• United States

Organizing the resistance against spam

Dec 04, 20032 mins

* Several groups that fight spam

Continuing our series on the spam problem, I’d like to highlight several organizations dedicated to fighting spam.

One of the best known is the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE). This volunteer organization has been lobbying actively since 1997 for extension of the laws covering junk fax (never as big a problem as junk e-mail, but still a problem in the 1980s) to junk e-mail. There are international affiliates of CAUCE for those outside the U.S. who want to join the fight.

The CAUCE Web site has the latest news on anti-spam legislation, research information and other resources:

Another useful site is JunkBusters, which has useful links about the problem and about legislative efforts to fight junk:

A particularly controversial organization is the Mail Abuse Prevention System Realtime Blackhole List (RBL), which is dedicated to providing ISPs (mostly) with the information needed to block e-mail from organizations that send spam.

In particular, the RBL is used to help ISPs identify open spam relays – SMTP servers that do not require identification and authentication to send e-mail through them from outside their home network. Such unprotected servers are ripe pickings for the criminal spammers who cheerfully send out millions of messages through other people’s equipment without permission. Not everyone likes the RBL, though, since being put on the list means that many ISPs will block all e-mail coming from a compromised system (see the NetSide rant listed in the editorial links below).