Spamming

This is a discussion on Spamming within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; Is spamming illegal? Is a spammer a criminal?...

  1. #1
    Jack of many languages Dino's Avatar
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    Spamming

    Is spamming illegal? Is a spammer a criminal?
    Mac and Windows cross platform programmer. Ruby lover.

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    12/20: Mario F.:I never was, am not, and never will be, one to shut up in the face of something I think is fundamentally wrong.

    Amen brother!

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    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Jack of many languages Dino's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link. I read it.

    It seems there is a definition of "spam" there, and a few cases have been heard in court, but the overall impression I left with was "spamming is alive and well" and if you follow the rules of "you can spam", then, you can spam.
    Mac and Windows cross platform programmer. Ruby lover.

    Quote of the Day
    12/20: Mario F.:I never was, am not, and never will be, one to shut up in the face of something I think is fundamentally wrong.

    Amen brother!

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    Guest Sebastiani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dino View Post
    Is spamming illegal? Is a spammer a criminal?
    (1) Depends (see Wifelags' response, above).
    (2) Should people be forced people to accept unsolicited, *commercial* correspondence? No, but I don't see how that amounts to a criminal act, either (that is, unless it can be established that the material is indeed "harmful" in some way). A civil (ie: tort) case is generally most appropriate, IMO.
    Code:
    if( numeric_limits< byte >::digits != bits_per_byte )
        error( "program requires bits_per_byte-bit bytes" );
    24bbs.cpp

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    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    I don't think spamming should face any legal opposition regardless of how annoying it is. It simply isn't doing anything I find morally wrong and it's absolutely not a new concept, it's just a digital version of some very ancient sales tactics.
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    'Allo, 'Allo, Allo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Substantiani View Post
    Wifelags
    I think you were bested in this duel :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastiani View Post
    (2) Should people be forced people to accept unsolicited, *commercial* correspondence? No, but I don't see how that amounts to a criminal act, either (that is, unless it can be established that the material is indeed "harmful" in some way). A civil (ie: tort) case is generally most appropriate, IMO.
    Spam IS harmful in many ways:
    1 - It wastes people's bandwidth when they have to download that crap.
    2 - If there is a swarm of Spam, it can cause a Denial of Service attack which could greatly affect companies that depend on E-mail on a daily basis.
    3 - The dumbasses that actually fall for it and buy the stuff they're selling are usually being swindled out of their money, since the product they're selling is usually fake anyways.

    If it was up to me, I'd give Spammers the death penalty. But then again, that's just me.
    "I am probably the laziest programmer on the planet, a fact with which anyone who has ever seen my code will agree." - esbo, 11/15/2008

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    Quote Originally Posted by cpjust View Post
    Spam IS harmful in many ways:
    1 - It wastes people's bandwidth when they have to download that crap.
    2 - If there is a swarm of Spam, it can cause a Denial of Service attack which could greatly affect companies that depend on E-mail on a daily basis.
    3 - The dumbasses that actually fall for it and buy the stuff they're selling are usually being swindled out of their money, since the product they're selling is usually fake anyways.

    If it was up to me, I'd give Spammers the death penalty. But then again, that's just me.
    4 - Even when all is normal, sorting spam from real email can soak up many hours of employee time.

  9. #9
    Registered User jdragyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommonTater View Post
    4 - Even when all is normal, sorting spam from real email can soak up many hours of employee time.
    My time at home is just as valuable to me as my time at work is to my employer. Having to hunt through a "junk mail" folder once in a while to make sure I'm not missing any legitimate e-mail, I am wasting time that could be spent in other pursuits. In effect, the spammers are stealing my time regardless of whether or not I succumb to their "offers". Even if I have a sophisticated junk-mail filter that is 100% effective (and none are that I have ever seen), I still had to spend time learning to use it and configure it.

    This to me is akin to a door-to-door salesman knocking on my door every few minutes. If I don't keep looking to see who it is, I may miss my neighbor coming over to visit. Just because it is easier to create technology to handle junk e-mail doesn't make it any less of a nuisance.

    What sort of laws would we enact if suddenly there were masses of people walking from door to door at all hours, knocking on doors, being pushy about selling their product or leaving big posters on the porches/doorsteps of those who don't answer the door? Especially if some of them were just trying to get me to simply open my front door so they could push past me and either start stealing my things, or worse hold my kids hostage to force me to help them get into my neighbors' houses...

    The act of spam itself may not be illegal (depending on where you live), therefore a spammer may not be a criminal in the sense of doing something illegal. However it has been shown that there are a small number of spammers that are responsible for the vast amount of junk we get. I think they SHOULD be treated as criminals because, despite the fact that there are so many junk mail filters available, actions against the servers that host spammers (where when one is taken down spam drops significantly for a short time), almost universal outrage across the internet about spam, etc, they persist in providing this "service" that no one wants. (I won't go into the security risks because that's not fair to a "legitimate spammer" who is just trying to make money in an annoying way.)
    Last edited by jdragyn; 12-23-2010 at 04:09 PM.
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