John Bryant
Arizona Computer Consultant
(602) 861-1738

Can the Spam
Learn How to Fight Junk Email

(November, 1999)



1998 Computer ResolutionsOut of all the wonders and annoyances of new technology, junk email (or SPAM) may be the most proilific and vulgar brainchild to arise from the womb of the World Wide Web. For many of us, Spam is simply a daily dose of bothersome drivel which we delete from our email box without a second thought. For others, it is an obsenity where marketeers thoughtlessly parade pornography before innocent children and criminals scam older citizens with illegal money schemes. No matter which category you fall into, the idea of terminating spam with extreme prejudice probably brings a smile to your face. Well I have good news for you - there are ways to fight the electronic hype. Read on, my friend, and learn how you can help ďCan the SpamĒ!

SPAM and the Law

State and federal legislation efforts regarding Spam email have met with varying levels of success. Even those laws which have been passed are complex and difficult to enforce at this time. While criminal laws have not been overly successful, civil actions against spammers have yielded some fine results. Internet Service Providers (such as America Online, Earthlink, etc.) have a strong, vested interest in eliminating junk email. Mass mailings are not only expensive for these providers in terms of email equipment, resources and personnel but they are also very damaging from a public relations perspective. No one wants the reputation of being a carrier of spam (Ugh, that even sounds viral)!

Therefore, these providers make clear and thorough agreements with their customers that forbids the broad, unrequested solicitation of individuals through the companyís email server. If they find individuals violating these Terms of Service, the result is immediate termination of the account. Repeated offenders find themselves in long, expensive court cases which have already bankrupted several very large bulk email offenders.

Fight Back!

So, how can you help wipe this sourge from the face of the Internet? By tracing the spam back to itís source and reporting the offender to his Internet Service Provider. That might sound tough, but with the following list of my favorite spamfighting tools, itís as simple as cut-n-paste!

Spam Buster Tools

Register with www.spamcop.net and watch the fur fly! This site will hunt down the actual source of a piece of junk email and then, on your behalf, sends a stearn report to the Internet Service Provider whom the spammer uses to send the junk email. ISPs do follow up on these reports, and many will send you an email notification that the spammerís account has been closed! It takes a few minutes to learn how to use this web site, but itís well worth the effort.

The Spam Recycling Center will forward your junk email message to state and federal authorities for further action. They also send the email to software companies to help them devise better spam filters. Forward your email to spamrecycle@chooseyourmail.com and let them do the rest! SpamCop and the Spam Recycling center need the full internet header which is attached to every piece of email you recieve. Normally, this digital address list is invisible to you. Call us or visit www.azcomputerdoctor.com for free information on how to make your email program show this information.

America Online clients are prone to LOTS of junk email. AOL spents an incredible amount of time and money fighting spam. Just forward your junk email to tosspam@aol.com. Your junk email will join those others that make up AOLís large annual SPAM litigation budget.


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