United States set to Legalize Spamming on January
Against the advice of all anti-spam organizations,
the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the CAN-SPAM Act, a
bill backed overwhelmingly by spammers and dubbed the "YOU-CAN-SPAM"
Act because it legalizes spamming instead of banning it. Spam King
Alan Ralsky told reporters the passage of the House bill "made
my day". Spammers say they will now pour money into installations
of new spam servers to heavily ramp up their outgoing spam volumes
CAN-SPAM is expected to pass the Senate next week and be signed
into law by President Bush on January 1, just in time to kill off
California's strong anti-spam law which would have come into effect
on January 1 making spamming illegal in California. With the passage
of CAN-SPAM, spamming will be officially legal throughout the United
States, CAN-SPAM says that 23 million U.S. businesses can all begin
spamming all U.S. email addresses as long as they give users a way
to opt-out, which users can do by following the instructions of
each spammer. Anyone with any sense would of course realize that
if CAN-SPAM becomes law, opting out of spammers lists will very
likely become the main daytime activity for most U.S. email users
in 2004. The second main activity will be sorting through mailboxes
crammed with 'legal' spam every few minutes to see if there's any
email amongst the spam.
If CAN-SPAM becomes law, from January Europe and the United States
will have opposing legislation, as Europe has already introduced
legislation making spamming illegal. But 90% of Europe's spam problem
originates in the United States where spamming will now be legal,
therefore Europe can expect the levels of incoming spam from the
United States to more than double during 2004 as U.S. spammers ramp
up their output under America's new YOU-CAN-SPAM law.
What this will do for relations between Europe and the United States,
is easy to predict with millions of European Internet users already
angry at being deluged in American "make-penis-fast" spam.
From December 11, spamming will be illegal in the UK, but with 90%
of the UK's spam problem originating in the United States, British
users will continue to be flooded, now with 'legal' spam from the
Some spammers are claiming that CAN-SPAM not only allows them to
spam legally but that it protects them further by also making it
illegal for anti-spam systems to block their spam. In fact, while
CAN-SPAM is an abysmally poor law, at least it does have some parts
which attempt to address the issue of blocking spam, specifically
it states that the law does not impact an ISP's ability to determine
and enforce its own policies for transmission of email (i.e: through
the use of blocklists or whatever means the ISP likes). This means
that spammers cannot sue ISPs for blocking the mail they send claiming
that the ISP must accept and deliver it based on the Federal law.
The fact CAN-SPAM makes illegal the use of open proxies or any
form of resource misappropriation as well as use of false headers,
specifically impacts spammers such as Michigan's Alan Ralsky, as
all of Ralsky's spam is sent out with false headers, all through
stolen open proxies. So CAN-SPAM does at least give us the law we
need to put Ralsky and most of the ROKSO spammers in jail.
To avoid jail, spammers will have to spam from their own resources,
readily identifiable IP addresses, rather than steal 3rd party relays
and proxies. The problem there, which from January will affect all
U.S-based spammers, is that their IPs are constantly listed on the
SBL ("Spamhaus Block List"), Spamhaus' free anti-spam
system used by ISPs throughout the Internet to reject incoming spam
from known spam sources. Therefore one effect of CAN-SPAM we will
notice, is that CAN-SPAM will channel spammers straight into Spamhaus'
filter which means that in 2004 our SBL system is going to be in
even greater demand.