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back to article JAILBREAK! US smut spam king Kilbride flees minimum security prison

A manhunt is underway in California following the escape of convicted porn spammer Jeffrey Kilbride from a minimum security prison camp within the Lompoc Federal Correction Complex. Kilbride and his associate James Schaffer were jailed in 2007 on a variety of charges related to their long-running email business, including fraud …

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Confused about time frames

If he went to jail in 2007 with a 72 month (6 year) sentence, then why was he scheduled for release in 2015? Were there other sequential sentences involved?

Asking because when I started reading I was halfway expecting a "dumbest criminal" story where the perp escapes despite only having a couple of weeks left anyway.

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Re: Confused about time frames

It's because of the speed of US jurisprudence. He likely didn't start serving until after his last appeal which was filed on 28 October 2009 and I'd guess that was resolved a few months later.

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Re: Confused about time frames

The difference is the arrest date vrs the conviction date. If he was locked up that time counts towards the sentence. If he was out on bail it could of been a year before the trial started. Thus the differences.

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Re: Confused about time frames

The dumbest criminal story has to go to a gang of robbers who asked the victim to tie them up when the police arrived. I can't find the link now, but their brilliant idea is that they wanted the victim to tell the police that they were also victims of some other actual robbers. She didn't cooperate. Surprise, surprise.

On this actual story, considering it was a spammer, I'm glad he found prison so intolerable he wanted to escape and I hope he is caught soon and gets a substantial addition to his time away from spam.

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Re: Confused about time frames

According to the original story for which a link was provided, the two vermin were sentenced in 2007.

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Re: Confused about time frames

Naw try the guy that robbed a lady and asked her out on date.

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Anonymous Coward

He was sentenced to 72-months (consecutive) in jail. Who else thinks that when they catch him, he should start back at 0 and then double it for his escape? Oh, and no more minimum security prison either. Maybe they should offer a work release program, but he has to clean the floors at an adult theater though; with a tooth brush. The same tooth brush he gets to use while being incarcerated.

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Seems to be an awful lot of sadists around these parts.

Not that I have much sympathy for Kilbride, but I think a few people need to be subject to the punishments they so achingly wish to inflict on others.

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Perhaps a lot of us have a bit of pent-up anger over having to deal with his shit on a daily basis, and would gladly break a couple kneecaps in return.

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If he gets caught he'll do seven years for the escape. I think Iowa is the only state that varies on that. He also be eligible for minimum security facilities or a Trustee role, ever. He also won't qualify for deescalating parole, meaning his freedoms won't gradually be returned during parole. His time served won't be rolled back, but the seven years will be a consecutive sentence, he won't leave jail until it's all done.

It's insanely stupid to escape from prison for short term sentences. You lose everything when you're caught and will receive no privileges, no matter how well behaved you are. I realize he was miserable in there, but that's kind of the point. Now he's going to be there for so much longer. What a dumbass.

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I think "dumbass" is being really kind actually but it might not be too bad since he has turned himself in. It's actually nice nice to know he wasn't as evil as the last spammer to break out of jail.

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Holmes

All men's hands raised against him?

This is the only comment about turning himself in, but it doesn't mention the most interesting aspect of why he did so. Try to imagine how many enemies he has. I can't count that high, because it is potentially EVERY person who has ever been annoyed by spam email.

The vigilante topic has been mentioned briefly in this discussion, but I were a spammer whose picture had just been circulated on the Internet... I'd be kind of desperate for police protection. Fortunately, I don't even own a gun these days, but I can imagine the response of the guy who shot him: "I read that he was an escaped convict and saw his picture in the article, but I missed the part where it said he wasn't violent, so I just felt like I had to shoot him to prevent him from escaping."

Even worse if I was the police officer taking the report: "Good thing you shot him 17 times so he couldn't run away."

That's why I'm only advocating a system to support "target acquisition and tracking". I should not be in a position to actually do anything about it... If you gave me a button to push and told me that each push administered a painful electric shock to a spammer, then I don't see how I could resist the behavioral extreme of pushing it several times a second until I died of starvation... (I've already confessed that I hate spam more than the average bear, and everyone knows that bears are soulless killing machines.)

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Happy

Tag him...

A bit extreme, just fit him with a tagger/tracker for the next 10 years and have it email AND text him and his immediate family ( if they haven't disowned him! ) every 5 seconds to remind them he's still wearing it!

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Pirate

Re: Tag him...

A bit extreme, just fit him with a tagger/tracker for the next 10 years and

and now, allow me to completely fill in what is missing:

and publish the number so people worldwide can send a text message of "ZAP HIM", to get the attached taser to deliver justice!!!!

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Re: All men's hands raised against him?

If you gave me a button to push and told me that each push administered a painful electric shock to a spammer, then I don't see how I could resist the behavioral extreme of pushing it several times a second until I died of starvation

Here's your button. Each push will administer a painful electric shock to a spammer.

Now if you'll all excuse me it looks like someone has been spamming the forum with some frothy mouthed diatribe about being some sort of an anti-spam crusader, no sorry, make that whinger as the anti-spam spammer appears to have snapped and likely isn't able to function normally much less as a crusader.

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@M Gale

Nothing says he has to use the toothbrush to brush his teeth; he could forgo that.

He obviously liked smut, so this just gives him more experience with all that it involves.

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Re: All men's hands raised against him?

Well, phucking excuse me for still thinking I should try to make the world a better place. A place with less spam.

So exactly what are you doing for anyone, Mr Ito? I suppose you need to rush back to your computer game?

By the way, it's nothing personal, Mr Ito. I'm just taking you as a representative of all the hopeless, non-constructive, and evidently rather feeble-minded critics (named and too-cowardly-to-be-named-even-by-a-Register-handle commenters) that the spammers depend upon to stay in business.

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Re: All men's hands raised against him?

I fail to see, Mr. Jacobs, how extended rants, which account for approximately 20% of all posts on this particular internet forum, make the world a better place any more than a dog barking in the middle of the street does.

As for what I'm doing for anyone, while it isn't your concern perhaps you'll look earlier in the forum and notice that I provided an answer to a question. Perhaps it wasn't the best or most complete answer but it was of more substance than "I hate spam, spammers should die, if you disagree with me or my methods then you must be an evil spammer lover" ad nauseum. I freely admit I don't know how to fix the problem that is spam but then thanks to a variety of filters I don't have a particularly hard time with it so it isn't my top priority. I'm truly sorry about your affliction but vitriolic rants and personal attacks don't make your plight more sympathetic in fact they achieve the opposite.

Finally, don't worry Mr. Jacobs. I would never take any comment here personally since I couldn't give a shit less about the opinion of some caricature on the internet especially when you consider that over 60% of web traffic isn't human.

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Re: All men's hands raised against him?

Still waiting for a constructive thought or comment, Mr Ito? Since you are such a superior being, surely you must have something useful to say.. I searched for your other comment, but you are right, it wasn't worth remembering. Obviously, I strongly disagree with you on the relative merits of our positions. However, since you seem to want to persist in the discussion, and since you seem to be having troubles in understanding what I have written, let me try to simplify it for you:

1. Spam is bad. It adds no positive value to the Internet and reducing the amount of spam would be a good thing.

2. The spammers are insane sociopaths, but they are not stupid. They persist in spamming because they are making money.

3. The spammers use a variety of economic models, but each of those models has weaknesses.

4. I would like to have tools to help identify and target those weaknesses. I don't mind that people like you, Mr Ito, would get a free ride if other people actually want to make the world better. I would gladly donate a bit of my time for the cause of less spam.

5. Notwithstanding the perverse peculiarities of so many of the people who write comments on the Register (such as a certain so-called Mr Ito), I think the overwhelming majority of normal human beings would vote with me for less spam.

One of my perversions is that I am resolved to try harder to make the world better.

Another perversion is that I can't understand the perspective of anyone who defends spam or spammers unless I imagine that such a person has a vested interest in sustaining spam, either because they are a spammer or possibly because they are a quasi-opponent of spam. For example, I think there are some postmasters who are basically happy with the way things are and who actually see spam as part of their job security. (Perhaps you have a position on the claim that many computer viruses actually originate with companies that sell virus protection software? I'm still thinking about that one...)

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Re: All men's hands raised against him?

This is where I think you are confused. Nobody here defended spammers, claimed to enjoy spam or said there wasn't a need to reduce spam. Only you have claimed that others are of this opinion because you conflate the concept with disagreeing with your method of baying at the moon to rally the troops to reduce spam with defending spammers. I agree with you that "the overwhelming majority of normal human beings would vote with me for less spam" and I am even one of them but to my way of thinking your inability to take criticism about how you do things and attacking potential allies is a step in the wrong direction. I'm honestly trying to help you understand that lashing out with vitriolic inferences isn't necessarily the best means to the end we both desire. I now realize that is folly so I give up. Carry on with whatever little band of cohorts you go into battle with as you have convinced me that it's best to sit on the sidelines.

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Anonymous Coward

OMG!!!

He looks just like General Keith Alexander, head of the NSA.

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2013 closes on a joyous news note!

Pretty rare that the news makes me happy these days, but this story fills me with joy, admittedly of a perverse sort, which probably suits the original crime. Why? Because this little escapade has to end well. Hopefully he will be caught soon and resist arrest, resulting in a nice long extension to his little vacation in prison. He's already earned extra with the break, but a spammer deserves the extra for resisting arrest, too. Alternatively, he will remain in hiding, feeling the fear but too terrified to resort to his his old spamming ways. If there is one thing he does not need now, it is the publicity of spamming again.

That's part of why this entire spam thing amazes me: ALL of the spammers are waving big red flags. "I'm a criminal, and come to this website so I can rob you!" There are minor variations, but all of the interesting spam boils down to that kind of "Look at me! I'm a criminal" broadcast. (Most of the less interesting spam fits the same shoe, too.)

Why don't the big email providers fix the spam problem? I'm not saying that anything can turn the sociopathic spammers into decent human beings or that we can eliminate all spam, but we could certainly reduce the profitability of the spammers' business models, and this would drive most of the spammers to move under less visible rocks.

Imagine an integrated anti-spammer system built into the largest email providers. After all, without their support, the spammers' business has to fail. It would involve several rounds of automated analysis and human confirmation. Wannabe spam fighters would help the system categorize the spam and target the appropriate countermeasures to break ALL of the spammers' infrastructure, pursue ALL of the spammers' accomplices, and help and protect ALL of the spammers' victims--especially the victims who are stupid enough to feed the spammers' scams, but also such external victims as the corporations whose reputations are slammed by the spammers' vile abuse. There aren't many suckers available for the spammers, but there are LOTS of people who hate spammers and if it were made easier for the wannabe spam fighters to intervene, the thin links between spammers and suckers can be broken. This kind of system can also evolve to break any new models the spammers devise.

Here's a simple and concrete example. These days spammers often use dropbox email addresses on other systems. This analysis system would initially identify these addresses, for example by distinguishing them from other victims or joe-job addresses. In the second round of the analysis, the system could report on results of previous complaints to the relevant postmaster, perhaps offering upstream escalation as an option, or voting for a higher sanction of the email provider in question. One of the most obvious "extreme sanctions" that this could support would be a "delivery delay" sanction. If an email provider is slow about cutting off the spammers' email dropboxes, then the targeted email system would delay the delivery of email to and from that system. Some of the Yahoo subsidiaries are obvious examples, especially the Hong Kong Yahoo. Imagine the effect if Gmail imposed a policy like this: "If you fail to nuke a spammers' dropbox within 20 minutes of our reporting it to you (based on 5 human-confirmed reports), then we will delay all email to and from your system by your OWN response time to such complaints. Good luck in explaining your incompetence to your users."

Yeah, I hate spam more than the average bear, but I don't feel lonely just because I'm at that end of the bell curve. Why don't the email providers help turn some of such hatred of spammers into fondness for the email providers who really hurt the spammers?

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

Please feel free to post an actual reply after you learn to read above kindergarten level. Each of the checkboxes you selected was specifically addressed in my actual suggestion, so therefore I'm guessing you picked options from the well known list with your magic eight ball, which is evidently worn out, too.

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

Downvoted because while you no doubt feel better after getting that little diatribe off your chest it has precisely zero relevance to the issue at hand.

Oh, so you don't like spammers. Thank you for that earth-shattering revelation.

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Holmes

Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

You know, anytime someone defends or protects spammers, it really makes me wonder. Do you also defend child pornographers? If so, do you defend only the sellers of child porn, or also the makers? Just asking, because the spammers would be glad to pitch that, too, if they thought they could make a nickel from it.

However, I am vaguely curious about your claim of irrelevance. Were you talking about the original post? If so, I would say that going to prison is a seriously broken economic model, and insofar as it prevented that spammer from sending spam or discourages that spammer from sending any additional spam in the future, my post is highly germane. If you were talking about my reply to the rather mindless response, then I simply note that that person reconsidered his post, apparently found it embarrassing, and decided to remove it.

However, in either case, I feel like returning to the original question: Why are you speaking in defense of the spammers? In one of the worst cases, it makes me wonder if you are a spammer yourself.

Oh yeah, about the down vote: Coming from someone who defends spammers, I have to count it as an endorsement.

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

""You know, anytime someone defends or protects spammers, it really makes me wonder. "

Straw man fallacy. He didn't defend spammers. I found your obvious zeal a bit much too.

"Do you also defend child pornographers? If so, do you defend only the sellers of child porn, or also the makers? Just asking, because the spammers would be glad to pitch that, too, if they thought they could make a nickel from it."

Appeal to fear fallacy.

"However, in either case, I feel like returning to the original question: Why are you speaking in defense of the spammers? In one of the worst cases, it makes me wonder if you are a spammer yourself."

Looks like post hoc/regression fallacy to me - ah, no. Appeal to motive.

"Oh yeah, about the down vote: Coming from someone who defends spammers, I have to count it as an endorsement."

Moral high ground fallacy.

With thanks to Wikipedia's List of Fallacies.

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

Who the hell downvoted you? Ah, anons using the fallacy fallacy.

Well, I hate spammers too and I think your post was a sensible solution.

The way I'd like to see the problem tackled is by the big providers tarpitting the problem. If Hotmail, Gmail et al only received 1 email every 5 seconds from each source it would slow the spammers right down. How many humans need to write and send an organic email every 5 seconds?

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

How do you fix the email problem?

The problem has been thought about by many companies and individuals. But fixing the problem either entails restricting who can send you email or having a small charge per email sent.

If you can't just email someone without them white-listing you or you going through some process (CAPTCHAs are annoying) then it becomes a pretty useless thing.

Email is largely useless as it is, everyone has moved to IM systems because spammers have killed off the effectiveness of email.

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

I can't help but be a bit mystified that all anti-spam posts get downvoted, considering that everyone fucking hate spam. It's almost enough to wake my inner conspiracy theorist.

Also: I am very happy he disliked his minimum security prison enough to escape, because he will get caught, and he will get several months extension to his sentence. Fuck spammers.

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

> Email is largely useless as it is, everyone has moved to IM systems

On what planet? Because I know you're not talking about Earth.

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note! @Vociferous 12:17

"I can't help but be a bit mystified that all anti-spam posts get downvoted, considering that everyone fucking hate spam. It's almost enough to wake my inner conspiracy theorist."

Well, in my case the downvote was triggered by people who strike me (note that bit - not saying I've necessarily got it right,) as seeming to think that spam is the worst possible crime in the world. It really isn't. No conspiracy - just me shaking my head at what I see as some peoples' apparent priorities.

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

"Why don't the big email providers fix the spam problem?"

The spam filters on my email server reject 96.5% of all incoming emails. Probably about 5% of what does get through is spam. So assuming no false positives, that means 96.5% of all email is spam that is blocked, 0.2% is spam that is not blocked, and 3.3% is non-spam and that my spam filter correctly identifies 99.8% of all spam.

The big email providers do put a lot of effort into blocking spam, but getting from 99.8% to 100% is very hard. They can possibly manage more than 99.8% because they have millions of users clicking on their "report spam" buttons" which I don't have, but even so, you aren't going to get to 100%.

Your email box may be bad, but I don't think you appreciate just how much worse it would be if your email service was completely unfiltered.

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

The problem is, if anything, worse for the big email providers, who have plenty of users who will incorrectly classify email as spam just because they don't want it anymore, don't understand it, or confuse the "report spam" button with the "delete" button (both make the email go away after all).

As part of the email feedback loops we have set up with the big companies, I regularly see people reporting personal responses to questions and web forms they have submitted reported as spam - i.e. "please supply me with this information" -> "here is your information" <spam>

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

@vociferous sez I can't help but be a bit mystified that all anti-spam posts get downvoted

They aren't getting down voted for hating spam, they're getting downvoted for being (variously) stupid, drama queens or howling mob rednecks.

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

"The way I'd like to see the problem tackled is by the big providers tarpitting the problem."

Doesn't work. Been tried.

The only way to deal with spam PROPERLY is to prevent it geting out in the first place.

Everything else is a band-aid.

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

"Email is largely useless as it is, everyone has moved to IM systems because spammers have killed off the effectiveness of email."

You must inhabit a different IM world to the one I'm in. My one is full of spammers.

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

Regarding filters, the short reply is that the spammers can obviously live with "Live and let spam" with filsters, as proven by the fact that they continue spamming. Remember the spammers regard their marginal cost of an additional million spams as being effectively zero, so why not spam more?

Just a tip of a larger reply: You mention and then ignore false positives. I'm guessing you pay attention to false negatives because they requite a click on a button (for those email systems that implement their adaptive Bayesian filtering in that way). Unfortunately false positives are also a real problem that sometimes should not be ignored. Remember that the spammers are always trying to blur the line between ham and spam. In my own limited sample, I am still looking for false positives on three accounts, and sometimes seeing them, and in at least one recent case it was a moderately important piece of email that was misfiltered, though most of them tend to be legitimate companies that have a legitimate reason or excuse to email me and who will honor my request to stop sending email.

There is MUCH more than could be said. Why don't we try to solve the problem, instead?

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

This is part of the reason FOR my proposed solution. The anti-spammer email system I am suggesting should include a testing mechanism for unsubscribe mechanisms. Let me clarify with a thin example of how it could work:

(1) In the first pass of analysis, the webform that is returned to the recipient of the spam would indicate things that seem to be unsubscribe mechanisms, and the response would confirm that they are (or are not) correctly identified. The two most common cases involve websites and unsubscribe addresses.

(2) The server would then do additional processing on the returned form. For example, if it is an unsubscribe website, but the same URL is used elsewhere in the spam, then that is strong evidence that it's a fake unsubscribe link. If it's an email address, the server can send a test unsubscribe message using a honeypot address. If the address has already been tested, then the server has some information on hand for the next round, and for this example I'm going to follow that line.

(3) The next webform would report (for that part of the spam) the unsubscribe address had been tested with a honeypot address, and no responses or other spam had been received in a certain period of time. On that basis, the recipient of the spam could elect to try the unsubscribe option. (This is actually a feature that is crudely incorporated into Gmail, by the way, but in a very ad hoc way.)

(4) If the wannabe spam fighter has requested it, then the server will send the unsubscribe request. This is also part of the distancing mechanism to stay above vigilante problems--the spam fighters should only be helping with the targeting, not pulling the triggers directly.

(5) If you want to get really wrinkly here, then the server could store this spam in addition to the unsubscribe address (which should obviously be tracked). The reason is that the spammer might be relatively clever about detecting some honeypot addresses, but the system can use the copy of the spam to ask the recipient of later spam if there is reason to think the later piece of spam represents the same spammer ignoring the unsubscribe request. Yes, it's a bell and whistle and not really required, but it is the kind of thing that is only possible by taking a higher perspective of the spam.

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

I don't think naive timing solutions will scale well, which is why my example was focused on a source-server level. They can provide bad service in eliminating spammers' dropboxes (which is why the spammers select those email services), but that bad service will bounce to their legitimate users, too. If they ultimately lose all of their legitimate users and offer email services only to spammers, then it's not like anyone is going to miss them when the other email systems blacklist them completely...

For what it is worth, in the early public Internet days (at the dawn of perpetual September) I was once the postmaster of what was probably the largest free email system in a large city. We didn't have much of a spam problem at that time, but keeping the email flowing was a high priority, and I was often checking on the servers at odd hours of the day. I am not proposing something that I think would be unlivable. If I'm running a small system and can only check on the spammer complaints a couple of times per day, then my users also have to expect the possibility that their email may be delayed. I tried quite hard to prevent it, but there were a couple of times when it happened, including worst cases when I had to travel to the servers and physically reset things...

Further by the way, my first quasi-commercial email system (registration fee, but unlimited email), used voice validation of all new members before they could have full access. I think that was a responsible way to run things, and I don't my system ever hosted a spammer.

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

That triggers my joke about the blame: If the creators of SMTP (including Jon Postel, RIP) had been more aware of the money aspects, then they would have included provisions for accounting in the protocol rather than assuming everyone would be a good sport about it. They were too concerned about just making it work, and insufficiently concerned about the money. Who was taking care of the money? Well, to a large degree it was Al Gore. I respect and admire Al Gore, but still this seems to be a case where his good attentions had problematic results...

Having said that, I also feel that monetary accounting is the wrong way to think about economics, including the spam problem. The truly valuable and ultimately limited commodity is our time. Ultimately our lives are rather finite (at least here on earth, even if you believe in some form of non-Buddhist immortality). To me the greatest crime of the spammers is simply the time they waste--OTHER people's precious and valuable time. It's the attention, stupid!

That reminds me of a recent discussion I had with a googler. He came right out and said that what google wanted was your attention. In other words, your MOST valuable time. The "Don't be evil" motto has been replaced by "All your attention is belong to the google." (Remember Zero Wing!) I was actually shocked by his frankness, but it goes a long way to explaining why Gmail is so spammer tolerant, though you'd think they'd resent the competition with spammers for the suckers' attention.

P.S. Not to say that google is the worst. Yahoo is clearly the spammers' best friend among the major email providers. I also think Microsoft has been the spammers' main adversary, but Microsoft has focused upstream, and I am advocating for downstream measures, mostly because that's where the suckers and victims are concentrated.

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

The sophistry of appealing to lists of fallacies instead of THINKING.

And I still wonder about anyone who DEFENDS spammers for ANY so-called reason.

Okay, I picked an extreme example with child pornographers. How about Jehovah's Witnesses who knock on doors posted "No solicitors" because they just KNOW that they aren't solicitors? Or maybe you'd prefer to defend the Mormon evangelists?

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

"If Hotmail, Gmail et al only received 1 email every 5 seconds from each source it would slow the spammers right down. "

great idea....

email you'll be getting in 6 months time

Booking confirmation: 2nd July 2012. Congratulations, as part of the "Be In to Win" promotion, you have been upgraded to front row seats. In order to claim this prize, simply contact the free-phone number below with your booking reference number by 22nd November 2012 to claim this prize.

.

in short, what a stupid fucking idea. We are only a "mid enterprise" and we chuck out 10's of thousands of emails a day. God help Amazon and eBay.

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Vic
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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

> getting from 99.8% to 100% is very hard

It's actually impossible.

The problem is that there is no concensus on what spam *is*. This is made worse by the awful half-arsed legislation we've had over the years, but when all is said and done, if you got 100 people in a room and gave them a spectrum of spam->ham mails, you would not get an identical categorisation for each one.

Additionally, as wel all know, brick-wall filters take an infinite amount of time to run. So even if you could come up with a "perfect" definition, you'd never actually get to see any mail.

There is one -and only one - solution to spam, and that is the Boulder Pledge[1]. But that's a very long-term proposition.

Vic.

[1] http://patriot.net/~shmuel/BoulderPledge.html

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Vic
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Joke

Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

> How about Jehovah's Witnesses

What do you get if you cross a Jehovah's Witness with a Hell's Angel?

Someone who knocks your door on a Sunday morning and tells *you* to fuck off...

Vic.

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

"The spam filters on my email server reject 96.5% of all incoming emails. Probably about 5% of what does get through is spam. So assuming no false positives, that means 96.5% of all email is spam that is blocked, 0.2% is spam that is not blocked, and 3.3% is non-spam and that my spam filter correctly identifies 99.8% of all spam."

Exactly! Just takes a little bit of thought.

I'm not a complete twat who sends their email to all and sundry, I run a couple of personal domains with about 25 email accounts and despite only relying on a third-party spam filter I can count the spam that gets through on the fingers of one hand.

Sorry spam is much like malware/virii, if you're not paying attention the buggers will get you, stay sharp and you'll stay safe.

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Re: "please supply me with this information"

Probably often caused by people making a mistake when submitting their email address, or purposely submitting someone else's address - anyone who asks for an email address should validate its use ("reply from this address to confirm that you want to receive information from us") before using it.

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Re: 2013 closes on a joyous news note!

Hadn't heard about that. It's short and to the point, but unfortunately it is not enforceable.

By the way, I also agree that we can't eliminate spam. However I insist that we can make it much less profitable. I also believe that most people are pretty nice, and if you make it easier for them to do nice things (like disrupting the spammers' business models), then more of them will do so.

Let's run through the numbers again. The spammers send billions of pieces of spam. Their response rates are incredibly small. I think it is reasonable to say that ALL of the other recipients dislike the spam, more or less strongly. We don't need for ALL of those offended people to take action against the spammers, but if any measurable fraction, say 1% did sometimes take action, it would completely overwhelm the small number of suckers the spammers are trying to reach so desperately.

I understand that there are people who think it is too much trouble. Fine. They can be free riders benefiting from the reduced amount of spam. Some of these critics apparently don't even watch the Colbert Show, so they must be totally lacking in something...

However, if we took a vote NOW, the "less spam" side would win overwhelmingly. That is the side I stand on, and I wish (in public even) I had better anti-spam tools to make it so.

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