Thursday, August 31, 2006

Anti-spam bill reported back

The government's Unsolicited Electronic Messages Bill has been reported back [PDF] from committee. I haven't been following this closely, but it seems the committee has tightened up the bill a little and removed the cloak of messages which are merely "promotional" rather than "commercial". Previously, promotional messages were considered a separate category and subjected to lower standards (they were opt-out rather than opt-in). This may have allowed spammers to exploit the confusion between what was commercial and what was "promotional". Now the bill is quite clear: there are only commercial messages, and recipients must expressly opt-in.

Strangely, they've also added a new subsection requiring the enforcement agency to monitor sexually explicit (but not indecent) spam, and report on means to control it in future. I blame Gordon Copeland.

As for whether any of this will work, I doubt it. It may deal with New Zealand spammers, but most are in foreign jurisdictions, and will continue to flood our mailboxes with ads for fake degrees, pirated software, counterfeit viagra, and offers of employment as a professional money-launderer. OTOH, it means that next time I get spam from Genesis Energy (yes, really), then I might be able to do something about it.


I haven't read the pdf yet, but a shiver just went up my spine. When they say 'monitor', what do they mean? I have horrible visions of people ferreting through my in-box, given I receive, legitimately, sexually explicit material FOR WORK I SWEAR...

Spam, OTOH, is either spam or it isn't and the nature of the content shouldn't make that big a difference.

Posted by Ghet : 8/31/2006 03:43:00 PM

Ghet: they just have to have a specific address for people to complain about sexually explicit spam to, and monitor what they get on it. It's a wierd little fixation of the fundamentalists, since as you note the problem is not that its sexually explicit, but that its spam.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/31/2006 04:15:00 PM

I seem to get the one spam repeatedly, which is an effort to ramp a US stock. Everything else gets filtered, but for some reason the Xtra filter can't pick this one up.

I think legislation has forced most quasi-legit businesses out of sending spam and left the field to out and out fraudsters. (If the SEC caught the stock rampers they'd get in deeeeep shit).

Posted by Rich : 8/31/2006 05:53:00 PM