spam laws

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Peter, May 17, 2004.

  1. Peter

    Peter Guest

    NZ govt has released a discussion document on legislative response to spam
    http://www.med.govt.nz/pbt/infotech/spam/discussion/index.html

    It's an important issue, but the discussion document doesn't inspire
    confidence. For example, they haven't even got past the opt-in vs opt-out
    question yet. Only spammers would support the opt-out model, so why even
    consider it?
    And it doesn't take much further consideration to realise it has to be a
    double opt-in system.

    Still, looks like the paper recommends opt-in, so at least they are part way
    on the right track.

    Open for public submissions until 30 June.


    Peter
     
    Peter, May 17, 2004
    #1
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  2. Peter

    Evil Bastard Guest

    My submission to the Minister

    Peter wrote:
    > NZ govt has released a discussion document on legislative response to spam
    > http://www.med.govt.nz/pbt/infotech/spam/discussion/index.html

    <snip>
    > Open for public submissions until 30 June.


    Hi,

    I've posted the following submission to the Hon David Cunliffe.

    As you'll see, lots of holes, but taking a staunch position

    Posted here, in case it might encourage others to post submissions.

    We need a legislative environment which protects basic privacy and
    freedom as far as reasonably possible, yet cracks down with a hobnail
    boot on those despicable electronic cockroaches known as 'spammers'.

    Cheers
    EB

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

    Dear Minister,

    I note that you are the Minister responsible for developing a Government
    position, and supporting legislation, with respect to the endemic
    problem of unsolicited email, or 'spam'.

    As a past IT professional (software developer and engineer), I
    respectfully submit to you what I and many others consider to be some
    key ingredients which would go a long way towards making anti-spam
    legislation effective.

    As you're no doubt aware, one of the most difficult areas of the spam
    problem is that perpetrators typically forge return email addresses,
    and/or forward their nuisance messages through hijacked or other
    third-party 'servers', and take other steps to conceal their identity.

    Therefore, when you draft your legislation, I urge you to please
    consider including the following provisions and sanctions, detailed below.

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

    1. Definition of 'Spam' (herinafter referred to as 'Unsolicited
    Commercial Message, or 'UCM'):

    * An electronic communication, delivered over the Internet, including
    but not limited to:

    * Conventional Internet email (delivered through what is known as the
    'Simple Mail Transfer Protocol' (SMTP), also known as RFC 821
    (http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc821.html)

    * Private messages delivered via Internet Relay Chat, also known as
    RFC 1459 (http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc1459.html)

    * Messages posted to Web-based message boards

    * Messages posted to Usenet newsgroups

    * Other 'Instant Messaging' facilities, including but not limited to:
    * ICQ (http://www.icq.com)
    * Yahoo Messenger (http://messenger.yahoo.com)
    * MSN Messenger (Microsoft) (http://messenger.msn.com)

    WHERE:

    * The message is sent from one party to another, where:

    * No DIRECT prior contact has occurred between the sender and
    the recipient, AND

    * The recipient can not be proven to have acted in such a way as
    can be reasonably construed as expressing explicit desire for
    recommendations of a particular kind of merchantable product or
    service. (For example, if the recipient posted to the nz.general
    Usenet newsgroup asking for a washing machine recommendation,
    then a message sent to that person suggesting they consider
    a particular model of F&P machine is not deemed to be a UCM),
    AND

    * The message contains language which can be construed as a direct
    or indirect inducement to the recipient to purchase, or consider
    purchasing, a product, service or information in return for a
    financial payment or other exercise of monetary instrument(s).

    2. Offences Relating to Spam (UCM)

    2.1 Minor Violation

    * UCM has been sent to less than 100 recipients
    * Sender has supplied an accurate email address, from which their
    name and physical location can be determined purely from a legally
    mandated enquiry to an Internet Service Provider operating within
    New Zealand
    * Variations of a UCM, which have similar commercial intent, shall be
    deemed as the same UCM (this aims to stop people from varying the
    wording of a message for each 100 people)
    * Sanction - non-criminal 'parking ticket'-style offence, with fine
    of $50 for first offence, and a scale of fines up to $5000
    increasing with repeat offences

    2.2 Medium-level Violation

    * UCM has been sent to more than 100 recipients
    * Sender has supplied an accurate email address as specified in 2.1
    * 'Variations' provision of 2.1 applies
    * Sanction - first incident to be a non-criminal offence, with fine
    of $1000 on first offence. Following prosecution, any subsequent
    offences to be misdemeanour crimes, requiring criminal record,
    punishable by fines of $2000, doubling with each subsequent
    prosecution

    2.3 Felony Actions

    * Strong sanctions are indicated to combat the practice of offenders
    'spoofing' their addresses, or taking other steps to disguise the
    source of the communication

    * Each of the following actions shall constitute a felony offence:

    (a) Failing to supply traceable contact information

    If the message from the sender, as displayed on the recipient's
    computer, does not prominently display the sender's true email
    address (as specified in 2.1), OR the sender's accurate physical
    address.

    In other words, if the sender's physical whereabouts within
    New Zealand can not be determined directly or indirectly, purely
    from the information within the message, this provision applies

    (b) Deceptive 'subject headers'

    The 'Subject line' of a message is deemed to be deceptive, if
    it does not contain wording which clearly relates to the
    message's specific commercial intent

    (c) Embedding of 'web bugs'

    The message contains codes which may cause an email client
    program (eg Microsoft Outlook (Express), Mozilla Mail etc) to
    automatically send a request to any website

    This is important, because 'web bugs' are a practice which
    allow senders to monitor if/when their recipients have actually
    read an email address

    (d) Inclusion of 'impure code'

    'Impure Code' is defined as any sequence of binary codes which
    might cause an electronic mail client program (eg Microsoft
    Outlook or Mozilla Mail) to automatically perform any action
    without the knowledge or consent of the user. Such action
    to include, but not be limited to:

    * creating, reading, writing, deleting or otherwise
    interfering with any file, directory or system registry
    information residing on the recipient's computer, or any
    other computer - the only exception being the normal
    storage of received email messages within the directories
    used by the email client program

    (e) Trading in email addresses

    Purchasing or soliciting of mailing lists from any other party,
    for the purpose of using those lists for sending UCMs.

    or

    Selling, or offering for sale, lists of email addresses to
    any other party, for the purpose of enabling that party to
    send UCMs

    (f) Attempting to conceal origin of message

    Any attempt to utilise any technique which might prevent
    the ability of the recipient, any government agency, or
    any internet service provider from determining the physical
    location of the sender.

    This includes, but is not limited to, the following
    actions, or attempts to perform any of the following
    actions:

    * sending the UCM through servers located outside of NZ
    * utilising a mail server without the knowledge and full
    consent of the owner of that server
    * registering an internet domain in a false name, or failing
    to keep the relevant internet registry up to date with the
    sender's current contact information

    (g) Procuring the services of a spammer

    Hiring, or otherwise attempting to procure the services of
    any party, to send UCMs on one's own behalf

    This would require very clear proof, because otherwise it
    would allow for 'frame-ups' - ie Company A hiring someone
    overseas to send UCMs promoting Company B, in an attempt
    to falsely inciminate Company B

    * One or more of these above actions shall automatically aggravate
    the offence to a felony crime, punishable by:

    * fines between $5000 and $50,000,000 depending on the
    offender's means, and severity of offending, and
    history of prior spam offences

    * imprisonment for times between 30 days and 5 years,
    depending on severity of offences and history of
    prior offending

    * confiscation of all computers, computer and communications
    equipment, and all digital storage media (including tapes,
    compact disks, hard disks and re-writable memory devices)
    owned, or in the possession of, the offender

    * forfeiture of all property, monies and material assets
    in the possession of the offender, which can not be proven
    by the offender to have been earned by lawful activities
    and especially by activities not related to sending of
    UCMs
     
    Evil Bastard, May 17, 2004
    #2
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  3. Peter

    Peter Guest

    Re: My submission to the Minister

    Evil Bastard wrote:
    <snip>
    > 1. Definition of 'Spam' (herinafter referred to as 'Unsolicited
    > Commercial Message, or 'UCM'):

    <snip>
    > WHERE:
    > * The message is sent from one party to another, where:
    > * No DIRECT prior contact has occurred between the sender and
    > the recipient, AND


    so ... ANY direct prior contact means it is not spam.
    Eg download something from a company's website would give them the right to
    spam you ('cos it wouldn't be spam, then).

    How about a definition along the lines of;
    "any message soliciting for sale of goods or services, except where the
    recipient has granted prior permission to the sender."

    This needs something to ensure that the permission is real, and the onus of
    proof is on the sender that the recipient has really given permission. So
    a double opt-in system would be the minimum.


    Otherwise, good effort. It is important that the MPs get the message that
    people don't like spam, and that it is something we are better off without.
    I'm sure there will be lots of expensive suits assuring them that it is ok,
    and "marketers" are honourable and necessary and stuff like that.


    Peter
     
    Peter, May 18, 2004
    #3
  4. Peter

    Peter Ingham Guest

    Re: My submission to the Minister

    On Tue, 18 May 2004 10:52:10 +1200, Evil Bastard <>
    wrote:

    >Peter wrote:
    >> NZ govt has released a discussion document on legislative response to spam
    >> http://www.med.govt.nz/pbt/infotech/spam/discussion/index.html

    ><snip>
    >> Open for public submissions until 30 June.

    >
    >Hi,
    >
    >I've posted the following submission to the Hon David Cunliffe.
    >
    >As you'll see, lots of holes, but taking a staunch position
    >
    >Posted here, in case it might encourage others to post submissions.
    >
    >We need a legislative environment which protects basic privacy and
    >freedom as far as reasonably possible, yet cracks down with a hobnail
    >boot on those despicable electronic cockroaches known as 'spammers'.
    >


    I do not think that any legislation should be limited to only include
    *Commercial* spam.

    Non-commercial spam (political, religious, charitable etc) is just as
    annoying, albeit less prevalent.

    Emails soliciting you to visit a commercial web site (e.g. to win a
    prize) may not be classified as spam as the email per-se is not
    commercial (although the desired outcome is).


    A good start.
    --
    Please remove '_SpamTrap' when replying. You know why :-(

    Peter Ingham
    Lower Hutt
    New Zealand
     
    Peter Ingham, May 19, 2004
    #4
  5. Peter

    Collector Guest

    Peter wrote:

    >NZ govt has released a discussion document on legislative response to spam
    >http://www.med.govt.nz/pbt/infotech/spam/discussion/index.html
    >
    >It's an important issue, but the discussion document doesn't inspire
    >confidence. For example, they haven't even got past the opt-in vs opt-out
    >question yet. Only spammers would support the opt-out model, so why even
    >consider it?
    >And it doesn't take much further consideration to realise it has to be a
    >double opt-in system.
    >
    >Still, looks like the paper recommends opt-in, so at least they are part way
    >on the right track.
    >
    >Open for public submissions until 30 June.
    >
    >
    >Peter
    >
    >
    >
    >

    I wonder if they would accept a months worth of spam that I receive as a
    submission.
    Say 30 days of around 200 a day. The pain of having a domain name which
    has been on web sites and has a wild card pop
     
    Collector, May 19, 2004
    #5
  6. Peter

    whoisthis Guest

    Re: My submission to the Minister

    Not too shabby, however I would like to see other offences too

    Eg.

    The supply/enticement of pornographic material to minors, lets face it
    we have thousands of children with email addresses and they do not need
    to see emails about college sluts doing it with animals etc.

    The supply/enticement to purchace medications from a
    non-approved/qualified outlet. Lets face it, most of the adverts for
    viagra etc are likely to be cons anyway, but unless these people can
    show they are qualified to prescribe and supply restricted medicines in
    NZ then they should be banned.

    Oh yes, and make the fines etc applicable to spamming people in other
    countries, ie dont let them think so long as no one here in NZ gets
    spammed by them they are immune to prosecution.

    I also believe that the spammers can also be held liable by civil action
    against them for the removal/blocking of their spam at a cost of say 1c
    per message.
     
    whoisthis, May 19, 2004
    #6
  7. Peter

    AD. Guest

    Re: My submission to the Minister

    On Tue, 18 May 2004 10:52:10 +1200, Evil Bastard wrote:

    > 1. Definition of 'Spam' (herinafter referred to as 'Unsolicited
    > Commercial Message, or 'UCM'):
    >
    > * An electronic communication, delivered over the Internet, including
    > but not limited to:
    >
    > * Conventional Internet email (delivered through what is known as the
    > 'Simple Mail Transfer Protocol' (SMTP), also known as RFC 821
    > (http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc821.html)
    >
    > * Private messages delivered via Internet Relay Chat, also known as
    > RFC 1459 (http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc1459.html)
    >
    > * Messages posted to Web-based message boards
    >
    > * Messages posted to Usenet newsgroups
    >
    > * Other 'Instant Messaging' facilities, including but not limited to:
    > * ICQ (http://www.icq.com)
    > * Yahoo Messenger (http://messenger.yahoo.com) * MSN Messenger
    > (Microsoft) (http://messenger.msn.com)


    Do telemarketers count if you use VoIP? :)

    Cheers
    Anton
     
    AD., May 19, 2004
    #7
  8. Re: My submission to the Minister

    On Wed, 19 May 2004 19:14:25 +1200, whoisthis <>
    wrote:

    >I also believe that the spammers can also be held liable by civil action
    >against them for the removal/blocking of their spam at a cost of say 1c
    >per message.


    No, it should be actual cost plus normal profit margin, then doubled,
    with a minimum of $10 per spam email. The idea should be that just
    one successful suit will put the spammer company out of action, or at
    least seriously dent them, and should pay the suing company enough to
    make a lawsuit viable even with legal expenses.

    Apparently, when companies in the USA became able to sue for the real
    costs of spam faxes (including the time taken to read them), the
    spammer companies were put out of business very rapidly.
     
    Stephen Worthington, May 20, 2004
    #8
  9. Re: My submission to the Minister

    On Thu, 20 May 2004 18:35:59 +1200, Stephen Worthington wrote:

    > Apparently, when companies in the USA became able to sue for the real
    > costs of spam faxes (including the time taken to read them), the
    > spammer companies were put out of business very rapidly.


    The real costs are only a few dollars.

    The USA junk fax laws have mandatory $500 damages, triple for willful
    violations. There can be multiple violations in one fax.

    Unfortunately they are proving hard to both prosecute and collect. Many
    judges refuse to hear the cases or throw them out as too draconian laws
    or interference with business ops, etc and there's the ongoing saga of
    fax.com which has millions of dollars in judgements against it, hasn't
    paid a cent and just keeps pumping it out (they regrouped as a number of
    smaller companies early this year after the FTC filed enforcement action
    to collect approx $5 million in existing judgements and get $15 million in
    further violations ).

    See www.junkfax.org and www.junkfaxes.org

    There are a number of junk faxers in NZ and several of them are or are
    attempting to branch out into email spam. Steve Baron is one I've crossed
    paths with - he attempted to joe job me after I chased him off several
    ISPs around the Auckland area.
     
    Uncle StoatWarbler, May 20, 2004
    #9
  10. Peter

    DPF Guest

    On Mon, 17 May 2004 20:58:05 +1200, in nz.comp Peter
    <> wrote:

    >
    >NZ govt has released a discussion document on legislative response to spam
    >http://www.med.govt.nz/pbt/infotech/spam/discussion/index.html
    >
    >It's an important issue, but the discussion document doesn't inspire
    >confidence. For example, they haven't even got past the opt-in vs opt-out
    >question yet. Only spammers would support the opt-out model, so why even
    >consider it?
    >And it doesn't take much further consideration to realise it has to be a
    >double opt-in system.
    >
    >Still, looks like the paper recommends opt-in, so at least they are part way
    >on the right track.
    >
    >Open for public submissions until 30 June.


    I think they include the debate of opt in vs opt out just so they are
    seen to have considered the issue. I don't believe the opt out option
    is at all a serious contender.

    DPF


    --
    David Farrar
    e-mail:
    blog: http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz
    msn:
    icq: 29964527
     
    DPF, May 22, 2004
    #10
    1. Advertising

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