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The Email Abuse FAQ, Version 2.02

A FAQ about abuse of the net involving email
Archive-name: net-abuse-faq/email-abuse
Posting-frequency: weekly
Last-modified: June 25, 1998
Version: 2.02
Copyright: (c) 1996-1998 WD Baseley
Maintainer: (WD Baseley)

  Email Abuse FAQ

Version 2.02 changes: URL and legal information updates.

As of version 2.0, the Appendix is a separate document.  
     See the "Email Abuse Resource List" at

     This document reflects the opinions of the author.  This 
     document and its author are not associated with AOL in any 
     official capacity whatever.  This document is provided 
     "as is" without any express or implied warranties.  While every 
     effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information 
     contained in this article, the author/maintainer/contributors 
     assume(s) no reponsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages 
     resulting from the use of the information contained herein.


Subject: 1. Table of Contents

  1. Table of Contents

  2. Basics
   2a. Who is responsible for this FAQ?
   2b. What is the purpose of this FAQ?  
   2c. When was this FAQ last updated?
   2d. Where can I get it?
   2e. Credits & Contributors

  3. Definitions
   3a. When is it email, and when is it email abuse?
   3b. What is 'unsolicited email'?
   3c. What is 'bulk email'?
   3d. What is 'commercial email'?
   3e. UBE, UCE, MMF, MLM... What do they all mean?
   3f. What is a mailbomb?
   3g. What is email harassment?
  4. Actions
   4a. I've been mailbombed - what should I do?
   4b. I've received U*E in my mailbox - who do I exterminate?
   4c. I've received U*E in my mailbox - what should I do?
   4d. Where do these people get my email address?
   4e. How do I keep my address off the lists?
   4f. I did all that and I still get U*E!
   4g. I asked to be 'removed' - guess what?  I got another U*E
   4h. I asked to be 'removed' - guess what?  The message bounced
   4i. What about 'Remove Me' web sites and other global 'Remove' Lists?
   4j. List of Basic Administrative Contacts
   4k. I've contacted everyone involved - heard nothing back!
   4l. I've contacted everyone involved - they told me to go away!
   4m. They told me they cancelled the account, but I got another U*E!
   4n. I sent a complaint - they said they had nothing to do with it! 
   4o. I sent a complaint - they they responded with threats! 
   4p. I never want to see another message from again!

  5. Etcetera
   5a. Who cares about this stuff?  Just delete it
   5b. There ought to be a law!
   5c. I *like* getting U*E!
   5d. I'm seeing a lot of ads in my favorite newsgroup - help!

  End of eMail Abuse FAQ


Subject: 2. Basics

2a. Who is responsible for this FAQ?

  WD Baseley. Use to contact the author about this

  NOTE: This document and its author are not associtated with AOL
        in any official capacity whatever.

  Much of this information has been gleaned from AUP's, posts, and 
  suggestions from others.  The author, while attempting to be as 
  accurate as possible, cannot vouch for the veracity of everything in
  this document.  Please feel free to contact the author with 
  corrections and suggested additions.

2b. What is the purpose of this FAQ?  

  This FAQ is about abuse *of* email, such as mailbombs, unsolicited 
  commercial email and unsolicited bulk email. It is not about abuse 
  *using* email, such as harassment or other forms of abuse carried on 
  using e-mail or other forms of electronic communication.  It should
  be  regarded as a work-in-progress;  contact the current maintainer 
  of this FAQ for an up-to-date copy.

2c. When was this FAQ last updated?

  June 25, 1998

2d. Where can I get it?

  This FAQ will be posted to, news.answers,
  and other newsgroups, once per week.
  The latest version is always available at:

2e. Credits & Contributors

  The Gentleman, the writers and maintainers of the Net Abuse FAQ, 
  Arthur Wouk, Deon Ramsey, Denis McKeon, lucifer, Myles Williams, 
  Rahul Dhesi, Johann E. Beda, Barry Twycross, Julian Byrne, Liz Knuth,
  Zoli Fekete, John Nagle, various and sundry folk who have discussed, 
  harangued, badgered, cajoled and otherwise assisted in coming to a 
  consensus regarding various points, and countless others whom the 
  author has doubtless forgotten to mention.


Subject: 3. Definitions

3a. When is it email, and when is it email abuse?

  Email is a tremendously powerful communications tool, used by 
  millions of people in thousands of positive ways.  Unfortunately, 
  such a powerful tool has the potential to be used in other, less 
  productive, ways.  
  Someone sending email incurs no incremental cost;  sending one message 
  costs about the same as sending 100 messages.  Some folks use this 
  feature of email to send messages to thousands, even millions, of 
  people at once.  These are usually advertisements, sometimes sermons 
  on the sender's favorite topic, sometimes pleas for financial 
  assistance or scams intended to defraud the unwitting.  Almost all of 
  these messages go to people who did not ask to receive them.  Also, 
  some people use email in denial-of-service attacks, using various 
  methods to flood someone's emailbox with so  many messages that their 
  email becomes unusable.  These are examples of abuse -of- the email 

  Also, it is possible to impersonate, threaten, disparage, or 
  otherwise harass someone via email.  These are examples of abuse 
  -on- the email system, and are not the subject of this FAQ.

  Notable exceptions to bulk email abuse are legitimate mailing lists,
  where people subscribe to receive messages pertaining to a 
  particular subject.  These lists can be large, and they can account 
  for large numbers of messages being sent, but they are in no way 
  abuse of the email system.  Quite the opposite, in fact - they are a
  perfect example of the productive power of email.

3b. What is 'unsolicited email'?

  Unsolicited email is any email message received where the recipient 
  did not specifically ask to receive it.  

  Taken by itself, unsolicited email does not constitute abuse;  not 
  all unsolicited email is also undesired email.  For example, 
  receiving 'unsolicited' email from a long-lost friend or relative is
  certainly not abuse.  The reason that it is defined separately is 
  that email abuse takes several forms, all of which begin with the 
  fact that the email received is unsolicited.  

  NOTE:  Usenet convention holds that, by posting to a newsgroup, one is
  tacitly soliciting individual, *topical* replies via email.

  The following are examples of soliciting email:

    - posting to Usenet or saying in a chat group:
        "please send me e-mail about foobars"

    - sending email to an advertised auto-reply address:
        "for more information, send email to"

    - filling out a web form which explicitly mentions email:
        "fill this out to get email about foo"
        "fill this out to get on the mailing list about foo"
        "check this box to get on the foo mailing list"

  The following acts DO NOT, by themselves, constitute 'soliciting' 

    - just posting a message to a Usenet newsgroup or any
      other public forum (although individual, *topical* 
      replies to Usenet posts are have long-standing
      status as normal Usenet practice)

    - chatting in IRC or other chat groups

    - simply visiting a web site

    - filling out a survey form at a Web site
      *that does not explicitly say it is for mailings*

    - putting one's email address on any other form, 
      such as product registrations or magazine

    - posting one's email address on a web page (web page
      authors should clearly specify the reason an email
      address appears on the page)

    - entering into a business relationship or conducting a
      business transaction;  for example, purchasing a product
      or service from a company, or downloading a free trial
      version of a software product from a web site.

3c. What is 'bulk email'?

  Bulk email is any group of messages sent via email, with 
  substantially identical content, to a large number of addresses at 
  once. Many ISPs specify a threshold for bulk email:

    ----- 25 or more recipients within a 24-hour period -----

  Once again, taken by itself, bulk email is not necessarily abuse of 
  the email system.  For example, there are legitimate mailing lists, 
  some with hundreds or thousands of willing recipients.

3d. What is 'commercial email'?

  Commercial email is any email message sent for the purposes of 
  distributing information about a for-profit institution, soliciting 
  purchase of products or services, or soliciting any transfer of 
  funds.  It also includes commercial activities by not-for-profit 

3e. UBE, UCE, MMF, MLM... What do they all mean?

  First, a short lesson on the term 'SPAM'.  Spam describes a 
  particular kind of Usenet posting (and canned spiced ham), 
  but is now often used to describe many kinds of inappropriate 
  activities, including some email-related events.  It is technically 
  incorrect to use 'spam' to describe email abuse, although attempting
  to correct the practice would amount to tilting at windmills.  For 
  more on the history of the term, look for  '2.4) Where did the term 
  'Spam' come from?' in 

UBE:  Unsolicited Bulk Email
  Email with substantially identical content sent to many recipients 
  who did not ask to receive it.  Almost all UBE is also UCE 
  (see next). 

  UBE is undoubtedly the single largest form of email abuse today.  
  There are automated email sending programs that can send millions of
  messages a day;  the bandwidth, storage space, and time consumed by 
  such massive mailing is incredible.  One month's worth of mailings 
  from one of the most nefarious bulk email outfits was estimated at 
  over 134 gigabytes, yes that's right, gigabytes.  Each message was 
  sent over the email wires, consuming bandwidth.  Then, each message 
  was either stored locally or 'bounced' back to the sender, taking up
  storage space and even more bandwidth.  Finally, each boxholder was 
  forced to spend time dealing with the message.  

  These are all legitimate, measurable costs, and they are not borne 
  by the sender of the messages.  UBE is, at best, exploitation of 
  email for profit; at worst, theft.  There are currently few 
  regulations regarding UBE;  the potential for growth is open-ended.
  All by itself, UBE could render the email system virtually useless 
  for legitimate messages.

  Some would argue that there is such a thing as 'responsible' UBE; 
  those who honor 'remove' requests and use the lists on 'Remove Me' or 
  'No Spam' web sites would fit their description of 'responsible'.  
  However, due to the types of messages contained in most UBE, and the 
  historic lack of responsibility on the part of the sending 
  organizations, UBE and UCE have earned a reputation as tawdry, widely 
  unpopular methods of disseminating information.

UCE:  Unsolicited Commercial Email
  Email containing commercial information that has been sent to a 
  recipient who did not ask to receive it. 

  This is widely used, and confused with UBE, (see above).  UCE 
  must be commercial in nature but does not imply massive numbers.
  Several ISPs specify a threshold for unsolicited commercial email:

    ----- sending one UCE is a violation -----

  In a specific case, individuals took offense at having been sent 
  commercial messages regarding their web sites.  Their addresses were
  posted for the purpose of comments and suggestions about the site;  
  the messages received were commercial offerings to buy ad space on 
  the site or sell something to the site maintainer.

MMF:  Make Money Fast
  Messages that 'guarantee immediate, incredible profits!', including 
  such schemes as chain letters.

  Originally a problem in "snailmail" and on Usenet, these messages 
  are now expanding into email.  Chain letters and most MMF schemes 
  are illegal, regardless of any claims they might make to the 
  contrary.  They should be reported to the proper authorities.  Also,
  chain letters and MMFs don't work!  No one sends the 5 dollars, and 
  claims of unlimited wealth made by people who then ask -you- for money 
  should be taken with a large grain of salt.  Many chain letters and 
  MMFs are sent by clueless college freshmen - a note to the 
  administrator of their system is often sufficient to 
  cure them.  For the more serious offenders, the US Post Office, 
  Inspection Service - Consumer Fraud Division,  *loves* to hear about
  chain letters!  Send any sightings to, and 
  see their web page at

MLM:  Multi-Level Marketing
  Messages that 'guarantee incredible profits!', right after you
  send them an "initial investment" and recruit others.

  Some of the MMF senders will say, "This isn't one of those illegal 
  get-rich-quick schemes.  No, this is multi-level marketing, and 
  perfectly legal."  However, many MLM schemes are little more than 
  illegal pyramid schemes with a fancy name to confuse the unwitting.
  Particularly popular recently are "Work at Home!" schemes.  Whether 
  or not the offer is legal is not important to this FAQ;  MLM is 
  commercial email, so go ahead and complain.

3f. What is a mailbomb?

  Delivery of enough email to a mailbox to overload the mailbox or 
  perhaps even the system that the mailbox is hosted on.  
  Mailbombs generally take one of two forms.  A mailbox might be 
  targeted to receive hundreds or thousands of messages; this makes it
  difficult or impossible for the victim to use their own mailbox, 
  possibly subjects them to additional charges for storage space, and 
  might cause them to miss messages entirely due to overflow.  This is
  seen as a denial-of-service attack, perhaps also harassment, and is 
  not tolerated by any known service providers.  Alternatively, a 
  message will be bulk-emailed, with the intended victim's address 
  forged in the From: and/or Reply-To: lines of the headers.  The 
  victim is then deluged with responses, mostly angry.

  There is a third, particularly nasty, form of mailbomb.  This one
  forges subscription requests to many mailing lists, all for one recipient.
  The result is a huge barrage of email arriving in the victim's email box, 
  all of it unwanted, but "legitimate".  Many mailing list administrators are
  countering this form of abuse by sending a confirmation email to each
  subscription request, which must be returned in order to be subscribed to
  the list.

3g. What is email harassment?

  Any message or series of messages sent via email that meet the legal
  definition of harassment.


Subject: 4. Actions

4a. I've been mailbombed - what should I do?

  Contact your ISP immediately.  They can help stop the inflow, and 
  also help track down the source of the mailbomb.

4b. I've received U*E in my mailbox - who do I exterminate?

  By responding in some kind of abusive fashion, you lower yourself to
  the level of the person who sent you the offending message.  You 
  might also lose Net access through your ISP.  There are other ways 
  to fight back;  read on.

4c. I've received U*E in my mailbox - what should I do?

  You could:  ask the sender not to send you any more;  complain to 
  the appropriate people;  just ignore it and delete it.

Ask to be 'removed' from their list:
  Some U*E contains instructions for how to be 'removed' from the 
  sender's mailing list.  Usually this amounts to sending a 
  specifically formatted message to a particular address.  While this 
  is a relatively trivial task, it is not particularly effective; see 
  the sections "4g. I asked to be 'removed' - guess what?  I got another
  U*E", and, "4h. I asked to be 'removed' - guess what?  The message 
  bounced", later in this FAQ, for more on why this method is less 
  than perfect. 

Complain to the appropriate people:
  If you send a complaint, be polite, or at least civil.  Most times 
  the person receiving your complaint is *not* responsible for the 
  U*E;  if you expect their help, a little honey goes a long way.  Be 
  sure to include full headers when sending a complaint.

  Decipher the headers and complain to postmaster@bad-guys.provider. 
  Several sources on header-ography can be found in Appendix I of 
  this FAQ.  Some service providers also have abuse addresses;  i.e., 
  abuse@bad-guys.provider.  If you are on AOL, or another service 
  which engages in filtering, forward to the appropriate address on 
  your system so that they can see where new sources of UBE are, and 
  possibly add them to the list.  For AOL, forward them to postmaster 
  and abuse.

  If you are so inclined, you can do a bit more detective work and 
  possibly find more victi--- umm, legitimate recipients for your 
  complaint.  If the message originated in the US, using whois, or a 
  visit to InterNIC at 
  or its European counterpart at
  might turn up a few more addresses.  Traceroute or a similar tool 
  (tracert from the DOS prompt in Win95) will show the sender's 
  upstream provider;  some people lodge a complaint with them also.  
  There are several web sites available that will do a traceroute and 
  display the results;  use your  favorite search engine to find them.

  Also, there are usually folks on who are 
  willing to help you decipher headers;  be sure to include the 
  complete header in your post.

  (WSPING32 for Win95 has traceroute and DNS lookups built into it.  
  The traceroute in it is much more intuitive for Windows users.  It 
  is available at TUCOWS, and many other Winsock sites.  For Mac users, 
  the program "Mac TCP Watcher" has DNS lookup and a traceroue function.)

  If you have the tools available, you can also block any further 
  email from the source of the U*E.  See 'I never want to see another 
  message from again!' in this FAQ for more 

Just ignore it and delete it:
  If you only ever get one or two U*E messages, this is a logical and 
  reasonable course of action.  When the numbers increase, come back to 
  this FAQ and read about other actions.

4d. Where do these people get my email address?

  1) Run programs that collect email addresses out of Usenet posting 
  2) Cull them from subscriber lists (such as AOL's Member Profile 
  3) Use web-crawling programs that look for mailto: codes in HTML 
  4) Rip them out of online 'white pages' directories
  5) Buy a list from someone who already has one
  6) Take them from you without your knowledge when you visit their 
     web site.  For the latest on web browser security issues, see:
  7) Use finger on a host computer to find online users addresses
  8) Collect member names from online "chat rooms".

4e. How do I keep my address off the lists?

  For a junk-free mailbox, don't browse the web, don't put your email 
  address on a web page, don't subscribe to a large ISP, and don't 
  post to Usenet.  In other words, don't use the Internet. 

  Some people have taken to forging their own From: and Reply-to: 
  lines in their posts.  They might add an easily-recognized 
  'spam-block' to their address, or they might use those header lines 
  to tell folks where to look for their real address (usually in the 
  sig).  Some attempt to boast of their elitist-Unix-nerd-programmer 
  capabilities by burying their email address in a maze of code.  Such
  measures, while effective, are frowned upon by some as 'giving in' 
  to the bulk emailers.

  If you do a lot of web browsing, be careful about filling out forms;
  some outfits take such action as carte blanche to stuff your 
  mailbox.  There are also those who sell addresses collected in this 
  manner.  Don't assume that because you  are visiting the site of a 
  'reputable company' that this will not happen to you.

4f. I did all that and I still get U*E!

  Your options are few;  your address is probably on one of the lists 
  that gets swapped/bought/sold among the bulk email 'community'.  
  Your only alternative might be a new address.  Also, see 'I never 
  want to see another message from again!' for ways 
  to gird your mailbox against the advancing hordes.

  There have been several reports of U*E dropping off considerably as
  soon as someone has stopped posting to Usenet;  this may indicate
  that the U*E outfits are constantly creating new lists, and not
  reusing old lists.

4g. I asked to be 'removed' - guess what?  I got another U*E

  Not surprisingly, many UBE outfits treat a 'remove' request as 
  evidence that the address is 'live';  a 'remove' request to some 
  bulk emailers will actually guarantee that they will send more to 
  you.  For many others, the remove procedure does not work, either by
  chance or design.  At this point perhaps you're starting to get a 
  feel for the type of people with whom you are dealing.

  Also, getting removed doesn't keep you from being added the next 
  time they mine for addresses, nor will it get you off other copies 
  of the list that have been sold or traded to others.  In summary, 
  there is no evidence of 'remove' requests being an effective way to 
  stop UBE.

4h. I asked to be 'removed' - guess what?  The message bounced

  Probably the remove procedure was false.  Any remove procedure that 
  tells you to send remove requests to AOL, CompuServe, Prodigy, 
  Hotmail, or Juno is certainly false.  The bulk emailers are an 
  unpopular lot;  they forge headers, inject messages into open SMTP 
  ports, use temporary accounts, and pull other stunts to avoid the 
  tirade of complaints that follow every mailing.

4i. What about 'Remove Me' web sites and other global 'Remove' Lists?

  They depend on the goodwill of the UBE-sending agencies to work.  
  That is, the senders must use and honor the lists for them to be 
  effective.  There is no evidence that they do so.  There is nothing 
  to stop them from -adding- all those addresses to their lists!  
  Also, because UCE and UBE is sent postage-due, such sites are 
  effectively attempting to legitimize a form of recipient-paid 
  advertising;  you'll have to decide for yourself whether you want to
  support such an effort by placing your address there. 

4j. List of Basic Administrative Contacts
 (This section was lifted almost intact from the Net Abuse FAQ)

  The search for the best person to complain to at any site has led to
  much speculation and arguments, even among admins at the same site. 
  However, if a message to the original poster doesn't get you 
  anywhere, somebody at one of the following addresses might be able 
  to help.  Be aware, though that some of the more experienced and 
  well-financed junksters have their own domains, and simply drop 
  complaints to some of the addresses below into the bit-bucket.  
  Moving upstream may be your only choice.  Some specific addresses 
  are listed in Appendix I of this FAQ, under 'Abuse Addresses of 
  major service providers'.

  A lot of ISP's and network backbones have created 'abuse' addresses 
  for complaints about net-abuse. That's usually the best place to 

  RFC 822, the document which set most of the current standards for 
  Internet e-mail back in 1982, makes it mandatory for all sites 
  which pass e-mail to have a postmaster address so that problems can 
  be reported. The purpose of postmaster has expanded at many sites 
  to include net-abuse, both e-mail and otherwise.

Administrative or Technical Contacts
  If you have access to the whois command, you can type (for example) 
  'whois' to find out who the administrative and 
  technical contacts are for a domain. This will list their e-mail 
  address, and often their phone and FAX numbers.  Whois for InterNIC 
  is available via the web at:
  its European counterpart is at:
  The bulk emailers are aware of this resource as well, and InterNIC 
  does very little to check the integrity or authenticity of the 
  supplied information.  So don't be surprised to find contact 
  addresses such as '', and phone numbers that 
  don't work.

Upstream Providers
  Determining who's upstream using email headers can often be 
  confusing -- many people get it wrong, due to their own 
  inexperience or forgery on the part of the sender. U*E is worthless 
  unless it contains some legitimate contact information, though.  If 
  you've been around the block vis-a-vis headers, and you're familiar 
  with the whois and traceroute tools, you can probably find the 
  upstream provider.
  Now you can send mail to, and it 
  will (probably) be sent to the appropriate contact for that domain. 
  Be advised that this is a wholly experimental service.  Be sure to
  visit the web site before sending email to this service;  it will 
  explain the what the service does, and how to subscribe to it.  You 
  can find it at:

4k. I've contacted everyone involved - heard nothing back!

  Not all ISP's respond to every complaint.  With some, this is 
  because the bulk emailer is his own ISP.  With others, it is due to 
  the volume of complaints received.  Many of the larger ISPs and 
  backbone providers will send an automated response.  Don't be 
  offended by this;  they are probably deluged with complaints.  The 
  more they get, the sooner they'll find a permanent solution, so keep
  sending them.  Also, although the responses are automated, they may 
  still contain specific information;  UUNet's replies contain a 
  unique ID number, intended for use in any further communications 
  regarding that particular incident.

4l. I've contacted everyone involved - they told me to go away!

  Complain to the next step up the chain.  If they, too, brush you 
  off, keep complaining anyway.  Some of the upstream providers claim 
  no responsibility for the actions of their customers;  in lieu of a 
  'short, sharp, shock', the best thing to do is to keep badgering 
  them.  Still other ISPs will tell you there is nothing they can do 
  about such activities;  that is pure poppycock.  If they happen to 
  be *your* provider, you might consider letting them know what you 
  think of their incompetence/laziness/irresponsibility by finding 
  another ISP.  Be sure to tell all your friends.

4m. They told me they canceled the account, but I got another U*E!

  Some sites have been created for no other purpose than sending UBE.
  Some of these will do their best to spread confusion about their 
  natures by misleading and outright lying to those who complain.  
  This has included 'removing' offending accounts, only to give the 
  user another account to start over again.  Also, some UBE 
  'operators' use a 'hit-and-run' strategy, getting free trial or 
  'throwaway' accounts at other ISP's to actually send the mail.

  In addition to that, forging headers is *extremely* common.  At 
  least one UBE'r has been kicked off an account, forged his next 
  barrage with the (no longer valid) address from the ISP that kicked 
  him off, *and* bounced the mail off of that provider's mail server.

  In UBE, appearances are often deceiving.

4n. I sent a complaint - they said they had nothing to do with it!

  A) They had nothing to do with it.  The headers were misread or 
  2) They're a bunch of lying, no-good such-and-so's.  If you're 
     pretty certain that's the case, send as much evidence as you have
     to their postmaster and their upstream provider.

4o. I sent a complaint - they responded with threats!

  See 2) above.  Sometimes, threats come from newbies, so simply 
  sending evidence to their postmaster is enough to get them booted.  
  Also, depending on the nature of the threat, other legal measures 
  may be available to you.

4p. I never want to see another message from again!

  Some ISPs (MindSpring is one) maintain server-level junk filters.
  If your ISP does not do this, ask them to consider it.  They may
  also subscribe to the Realtime Blacklist (RBL), which is a list 
  of sites deemed to be sources of net abuse.  More on the RBL 
  can be found at:
  AOL also gives its members another tool, keyword 'Mail Controls', to
  block email at the individual level.  Ask your ISP to provide 
  similar tools.  Better still, ask them to provide even -better- 

  Some email client programs are equipped with filters which will 
  dump, bounce, or auto-reply to email based on user-defined criteria.
  Note that this does not prevent the U*E from being received and 
  stored on your mail server until you deal with it.  Some email 
  programs will download and act on just the headers; others require 
  the entire message to be downloaded before acting on it.

  Consider getting a procmail filter set up if your connection method 
  and ISP will allow it.  Procmail is a subject in and of itself;  
  some good starting points can be found in The Email Abuse Resource
  List, found at:
  Also,, .misc, and .usenet often
  have threads on the latest procmail tricks and stunts.  In addition,
  there is a newsgroup, comp.mail.misc, that discusses procmail among 
  other things.


Subject: 5. Etcetera

5a. Who cares about this stuff?  Just delete it

  The waste of resources, not to mention your time, has already taken 
  place.  Besides, if UBE goes unchecked, you might be looking for a 
  keyboard with multiple DEL keys, and a few extra fingers with which 
  to push them.

5b. There ought to be a law!

  Why don't we sic Those Pesky Congress Critters (TPCC)(tm) on them?  
  Do that, and the next thing you know the sky will be filled with 
  Black Helicopters.

  There has been a lot of discussion regarding the United States' 
  junk fax law (47 USC Section 227) and its applicability to U*E.  
  The text of this law is available at 
  This law has been very effective in eliminating junk faxes in the 
  US.  As of this writing, there is a bill working its way through 
  the US House of Representatives that would amend the 47 USC 227 to 
  include unsolicited commercial email.  This effort is being led by
  The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE);  the text
  of the amendment, which was introduced by Representative Chris Smith
  of New Jersey, can be found at

  A bill has been passed by the US Senate, S.1618.  Senator Frank 
  Murkowski of Alaska joined with Senator Frank Torricelli of New 
  Jersey to put forth an FTC-enforced opt-out plan;  this can be
  found at 

  As of the date of this FAQ, there have been as many as 96 cases
  pending where 47 USC 227 is being tested for its applicability to 
  email.  Check, and other Net news services, 
  for updated information.
  There is also another US statute.  18USC1029 is a computer anti-
  hacking law that could make it illegal to use false headers or fake 
  accounts on  computers. (They call it access codes, devices or 

  Washington state has passed a law requiring truth in headers and 
  other identification information to be included in any commercial
  email sent to Washington state residents.  The text can be found at:

  Effective January 1, 1997, Section 17538(d) of the Business and 
  Professions Code took effect in CALIFORNIA.  This begins:
    "A vendor conducting business through the Internet or
    any other electronic means of communication shall
    do all of the following when the transaction
    involves a buyer located in California:"
  and goes on to mandate some very specific requirements about
  exactly how the legal name and address of the vendor shall
  be prominently disclosed.  Violations of this section 
  are punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of
  up to $1,000.

  Cal BPC 17538 (d) seems to say that if you make a purchase over 
  the Internet from California, the seller must tell you their real name 
  and address and their return or refund policy before accepting 
  payment;  this appears to be a watering-down of earlier versions, 
  which stipulated that such information be put on the web page or in 
  the advertisement making the offer.

  The text of this California business code can be found at:

  NEVADA has passed a bill in July 1997 in its legislature that deals 
  specifically with the issue of U*E.  It appears to have been rendered
  nearly useless by last-minute lobbying efforts by the Direct
  Marketing Association.  The text can be found at:
  The bill's sponsor was Senator Raggio: 
  If you'd like to tell the DMA what you think, the place to do it is:

5c. I *like* getting U*E!

  Post your address in n.a.n-a.e - lots of folks would be happy to 
  forward you some more.  Be sure to reserve -plenty- of space.

5d. I'm seeing a lot of ads in my favorite newsgroup - help!

  Sorry, wrong FAQ.  You want the Net Abuse FAQ, posted thrice monthly
  (on the 1st, 11th, and 21st) to*, 
  news.admin.misc, news.groups.questions, and news.answers. It will 
  also be available by anonymous ftp from and its mirror 
  sites.  The master hypertext version is available at:


Subject: End of eMail Abuse FAQ

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