Thursday, April 28, 2005

SPAM and Suggested Government action

This is an email that I sent 2 years ago to the NZ Government. Not much has changed since then.

From: Ray Tomes To: Minister of Communications and Information Technology of New Zealand Government Date: Apr 23 2003 - 5:09pm

Dear Minister of Communications and Information Technology

I write to you on two matters relating to internet and email which I consider require attention by the government of New Zealand.

The first is the distribution of vast quantities of unsolicited junk mail and in particular pornographic and illegal fraudulent activities mail which may be sent to children and other incredulous people. The second matter is in a following email.

In general, any child can expect to begin receiving such email and for it to rapidly increase in volume over several years who does any of the following harmless activities :- set up a web site with an email address on it; post a message to a usenet group (it might be on the subject of a hobby or a school subject); join any other discussion forum.

Also, adults of below average intelligence or common sense, or just motivated by a little greed can fall prey to many fraudsters. In my view we should be protecting such people as much as possible from such activities, and more importantly bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Recently I changed my email address because I was receiving 10,000 unsolicited junk email per year and I was sick of wading through it all for my real email. This is no exaggeration, and the rate was steadily climbing. In itself this is a very annoying problem worthy of some government attention, but is not the main purpose of this email. My concern is that a very large proportion of these email are sent by pornographers, especially child pornographers, fraudsters and various other people with bad intent.

The reason that I receive so many of these email is simply that I have been on the internet for a long time, have a web site with my email address on it, have posted messages to usenet discussion groups (not related in subject matter to these email in any way), and belonged to several other public discussion groups.

These parasites on society have programs to comb the web, usenet groups and other frequently used facilities for email addresses and build large bases of addresses. The longer one is on internet the more one gets attacked by these people. Any child having a web site or posting a message to a public group (it might be on the subject of homework) will be added to these address lists and can receive the same content as I do in the analysis below.

The actions that I believe the government should be taking are:-

1. Make it illegal (if it is not already) to send unsolicited email offering pornography, gambling, investments & finance, drugs, and fraud schemes. I am not trying to stop people having access to pornography, gambling etc if that is what they want. I am trying to stop people being pressured by fraudsters and and these other classes of low life.

2. Make sure that such emails are not being sent from NZ by requiring that all ISPs must be sure of the real person and address of all customers (I think this is probably already the case) and prosecuting people who send illegal email from NZ. If the ISP cannot supply the real person's details then they should be prosecuted.

3. Encouraging other countries to do the same and to make international agreements that stamp out these activities. They are only going to get worse with time at a very rapid rate. I believe that the volume of these emails shows that people with bad intent are already fleecing the NZ public of many millions of dollars each year.

4. Make it the responsibility of the police to act positively in doing something about these illegal activities.

I analyzed 7 days of these emails from my old email address and make some comments about the content and trend of these email. In only 7 days I received email as follows:

65 pornography including many email with graphic images in them and many offers of "naked girls 6-12 years old", "horses cocks in tiny teens pussies" and "gay sex".

1 offer to increase my penis size by 1/4 to 3". Usually there are more of these and some offering to increase my breast size too. I would have to permanently take a wheel-barrow with me for my huge penis and breasts if I took up a fraction of these offers.

6 nigerian/zimbabwe offers to send me millions of dollars, known as the nigerian letter, but in many forms. These are fraudsters that steal thousands of dollars off each of many gullible people.

25 offers to purchase drugs on-line, including commonly viagra, human growth hormone and all sorts of wonder drugs.

17 saying my mortgage or loan was approved (when I never applied) or other offers of finance. 11 investment offers disguised as being advise from investment firms. 3 offers to remove bad credit ratings.

8 gambling and casinos encouraging betting on their sites. 4 you won $xxx which are possibly gambling sites.

4 offers of email lists of millions of people. This is so that you too can start annoying people and sending them all sorts of lies.

4 offers to get a "quick" degree

21 sales offers ranging from legitimate to dodgy looking ones.

27 various other, some in foreign languages or incoherent and obviously the first efforts of poor fools who bought the email lists and didn't know what to do next.

So altogether I got 196 annoying email in 7 days, or 28 per day or about 10,200 per year. I did not especially pick the above period it was just a random 7 days.

Yours sincerely

Ray Tomes


Blogger Ray Tomes said...

I had to reply to this myself. Only just after posting the message I came across this page:

Remailed Junk Mail

(This isn't standard humor, but we had no other place for it... and it's still a little funny.)

When you get those pre-approved letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and junk like that, most of them come with postage-paid return envelopes, right? Well, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail by putting it in these cool little envelopes! Send an ad for your local chimney cleaner to American Express, or a pizza coupon to Citibank. If you didn't get anything else that day, then just send them their application back! Eventually, the banks and credit card companies will begin getting all their junk back in the mail. Let's let them know what it's like to get junk mail, and best of all, THEY are paying for it. TWICE! Let's help keep our postal service busy since they say e-mail is cutting into their business, and that's why they need to increase postage again.

4:42 pm  

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