01 November 2006

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam!

Far too long away from this blog, but its Spring, and matters non-technical have had my attention for some time.

Received a spam this morning (not unusual, in itself) from Computicket (no link, google for it - fuck them - why should I help spammers gain pagerank?) - a local company who do movie, theatre and event bookings.  I didn't even really look at what they were advertising.  Besides, most of it was in images, blocked by my mail client.

In response I dropped a BLOCK message onto the Spam-L mailing list - one of the most respected anti-spam resources in the 'net (also all relevant abuse addresses):
Spam from computicket.com to an address never given to them.  Spam is
also in violation of locally applicable spam law (ECT Act requirements) (such as it is):

(Notice the "Urgent" priority on what is really "Bulk")
Delivered-To: <x>
Received: by with SMTP id d19cs590002ugj;
       Mon, 30 Oct 2006 09:22:35 -0800 (PST)
Received: by with SMTP id p20mr4513321ugh;
       Mon, 30 Oct 2006 09:22:35 -0800 (PST)
Return-Path: <info@mcentre.computicket.com>
Received: from smtp.mcentre.co.za (pdpapp3.mwebhosting.net1[])
       by mx.google.com with ESMTP id 53si3074470ugd.2006.;
       Mon, 30 Oct 2006 09:22:35 -0800 (PST)
Received-SPF: neutral (google.com: is neither permitted
nor denied by best guess record for domain of
Received: from mail pickup service by smtp.mcentre.co.za with Microsoft SMTPSVC;
        Mon, 30 Oct 2006 19:16:49 +0200
X-Abuse-Contact-Mail: abuse@mcentre.co.za
X-Abuse-Contact-Tel: 27860 200 121
MWEB-Business-BatchID: 59867
MWEB-Business-ClientID: 177
MWEB-Business-MessageType: H
MWEB-Business-MessageID: <x>
MWEB-Business-SequenceNo: 26946
From: Computicket <info@mcentre.computicket.com>
Reply-To: info@computicket.com
To: <x>
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2006 16:11:37 GMT
Subject: Special Newsflash
Priority: Urgent
Recevied a reply from an MWeb droid.  MWeb are the spamhaus who actually did the wetwork on behalf of Computicket.  I won't bore you with the full (lengthy) reply.  The summary reads:
Dear Mike Morris,

Thank you for making use of the MWEB Business Technical support mail service.

You received this mail sent as a solicited mail from Computicket, in accordance with The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act. 2002 Chapter VII - Consumer Protection
[ i.e. Fuck you.  It's legal.]
Disclaimer: This email is considered a business record and is therefore property of MWEB. This email, and any files transmitted with it are confidential and are intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. This communication represents the originator's personal views and opinions, which do not necessarily reflect those of MWEB. If you are not the original recipient or the person responsible for delivering the email to the intended recipient, be advised that you have this email in error, and that any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing, or copying of this email is strictly prohibited. If you received this email in error, please immediately notify asptac@mweb.com
Included were lengthy quotes of semi-relevant sections of the Electronic Commerce and Transactions Act.  Sections I could probably recite by heart.

On principle, and basically because of their crass "legal disclaimer", here is my reply to them in full.  We'll see how this one plays out...  But for now, caveat emptor: MWeb have taken a business decision to become a spamhaus. If you run a mail server, please add the following domains to your blacklists:


My reply to them (spelling errors and all, in the interests of full disclosure):
Dear Phillip Bresler

On 31/10/06, MWEB <asptac@mweb.com> wrote:

> You received this mail sent as a solicited mail from Computicket, in accordance with The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act. 2002 Chapter VII - Consumer Protection
You may wish to fool yourself that it was solicited. Given the dismal
state of SA email legislation and regulation you may even be able to
claim that it was "legally" solicited in some narrow legalistic sense.

However, as an employee of a large ISP and email service provider, you
surely cannot be so ignorant of universally-accepted Internet "best
practise" with regard to email solicitation, mailing lists and bulk
email.  If this is, indeed, the case, I will be happy to assist you in
this matter.  My normal consulting rates will apply.  As an Internet
user and mail system administrator since 1989, I can assure you that,
though you might not, I DO understand best practice and how to
implement it.  This spam from Computicket, spewed directly from MWeb's
servers, using a wholly inappropriate routing priority, follows
anything BUT best practice.  Its was:
 1. Unsolicited.  I have never given permission to Computicket or
MWeb to contact me with marketing email.
 2. Bulk.
 3. Email.

In short: UBE, or spam.

Furthermore your usage of the word "solicited" falls so far outside
the dictionary definition, as well as the common person's
understanding of the term, as to be laughable.

> The act states:
> Electronic Communications and Transactions Act. 2002 Chapter VII - Consumer Protection 45. Unsolicited goods, services or communications
> 1) Any person who sends unsolicited commercial communications to
> consumers, must provide the consumer
> a) with the option to cancel his or her subscription to the mailing
> list of that person; and
No such option was supplied, which is precisely why I mentioned that
it is not in compliance with the ECT Act.  Strike one.

Perhaps the "opt out" details were in a picture - blocked in my email
client and unavailable to visually-impaired users, and hence
discriminatory in terms of the constitution.

> b) with the identifying particulars of the source from which that
> person obtained the consumer's personal information, on request of the consumer.
No such particulars were provided.  Strike two.

> 4) Any person who sends unsolicited commercial communications to a
> person who has advised the sender that such communications are unwelcome, is guilty of an offence and liable, on conviction, to the penalties prescribed in section 89(1).
You are hereby advised that ALL commercial communications from MWeb's
servers to me are unwelcome, whether originating from MWeb or any
other party using MWeb as a spam service.  All such communications
will, without exception be listed on various anti-spam activism sites.
Hopefully in time this will lead to the widespread blacklisting of
MWeb's mail servers, since it is obvious that MWeb has decided to
become a spamhaus.

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