact form on their web site.

    Proof of concept code contained within [nettwerked.net].
  • Combine this with cellphone GPS/tower triangulation location methods, and some hypersonic sound [slashdot.org] and you could probably spam the person using the cellphone, as well as the phone itself.

    I better check and make sure my tinfoil hat doesn't have any holes!
  • by dutky ( 20510 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @02:42PM (#5585093) Homepage Journal
    When I was in Viet Nam we saw these short strings of digits painted on almost every vertical surface in HCMC. Each number was accompanied by a very short message (one or two words in vietnamese) but no other information whatsoever. When I asked our guide about them he told me that those were 'advertisements' and that the numbers were telephone numbers. He also said that the advertisments were highly illegal (because they were eyesores) and that the police would have any number found thus posted shut off by the telephone company (government run, of course).

    While this policy didn't seem to be having a discernable effect in HCMC, we didn't see the advertisements (at least not to the same degree) in other large cities (specifically Da Nang, Hue and Hanoi).

  • by MarvinMouse ( 323641 ) on Monday March 24, 2003 @03:27PM (#5585447) Homepage Journal
    Those who prefer to change their "poisoned" number rather than face punishment incur the fees and inconvenience of switching, and also lose any business their ad might have generated.

    This is an interesting statement to be made against spam in general. Those who get spammed incessently have to incur all of the costs, and either suffer through it (as most people do), or lose the revenue/contacts that have the old "poisoned" address.

    I think from this point on, I am going to call my addresses that receive 20+ spams a day "poisoned" addresses. Because that is basically what they are.

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian

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