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<nettime> spamboree II
geert lovink on Sat, 26 Jul 2003 02:17:27 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> spamboree II


(the first spam jamboree digest was posted to nettime on january 21, 2003.
enjoy,
geert)

<http://darkness.net.nz/archives/2003_01.html>:

MARKETING 101

You see a handsome guy at a party. You go up to him and say, "I'm
fantastic in bed."
-- That's Direct Marketing.

You're at a party with a bunch of friends and see a handsome guy. One of
your friends goes up to him and pointing at you says, "She's fantastic in
bed."
-- That's Advertising.

You see a handsome guy at a party. You go up to him, and get his telephone
number. The next day you call and say, "Hi, I'm fantastic in bed."
-- That's Telemarketing.

You're at a party and see a handsome guy. You get up and straighten your
dress. You walk up to him and pour him a drink. You say, "May I," and
reach up to straighten his tie brushing your breast lightly against his
arm, and then say, "By the way, I'm fantastic in bed."
-- That's Public Relations.

You're at a party and see a handsome guy. He walks up to you and says, "I
hear you're fantastic in bed."
-- That's Brand Recognition.

You're at a party and see a handsome guy. You talk him into going home
with your friend.
-- That's a Sales Rep

Your friend can't satisfy him so he calls you.
-- That's Tech Support.

You're on your way to a party when you realize that there could be
handsome men in all these houses you're passing. So you climb onto the
roof of one situated toward the center and shout at the top of your lungs,
"I'm fantastic in bed!"
-- That's Spam.

--

From: "Declan McCullagh" <declan {AT} well.com>
Sent: Friday, July 18, 2003 5:35 AM
Subject: Spam Alert: FC: Vault.com admits sending bulk unsolicited email:
"It's not spam!"

Globix.net: Vault.com has admitted to sending unsolicited bulk email in
probable violation of your acceptable use policy.
(http://www.globix.net/acceptable_use_policy.php) Please let me know what
actions you choose to take.

Everyone else: This is another nice attempt at redefining what spam is,
just as we saw the Direct Marketing Association do earlier this week
(http://www.politechbot.com/p-04958.html). We can argue about definitions
at the margins, and there are some borderline cases, but most reasonable
people would agree that bulk unsolicited email sent by automated means is
spam. The fact that there's a possible human (who may or may not reply) on
the other end does not make a difference.

(Bonus tip at identifying spam: The spammer refuses to identify where they
got your email address. Saying, as Vault.com does below, that "we have a
machine" that scraped it from an unnamed web site is telling.)

-Declan

--

From: "Mail Delivery Subsystem" <MAILER-DAEMON {AT} aol.com>
Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2003 8:44 AM
Subject: *****SPAM***** Returned mail: User unknown

This mail is probably spam.  The original message has been attached
along with this report, so you can recognize or block similar unwanted
mail in future.  See http://spamassassin.org/tag/ for more details.

Content preview:  This mail is probably spam. The original message has been
attached along with this report, so you can recognize or block similar
unwanted mail in future. See http://spamassassin.org/tag/ for more details.
[...]

Content analysis details:   (14.60 points, 5 required)
MAILER_DAEMON      (-2.6 points) From the Mailer-Daemon
WE_HONOR_ALL       (4.3 points)  BODY: Claims to honor removal requests
REVERSE_AGING      (2.9 points)  BODY: Reverses Aging
AS_SEEN_ON         (3.3 points)  BODY: As seen on national TV!
WRINKLES           (4.3 points)  BODY: Removes Wrinkles
HGH                (1.6 points)  BODY: Human Growth Hormone
WHILE_YOU_SLEEP    (2.6 points)  BODY: While you Sleep
OPT_IN_CAPS        (0.6 points)  BODY: Talks about opting in (capitalized
version)
BAYES_30           (-1.6 points) BODY: Bayesian classifier says spam
probability is 30 to 40%
                   [score: 0.3046]
HTML_FONT_BIG      (0.3 points)  BODY: FONT Size +2 and up or 3 and up
HTML_FONT_COLOR_BLUE (0.1 points)  BODY: HTML font color is blue
HTML_TITLE_UNTITLED (0.1 points)  BODY: HTML title contains "Untitled"
QUOTED_EMAIL_TEXT  (-3.2 points) BODY: Contains what looks like a quoted
email text
HTTP_USERNAME_USED (0.8 points)  URI: Uses a username in a URL
MAILTO_WITH_SUBJ   (0.6 points)  URI: Includes a link to send a mail with a
subject
USERPASS           (1.0 points)  URI: URL contains username and (optional)
password
KNOWN_MAILING_LIST (-0.6 points) Email came from some known mailing list
software
DATE_IN_PAST_06_12 (0.1 points)  Date: is 6 to 12 hours before Received:
date
CLICK_BELOW        (0.0 points)  Asks you to click below

The original message did not contain plain text, and may be unsafe to
open with some email clients; in particular, it may contain a virus,
or confirm that your address can receive spam.  If you wish to view
it, it may be safer to save it to a file and open it with an editor.

--

From: "Declan McCullagh" <declan {AT} well.com>
To: <politech {AT} politechbot.com>
Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2003 1:00 AM
Subject: FC: Weekly column: Lawsuit could set anti-spam rules for ISPs

http://news.com.com/2010-1071_3-1019814.html

Setting the rules for ISPs and spammers
By Declan McCullagh
June 23, 2003, 4:00 AM PT

    Peter Hall's troubles with spam began the week of Aug. 5, 1997, when
    the New York-based independent film producer learned that his
    EarthLink account had been shut off without warning.

    EarthLink, a leading Internet service provider (ISP), had
    concluded--incorrectly, it turns out--that Hall was a spammer. The
    company terminated Hall's e-mail account but chose not to bounce or
    forward his e-mail messages. It instead quietly stored them in a mail
    spool. Anyone sending Hall e-mail likely concluded that the message
    had gone through.

    This week, a federal judge in New York is scheduled to hear arguments
    in a $2 million lawsuit that Hall filed against EarthLink a year
    later. It claims that EarthLink violated the law and that the missed
    e-mail resulted in his low-budget film "Delinquent" becoming a flop.
    (The film, which described a tortured teen's conflict with his abusive
    father, did manage to score a favorable review from The Village Voice,
    which dubbed it "raw, restless, contemplative and haunting."

    The lawsuit is worth watching for three reasons. First, it may address
    whether oft-controversial antispam blacklists like the Mail Abuse
    Prevention System (MAPS) are legal or not.

    Second, it looks at what happens when an ISP fails to neither deliver
    nor bounce incoming e-mail. Last year, a Canadian woman named Nancy
    Carter sued her ISP for $110,000 in damages after it held her mail
    because of unpaid bills. A relatively new California law requires
    e-mail service providers to give a 30-day notice before terminating
    accounts. No U.S. court case decision appears to have addressed this
    practice, which critics say is tantamount to holding e-mail hostage.

    Third, it tries to establish the novel--and worrisome--legal principle
    that ISPs fall into a near-archaic "public interest" category that
    would prohibit them from giving the boot to subscribers whom they
    honestly believe to be spamming.

    [...]

--

From: <jeweltaylor {AT} tiscali.co.uk>
Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2003 10:12 PM
Subject: venture proposition.

>From Mrs. Jewel Taylor
The wife of President of Liberia

Dear Friend,

URGENT PROPOSAL FOR OUR MUTUAL BENEFIT

I am JEWEL TAYLOR, the wife of CHARLES TAYLOR the
President of Liberia. If you have been following the
trend of event about Liberia on CNN News, you will be
informed regarding the on going Rebel attacks War
trying to take over the Leadership of the Country from
my husband.

Dear friend, indeed your assistance in receiving some
money for safe keeping in case of any eventuality will
be highly appreciated for our mutual benefits. Your
kind and honest cooperation will be highly appreciated
since we have not meet in person but any transaction
based on trust can work.

The amount is $10 million with a Security company
Abroad. All that is needed is for me to instruct the
company, since the money is deposited on my name to
release it to you, as soon as you respond to this
proposal more so all the legal document relating to
the $10,000,000 deposit will be release to enable you
collect the funds. I am going to compensate you with
20% of $10,000,000.

Be Inform that my husband is not aware of my plans
because any thing can happen to him, even now that the
American President is telling him to step down. So you
have to be confidential. For security reason our
communication should be strictly by mail. Contact me
with this email address:

Best Regards

Yours Faithfully,

Mrs. JEWEL TAYLOR

--

[NYTimes]
June 21, 2003
E-Mail Swindle Uses False Report About a Swindle
By KATIE HAFNER and LAURIE J. FLYNN


SAN FRANCISCO, June 20 - It was a clever, if not entirely flawless ruse.
Many of its potential victims saw through it immediately. Others were less
skeptical and were caught in its snare.

On Wednesday, starting in the early afternoon, people around the country
began receiving an e-mail message with "Fraud Alert" in the subject line.
In the guise of concern about a purchase from Best Buy and possible credit
card misuse, the message urged recipients to go to a "special" BestBuy.com
Web site and correct the problem by entering their credit card and Social
Security numbers.

E-mail posing as a fraud notice to carry out a fraud - indeed preying on a
consumer's fear of being defrauded - is an illegal form of spam, the
much-loathed tide of random, unsolicited messages that pours into computer
inboxes every day.

"This is the electronic version of the call at night from somebody
purportedly being your credit card watchdog," said Malcolm Sparrow, a
professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, who
specializes in fraud control.

Almost immediately after the e-mail messages went out, thousands of calls
from consumers started pouring in to Best Buy's headquarters just outside
Minneapolis.

Best Buy acted quickly to distance itself from the deception. Within a few
hours, two bogus Web sites were shut down and customer service agents were
busy telling callers to disregard the e-mail messages. Those who had given
out their information were told to call their banks, credit card companies
and the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft Program.

But much of the damage had already been done. It was an electronic
hit-and-run.

Law enforcement authorities are taking the case seriously. "One person
being defrauded is a terrible thing in itself," said Paul McCabe, an
F.B.I. special agent in Minneapolis. "But several thousand people did
receive the e-mail."

In fact, perhaps as many as a million e-mails were sent out by the fraud
artists within a very short time, experts said.

The United States attorney's office in Minnesota is also involved in the
investigation. Mr. McCabe said law enforcement officials in other
countries had become involved, since the messages were also sent outside
the United States.

Dawn Bryant, a Best Buy spokeswoman, said that subpoenas were served to
Internet service providers that appear to have been hosts of the
fraudulent Web sites, if unwittingly and that companies that sell domain
names were also subpoenaed. By this afternoon, the company had handled
tens of thousands of calls, she said.

The perpetrators, said Naomi Lefkovitz, a lawyer with the F.T.C., could be
charged under the 1998 Federal Identity Theft Act. But catching them will
not be easy.

"Once it's launched it's quite hard for law enforcement to track down,"
Professor Sparrow said. "All of this stuff is done so remotely. And
chances are this one is being operated from abroad."

Fraud artists posing as fraud investigators are part of a time-honored
tradition.

"There's a whole species of fraud involving companies impersonating
customer service organizations," said Jason Catlett, president of the
Junkbusters Corporation, a consulting company. Once they have the credit
card and Social Security numbers in hand, perpetrators of such schemes
sell them to identity thieves.

The ability to send out mass e-mailings greatly increases the potential
yield. The number of people who fell for the fraud is unclear. Given how
widely the net was cast, though, it is probable the scheme trapped quite a
few victims.

"Even if 99.99 percent of the people who got it were sophisticated enough
to see through it, if you send out a million you'll get some victims,"
said David Sorkin, a professor at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago
and an expert on spam and consumer protection. "Spam is so cheap to send
that you don't need a high response rate."

By Wednesday afternoon, Web bulletin boards were filling up with news of
the fraud. "Good to spread the word on this fake as it is quite
convincing," posted one recipient who did not fall for the ploy.

"They are very brazen," another wrote. "Just be warned."

The Best Buy scheme was sophisticated, though not particularly original.
America Online, eBay, Wells Fargo and Bank of America have been the
unwitting participants in similar deceptions.

In one scheme around tax time last year, e-mail messages were sent in the
guise of an official Internal Revenue Service communication, alerting
recipients to a problem with their tax refund. "As the I.R.S. pointed out,
the I.R.S. doesn't e-mail people," Ms. Lefkovitz said.

Kevin Pursglove, a spokesman for eBay, said reports of fraudulent e-mail
schemes - including messages that ask for credit card information - come
in every day from customers.

"It's an ongoing issue for us," Mr. Pursglove said. "We are currently
working with law enforcement officials to track them down."

David Kennedy, research director for TrueSecure, a security company based
in Herndon, Va., that advises corporations, has seen an upswing in e-mail
frauds lately. He has even received some himself. "It has certainly surged
in the last three months," he said.

Most, but by no means all, consumers are shrewd enough to be suspicious of
e-mail requests for personal information. People should know, Mr.
Pursglove said, that "it's easy to mimic the look of an official e-mail or
Web page."

To carry off such a scheme, fraud artists collect e-mail addresses, often
using an automated program, and create a master e-mail list.
Electronically, they capture images from a legitimate corporate site to
create another Web site with the same look.

The link to Best Buy included in the e-mail message looked legitimate
enough, and the fake Web site was the very image of a Best Buy site.

But other aspects were clear giveaways. Not only were there obvious
grammatical mistakes, and strange return addresses, but a telephone number
accompanying a Staten Island mailing address had an area code for Seattle.

"The silly mistakes are classic," said Ms. Lefkovitz of the F.T.C. "It's
another thing we try to warn people about. Look for grammatical mistakes
and other sloppiness."

Professor Sparrow said schemes like this provide a perfect opportunity to
educate consumers. "People should understand that an incoming e-mail is
just like an incoming telephone call," he said. "If it's unsolicited you
should never trust it."

The fraudulent Best Buy e-mail messages were still arriving in computers
today, and will probably pop up here and there for months to come, long
after the spammers have disappeared into cyberspace.

"But they'll be back," Professor Sorkin said, "with some other scam
tomorrow."

--

From: "Declan McCullagh" <declan {AT} well.com>
To: <politech {AT} politechbot.com>
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2003 1:49 PM
Subject: FC: New anti-spam bill from Christian Coalition, Sen. Chuck Schumer

A copy of the bill is here:
http://www.politechbot.com/docs/schumer.antispam.bill.061203.pdf

http://news.com.com/2100-1028-1016779.html

    Bill would let spamees sue spammers
    By Declan McCullagh
    June 12, 2003, 7:21 PM PT

    A pair of unusual political allies, a left-wing Democrat and a
    conservative religious group, teamed up on Thursday in Washington's
    latest bid to rid the Internet of spam.

    Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York joined with the Christian Coalition to
    announce support for a new bill that would create a national "Do Not
    Spam" registry of e-mail addresses and, unlike other federal proposals
    to date, give individuals the right to sue spammers for $1,000 per
    unlawful message.

    In a second unusual twist, Schumer's Stop Pornography and Abusive
    Marketing (SPAM) Act generally requires that unsolicited commercial
    e-mail include "ADV"--for advertisement--in subject lines. But the
    SPAM bill has been questioned because certain industry groups, such as
    the Direct Marketing Association, could qualify for a loophole that
    would permit them to send bulk e-mail without placing ADV on their
    messages.

    Schumer's proposal has also been criticized because it could endanger
    legitimate Internet services such as "anonymous remailers" and would
    give marketers access to the complete do-not-spam list.

    [...remainder snipped...]

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
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--

From: "Robin Whittle" <rw {AT} firstpr.com.au>
To: "Link mailing list" <link {AT} anu.edu.au>
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2003 2:22 AM
Subject: [LINK] Postfix, Maildrop, SpamAssassin, Anomy Sanitizer, RH9.0 -How


-I-Did-It

I now have a totally swinging mail server, with the latest versions of
four important programs.  I have mailboxes on the server (IMAP) robust
server-based filtering of mailing lists etc.  Likewise, there is robust
server-based filtering of spam and viruses - all with open-source
software and operating systems.

How-I-Did-Its are at:

  http://www.firstpr.com.au/web-mail/

The four programs are:

  Postfix    Secure, solid, easy to configure MTA (mail server).
             http://www.postfix.org

  Courier IMAP  Fast IMAP server for keeping mailboxes on the server.
                Uses Maildir mailboxes which are much faster and more
                robust than the usual linear file Mbox mailboxes, as
                used by bog-standard University of Washington IMAP.

                http://www.inter7.com/courierimap/

  Courier Maildrop  Postfix uses this for delivering messages locally.
                    Has an extensive mail filtering language.  I use it
                    for extensive mailing list etc. filtering and to
                    call the next two programs.

                    http://www.flounder.net/%7Emrsam/maildrop/

  SpamAssassin  Brilliant spam detection system, using many rules,
                plus Real Time Black Hole checks, signature checks,
                and Bayesian heuristics - which learn from two
                sets of messages: spam and non-spam.  SpamAssassin
                caught 259 of 263 spams this week, with no false
                positives.  I just made some tweaks which would have
                made it catch three of the four it missed.

                http://spamassassin.org

   Anomy Sanitizer Excellent system for detecting virus and other
                   malware messages.  Defangs bad HTML, web-bugs etc.
                   The main reason for using it is to detect and drop
                   all messages which contain Windows executables -
                   which stops all viruses, without the need for
                   updating virus definition files etc.

                   http://mailtools.anomy.net/

I document how I installed, integrated and configured these on a Red Hat
9.0 system, and to a certain extent on a Red Hat 7.2 system too.

Other pages there include:

  Patching Maildrop so it can deliver messages "tagged for
  deletion", which enables mailing list messages etc. to
  be sent to the Inbox, after being copied to their own
  mailbox, tagged for deletion.  Then, all the list activity
  can be seen from the Inbox, without cluttering the Inbox,
  since the IMAP expunge gets rid of them.

  Configuring Netscape 7 / Mozilla Messenger, with a special
  focus on IMAP - but it is messy and not finished.

  A list of, and pointers to other lists of, Web-mail programs.

  The script I wrote for converting Mbox mailboxes to Maildirs is
  mentioned on this page, but is now being improved and maintained
  by Juri Haberland at:

    http://batleth.sapienti-sat.org/projects/mb2md/

   - Robin

--

"Write better emails. Make more moneys."
http://j-walk.com/blog/docs/conference.htm

--

Previous Politech message:
"Charles Platt: 'A cautionary tale about spam'"
http://www.politechbot.com/p-04784.html

---

To: declan {AT} well.com, politech {AT} politechbot.com, gnu {AT} new.toad.com
Subject: Re: FC: Charles Platt's nonobvious conclusion
Date: Thu, 29 May 2003 17:36:34 -0700
From: John Gilmore <gnu {AT} toad.com>

 > My autoreply from panix.com now sends a message telling people my phone
 > number and asking them to call me to get my new email address. This seems
 > a safe strategy because of course phone calls actually cost money (unlike
 > email which is virtually free), and consequently telephone spam is much
 > less of a problem.
 >
 > The conclusion is obvious.
 >
 > --CP

Perhaps I'm dense.  The conclusion is that we should not continue to
reduce the cost of communicating?  Or that we shouldn't be teaching
computers to handle audio easily?  Nor teaching them to speak and
understand speech?

AT&T just called me up today (unsolicited bulk calling) to let me know
that I could get nationwide local and long distance service from them
for a flat monthly rate of $48.95.  I declined because I already have
such a service from MCI.

Should we keep phone service on a per-minute basis?  Should we prevent
phone companies from lowering that monthly rate to $30, to $20, to
$10, to $2?  The conclusion is obvious?

I can see it now -- college students all over the country will get
software that lets them make $1000 a week by dialing out to random
phone numbers and offering various amazing promotions.  Be the first
in your area code, and we'll throw in free email for life!

(If the post office wasn't run by a government monopoly, postal costs
would also be dropping rather than rising.  The price and speed of
moving freight and express packages has been dropping for centuries.
And nanotech assemblers will cause the price of duplication of
physical objects to drop like the price of duplication of data, in a
decade or two.)

The conclusion is not obvious.  The obvious conclusion is that
communication costs are going to continue to drop -- as are the costs
of physical transportation of objects -- and that this is a GOOD
thing.  But that doesn't tell society how to handle unwanted letters,
unwanted calls, unwanted emails, unwanted magazines, unwanted
communications, unwanted packages, unwanted medicines, unwanted free
clothing, cars, and furniture, all arriving at your door or phone or
mailbox.  And any policy that purports to tell you how to handle
such "unwanted" things will burden the "wanted" emails, phone calls,
magazines, and medicines.

If Bill Gates made 6 billion doses of AIDS vaccine and mailed one dose
to every person on earth, should we tell him he's not allowed to?  If
Richard Stallman made 6 billion copies of a totally free and cool
operating system and emailed one to every person on earth, should we
tell him that treating your brother as you yourself would like to be
treated is a crime?  If Ted Fang could make more money selling ads
than it takes him to print and distribute his newspaper, what cop
sworn to uphold the First Amendment will haul him off to jail if he
delivers a free copy to every door?  If Rev. Jerry Falwell discovered
the ten-word magic prayer that really, truly, does cure cancer, who
among us will cast the first stone if he phones it to every cancer
patient in the country?  If George Bush the Tenth wants to be
President because nine generations of his forefathers were all
president too, can he not send every voter a chicken in every pot?

George W Bush actually *did* call every Republican or independent
voter in Nevada shortly before the Nov 2002 election.  He merely asked
them all to get out and vote.  His recorded voice, and some computers
somewhere on the telephone network, encouraged enough Republicans to
vote, so that the Nevada marijuana legaliation initiative got a
stinging defeat.  (Republicans tended to oppose it, Democrats tended
to favor it.)  Shouldn't he be able to suggest that people vote
Republican?  Even if the cost of those calls is low or free?

John

--

By MYLENE MANGALINDAN
The Associated Press
5/19/03 9:22 AM

The Wall Street Journal

When all 24 office phones at Scott Richter's e-mail marketing company
started ringing at once, with nobody at the other end of the line, employees
knew they were under attack again.

Daniel Dye, the systems administrator, could do little. After 15 minutes
into the lunchtime assault last month, Mr. Dye recalls yelling, "Go ahead
and pull your phones out of the walls for now. It'll be easier to think
about what to do." Examining the phone system's central computer, Mr. Dye
found that someone had hacked into it and programmed a feature that caused
all the phones to ring at the same time.

Mr. Richter's company had been "flamed" -- attacked by a shadowy group of
vigilantes who have taken to harassing spammers using just about any means
they can dream up. Spam, or unsolicited commercial e-mail, has set off a war
between marketers and people who hate spam. Mr. Richter, who is a mass
commercial e-mailer, has become a frequent target of attackers known as
antispammers.

They form a loose affiliation that uses the Internet to coordinate attacks
from around the world. E-mail marketers often feel powerless against them.
"It's an underground cult running it," says Mr. Richter, whose Westminster,
Colo., e-mail marketing business, Optinrealbig.com, pitches mortgages,
adult- related products and Viagra. "You don't know who they are."

Here's one of them: Mark Jones, a 26-year-old software engineer in
Enterprise, Ala., who calls himself a "soldier" in the war against spam.
 >From his home at night, he tracks down spammers by tracing the complex
routing code hidden in e-mail messages. He reports them to what antispammers
call "realtime blacklists," Web sites that track known spam sources and
allow computer administrators to block certain Internet addresses.

Then, he fights back. "Anytime we find a source of spam," he says, "we spam
them back."

After his three children were asleep late one Saturday night last November,
Mr. Jones sat down at his PC for a bit of spammer-flaming. First, he says,
he visited a Web site, slashdot.org, that's a favorite among techies; he
pulled down a list of about 10 alleged spammers. He programmed his personal
computer to send a letter to each supposed spammer in the same way many
spammers do: through so-called open relays and mail servers that forward
e-mail in ways that make it hard to track down the sender. As his finishing
stroke, he had his PC send the message to each spammer 10,000 times.

"We use the same methods the spammers use," says Mr. Jones, chuckling. "It's
a bombardment."

--

A VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE:

The World Health Organisation today issued a new warning against
non-essential travel to the entire Western hemisphere following
renewed concerns about the spread of Severe Loss of Perspective
Syndrome (SLOPS).

Officials are warning travellers not to visit the UK, the US, almost
all of Western Europe, Canada and Australia, following further
outbreaks of the disease, which has led to mass panic among the
media, thousands of ecstatic children being kept out of school by
their credulous and moronic parents, and increased profits for DIY
stores as the idiot public rush to bulk-buy face masks and boiler
suits.

A WHO spokesman said, "You'd be much better off going to somewhere
like Taiwan or China, because all you've got to worry about there is
SARS, and let's face it, you're about as likely to die from that as
you are to get kicked to death by a gang of zombie nuns."

The SARS virus has now claimed a staggering 500 lives in only six
months, which makes it considerably more deadly than, say, malaria,
which only kills around 3000 people every single day. Malaria,
however, mainly affects only darkies what speak foreign, whereas SARS
has made at least one English person feel a bit iffy for a couple of
days, and is therefore considered much more serious.

The spread of SLOPS has now reached pandemic proportions, with many
high-level politicians seemingly affected by the disease. The rapid
spread of SLOPS has been linked to the end of the war in Iraq and the
need for Western leaders to give the public something to worry about.
Otherwise, they might start asking uncomfortable questions about
domestic issues, and that simply would not do.

To contain the spread of SLOPS, anyone who appears to be exhibiting
symptoms of SLOPS should be dragged into the street by their genitals
and shot!

--

www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lopez30apr30,1,4820904.story
April 30, 2003

STEVE LOPEZ: POINTS WEST

Porn Spam? No Thanks, Ma'am: Click Open, Scan, Delete, Repeat

It was a quick getaway to the Pacific coast of Mexico, and a total
escape from reality. For nearly a week I had no television, listened to
no radio, didn't read a newspaper. Most importantly, I didn't get
anywhere near a computer.

This is the only way to fly in the Information Age. You need rehab now
and then, and it helps to go someplace where there's salt on all the
drinks, your e-mail can't find you, and the only intrusion is from
coconuts washing ashore. I was only taking messages that came in
bottles.

So I get back to the office a new man, blood pressure down, the gray
pallor gone. I fire up the computer, check the e-mail, and what do I
find?

Waves of a different kind, crashing over the breakwater - a relentless
tide of unsolicited pitches to lower my mortgage and boost my manhood.

And porn. Lots of it.

Jessica wanted to know if I was looking for someone special.

Jordan wanted me to come check her out, and judging by the photos, it's
fair to say that Jordan is no wallflower.

"Are you still online?" Cyndy asked.

Susie wanted to know if I was free tonight. Would she still be
interested, I wondered, if she knew I was such a prime candidate for
penile enlargement?

"Hey," asked Jill. "Remember me?"

No, as a matter of fact. With or without her clothes, I don't remember
Jill. Or Jennifer, for that matter, although she did look vaguely
familiar. Before leaving on vacation, I think I spotted her in a
barnyard scene that would have knocked 4-H clubbers off their milking
stools.

You click open these messages, some of which are camouflaged as
legitimate mail, and hope the boss doesn't walk by while your screen is
filled with a cavalcade of private parts, topped by a screaming
headline, "Sexy Secretaries Waiting for Your Indecent Instruction."

In one week, my unsolicited porn e-mail seemed to have gotten even more
perverse. In one stretch, six straight e-mails arrived with photos to
indulge every imaginable fetish.

Maybe it hadn't gotten worse. Maybe I had just become so accustomed to
daily visits from colonies of eager sex slaves, I needed to be away for
a while to be reminded how raw and relentless this stuff is.

As a matter of fact, an expert told me, there's more of it by the day.
Spam - unwanted e-mail solicitation - is growing 20% a month, says Paul
Judge of CipherTrust, a firm that sells anti-spam software and
strategies.

Internet marketing is like a nerve gas that seeps into any crack.
Unfortunately you can't duct tape your e-mail in-basket. Porn will
enter your office and find you at your desk.

You can kill a thousand messages and it only invites more.

You can write every foul word you remember from junior high into an
e-mail filter, and it still gets through, all of it distant and,
ultimately, deadening.

Click here for the "absolute horniest girls anywhere." Click here for
the "first and only interactive orgy web site."

Here we are at the pinnacle of global communication science, and it's
being used to sign you up for a look at the "best butts in the biz."

Now don't get me wrong. Go ahead and have your interactive orgies, if
that's what does it for you, and put me down as a supporter of
virtually all kinds of nakedness. Every red-blooded male is going to
sneak a peek now and then.

But I don't think the cause of humankind is advanced by bombarding
every man, woman and child with unsolicited photos that would make a
gynecologist blush. I'm almost tempted to send a donation to those hair
circus televangelists who rant and rave on the Trinity Broadcasting
Network. They might be right about the apocalypse.

Marty Kaplan of USC's Norman Lear Center says it's not just e-mail porn
that threatens the republic.

"Have you listened to FM shock radio?" he asked. "It's coarse beyond
belief. There is no envelope anymore I mean, Howard Stern is quaint
compared to the kind of stuff you can hear There has been a coarsening
of our culture which is pretty near universal."

While I was asking Kaplan what we can do about it, an e-mail popped up
on his screen.

"It says, 'Would you like a larger one, or for your spouse to have a
larger one?' I'm still trying to parse that."

Your only hope to preserve the sanctity of your family and your right
to privacy, Kaplan says, is to move to East Jerusalem, Oaxaca or Amish
country.

Maybe. But if you take a laptop, Trish and her friends will find you.

"Hi, my name's Trish," she said in a message to me. "Yesterday was my
18th birthday, and guess what my parents bought me?"

Tickets to the opera?

"A new computer! The best part is, it has a web cam!!!"

Good thinking, Mom and Dad. The little darling's on her way.

CipherTrust's Judge, who chairs the Anti-Spam Research Group that met
recently in San Francisco, says technology, consumer education and
legislation can eventually vaporize a lot of unwanted e-mails.

But it'll get worse before it gets better, he says, because spammers
keep devising ways to get through. It's so cheap to send mass e-mails,
Judge says spammers can turn a profit if only five people in 500,000
respond.

Somebody let me know when the problem is solved. I'll be on a beach in
Mexico, waiting for a message in a bottle.

--

From: "osiokor emoghene" <siokor {AT} yahoo.com>
To: <geert {AT} xs4all.nl>
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2003 10:49 PM
Subject: With you

Am Tony from Nigeria a Nigerian trying to make a move to better our country.
I read the messages you sent to nettime-l {AT} bbs.thing.net and am very mush
apprecaited the time you spent in giving us details about your experience.

I am not happy the way things are in Nigeria in regards to this fraudulent
mails.  I am looking for those who will help in joining me to fight against
this act by mostly Nigerian youth and this can only happen in other
countries abroad lets try and form a kind of watch group that can help in
tracing them down.

Do you know that these people are not actually in Nigeria that are the
dupers if we can get them we can put an end to this "virus" I call it that
because it has eaten deep into the Nigerian youth and seems there is no
cure.   I know with support from people around we can put an end to all
these.  You can chat with me at yahoo (my chat name is siokor) Thanks
and hope to here from you.
--

http://www.cdt.org/speech/spam/030319spamreport.shtml

--

Will new filters save us from spam?
MIT Spam Conference eyes filters to destroy spam business model

By Scarlet Pruitt January 17, 2003

BOSTON -- THE roughly 500 programmers, researchers, hackers and IT
administrators gathered in a chilly classroom on the campus of the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Friday aren't just looking
to slow the relentless onslaught of spam -- they want to completely
destroy its business model.

Their aim is to find a spam filter so effective, that spammers would
receive few, if any, responses, making sending unsolicited bulk e-mail a
financially prohibitive task.

"Spamming is a business, and the theft efficiency ratio is the same as
stealing hubcaps," said programmer William Yerazunis, speaking at what
is thought to be the first Spam Conference ever focused on spam filters.

But the high payoff for sending spam could change if an e-mail filter
like the one Yerazunis pioneered becomes widely adopted by large
Internet service providers (ISPs).

Yerazunis wrote a language for writing filters based on the Bayesian
system which assigns statistical probabilities to whether or not an
e-mail is spam. The language is called CRM114, and he wrote a filter
program in CRM114 called MailFilter.

At the conference at least, MailFilter was being seen as the great white
hope for battling the escalating spam problem.

In tests Yerazunis performed, MailFilter was 99.915 percent accurate in
identifying spam.

"I'm only 99.84 percent accurate at identifying spam, so this is much
more accurate than I am," Yerazunis quipped.

MailFilter is still in alpha testing, however.

Still, Spam Conference organizer Paul Graham said he was extremely
excited about Yerazunis' solution.

"Bill's filter looks like the most promising," Graham said.

Graham himself is a big proponent of filters based on the Bayesian
system and he has written his own research report on the subject called
"A Plan for Spam."

His paper, released last August and posted online at
http://www.paulgraham.com/spam.html , has generated a lot of discussion
within the spam fighting community.

And Graham has written his own filter based on the Bayes system as well.

"I believe in filters because I personally do not have a spam problem,"
he said.

Graham added that the idea that filters alone could thwart spam did not
get serious discussion until about a year ago. However, both Graham and
Yerazunis believe that if there is widespread adoption of filters that
are accurate enough to make spamming economically prohibitive, the
problem will cease without the need for legislation or other measures.

According to Yerazunis, spam filters need to be at least 99.5 percent
accurate to push the cost of sending bulk unsolicited e-mail to about
the same as it is to send direct snail mail, making it a far less
attractive method for sending solicitations.

The problem, of course, is getting large ISPs like Yahoo Inc., America
Online Inc. and Microsoft Corp. to adopt the filters. As it stands now,
each ISP is taking its own approach.

Still, representatives from all three companies registered for the
conference and showed interest in hearing what new ideas were being
batted around.

One of the perennial problems when employing any anti-spam system is
deciding what is and what isn't spam. Whether something should be
considered spam is often up to the user, and this makes building and
employing filters especially tricky.

"The definition of spam is personal and spam is constantly changing,"
said Jason Rennie, an MIT student doing research on adaptive spam filtering.

Spam-fighters are hoping to collect as much spam as possible so they can
perform analysis and research on the features that make up spam.

Paul Judge, a representative for e-mail security firm CipherTrust Inc.,
said that his company is collecting a spam archive for this purpose.
Over the last two months the company has collected 250,000 pieces of
spam, he said, and is on track to have 1.5 million pieces within the
first year.

"Spam messages are starting to look more and more like non-spam
messages," Judge said, adding that analysis is becoming even more important.

While CipherTrust is building its spam archive, Chicago-based programmer
Philip Tom was at the conference, handing out we he called "a day of
spam" - a disk containing 250,000 spam e-mails.

Tom said that he has an archive of over 50 million spam messages, and
receives 250,000 a day from an undisclosed source.

"I want to know what is spam," he said.

Tom said that most people don't understand why he is collecting and
analyzing spam, but that it provides an interesting project for him.

While he said he might sell the archive for research purposes, he also
thinks he might just hand it over "for the greater good" of eliminating
spam.

"One thing I can tell you is that spam is growing exponentially," he
said, noting that when he started his archive two years ago he received
10,000 a day, compared to the quarter million spam messages he receives
per day now.

The sheer amount of spam has made fighting unsolicited commercial e-mail
one of the top goals of the technology industry recently.

But when Graham was asked whether he was planning another Spam
Conference, given the success of this one, he said, no.

"Hopefully we will solve this problem and we won't need another
conference," Graham said.

"I don't want to be working on the spam problem ten years from now!"

http://www.infoworld.com/article/03/01/17/030117hnspammit_1.html

--

URGENT ASSISTANCE NEEDED - FROM USA

 IMMEDIATE ATTENTION NEEDED :
 HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL

 FROM: GEORGE WALKER BUSH
 202.456.1414 / 202.456.1111
 FAX: 202.456.2461

 DEAR SIR / MADAM,

 I AM GEORGE WALKER BUSH, SON OF THE FORMER
 PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
 GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH, AND CURRENTLY
 SERVING AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
 OF AMERICA. THIS LETTER MIGHT SURPRISE YOU
 BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT MET NEITHER IN PERSON
 NOR BY CORRESPONDENCE. I CAME TO KNOW OF
 YOU IN MY SEARCH FOR A RELIABLE AND REPUTABLE
 PERSON TO HANDLE A VERY CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS
 TRANSACTION,  WHICH INVOLVES THE TRANSFER OF A
 HUGE SUM OF MONEY TO AN ACCOUNT REQUIRING
 MAXIMUM CONFIDENCE.

 I AM WRITING YOU IN ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE
 PRIMARILY TO SEEK YOUR ASSISTANCE IN
 ACQUIRING OIL FUNDS THAT ARE PRESENTLY
 TRAPPED IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ. MY PARTNERS
 AND I SOLICIT YOUR ASSISTANCE IN COMPLETING A
 TRANSACTION BEGUN BY MY FATHER, WHO HAS LONG BEEN
 ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN THE EXTRACTION OF PETROLEUM IN
 THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND BRAVELY SERVED HIS
 COUNTRY AS DIRECTOR OF THE UNITED STATES
 CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY.

 IN THE DECADE OF THE NINETEEN-EIGHTIES,
 MY FATHER, THEN VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE
 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, SOUGHT TO WORK
 WITH THE GOOD OFFICES OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE
 REPUBLIC OF IRAQ TO REGAIN LOST OIL REVENUE
 SOURCES IN THE NEIGHBORING ISLAMIC REPUBLIC
 OF IRAN. THIS UNSUCCESSFUL VENTURE WAS SOON
 FOLLOWED BY A FALLING OUT WITH HIS IRAQI
 PARTNER, WHO SOUGHT TO ACQUIRE ADDITIONAL OIL
 REVENUE SOURCES IN THE NEIGHBORING EMIRATE
 OF KUWAIT, A WHOLLY-OWNED U.S.-BRITISH
 SUBSIDIARY.

 MY FATHER RE-SECURED THE PETROLEUM ASSETS OF
 KUWAIT IN 1991 AT A COST OF SIXTY-ONE BILLION U.S.
 DOLLARS ($61,000,000,000). OUT OF THAT COST, THIRTY-SIX
 BILLION DOLLARS ($36,000,000,000) WERE SUPPLIED BY
 HIS PARTNERS IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA
 AND OTHER PERSIAN GULF MONARCHIES, AND
 SIXTEEN BILLION DOLLARS ($16,000,000,000) BY
 GERMAN AND JAPANESE PARTNERS. BUT MY FATHER'S FORMER
 IRAQI BUSINESS PARTNER REMAINED IN CONTROL OF
 THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ AND ITS PETROLEUM RESERVES.

 MY FAMILY IS CALLING FOR YOUR URGENT ASSISTANCE
 IN FUNDING THE REMOVAL OF THE PRESIDENT OF
 THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ AND ACQUIRING THE
 PETROLEUM ASSETS OF HIS COUNTRY, AS COMPENSATION
 FOR THE COSTS OF REMOVING HIM FROM POWER.
 UNFORTUNATELY, OUR PARTNERS FROM 1991 ARE NOT
 WILLING TO SHOULDER THE BURDEN OF THIS
 NEW VENTURE, WHICH IN ITS UPCOMING PHASE
 MAY COST THE SUM OF 100 BILLION TO 200 BILLION
 DOLLARS ($100,000,000,000 - $200,000,000,000),
 BOTH IN THE INITIAL ACQUISITION AND IN
 LONG-TERM MANAGEMENT.

 WITHOUT THE FUNDS FROM OUR 1991
 PARTNERS, WE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO
 ACQUIRE THE OIL REVENUE TRAPPED WITHIN IRAQ.
 THAT IS WHY MY FAMILY AND OUR COLLEAGUES
 ARE URGENTLY SEEKING YOUR GRACIOUS ASSISTANCE.
 OUR DISTINGUISHED COLLEAGUES IN THIS
 BUSINESS TRANSACTION INCLUDE THE SITTING
 VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
 OF AMERICA, RICHARD CHENEY, WHO IS
 AN ORIGINAL PARTNER IN THE IRAQ VENTURE
 AND FORMER HEAD OF THE HALLIBURTON OIL
 COMPANY, AND CONDOLEEZA RICE, WHOSE
 PROFESSIONAL DEDICATION TO THE
 VENTURE WAS DEMONSTRATED IN THE NAMING
 OF A CHEVRON OIL TANKER AFTER HER.

 I WOULD BESEECH YOU TO TRANSFER A SUM
 EQUALING TEN TO TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT
 (10-25 %) OF YOUR YEARLY INCOME TO OUR
 ACCOUNT TO AID IN THIS IMPORTANT VENTURE.
 THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE OF THE
 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WILL FUNCTION
 AS OUR TRUSTED INTERMEDIARY. I PROPOSE
 THAT YOU MAKE THIS TRANSFER BEFORE
 THE FIFTEENTH (15TH) OF THE MONTH OF
 APRIL.

 I KNOW THAT A TRANSACTION OF THIS MAGNITUDE
 WOULD MAKE ANYONE APPREHENSIVE AND
 WORRIED. BUT I AM ASSURING YOU THAT ALL
 WILL BE WELL AT THE END OF THE DAY. A BOLD
 STEP TAKEN SHALL NOT BE REGRETTED,
 I ASSURE YOU. PLEASE DO BE INFORMED THAT
 THIS BUSINESS TRANSACTION IS 100% LEGAL.
 IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO CO-OPERATE
 IN THIS TRANSACTION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR
 INTERMEDIARY REPRESENTATIVES TO FURTHER
 DISCUSS THE MATTER.

 I PRAY THAT YOU UNDERSTAND OUR PLIGHT.
 MY FAMILY AND OUR COLLEAGUES WILL BE
 FOREVER GRATEFUL. PLEASE REPLY
 IN STRICT CONFIDENCE TO
 THE CONTACT NUMBERS BELOW.

 SINCERELY WITH WARM REGARDS,

 GEORGE WALKER BUSH

 Switchboard: 202.456.1414
 Comments: 202.456.1111
 Fax: 202.456.2461
 Email: president {AT} whitehouse.gov

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