Michigan law chief slams ‘bogus’ anti- spam group

Shape up - or else...


Remove.org, the "Do Not Spam" list outfit that has been accused of making false claims about its offering and even spamming people itself, has been warned by the Michigan Attorney General to buck up its act.

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox yesterday issued a legal notice to Remove.org warning the company that it faces a potential lawsuit under the Michigan Consumer Protection Act for deceptively marketing its supposedly anti-spam service to consumers.

Cox criticised the organisation for making illegitimate claims that it was "a complete service offering protection from spam email, junk mail, and telemarketers". The Attorney General takes issues with a number of other claims made by Remove.org on its web site, including calling itself a non-profit organisation; promising to stop all spam and telemarketing; related claims that the outfit would "protect children against adult material" and claiming it has offices in Washington DC - when the address it gives is only a private mailbox.

Remove.org claims that it offers more protection than the federal government's Do-Not-Call list, because Remove.org will contact "the companies not covered by the National Do-Not-Call Registry and have your phone number removed from their lists", also provoked the ire of Michigan law officers.

In a hard-hitting statement, Cox said: "This organisation's Web site is decorated with the American flag and the Statue of Liberty, yet there are few more un-American practices than lying to the public about being a charity recognised by the IRS. Remove.org's blatant deception is a slap in the face of the many legitimate charities that take pains to comply with state and federal charity laws.

"The representations this company makes about its service are outrageous. The boastful claim that consumers will see 'no more annoying and offensive spam' is itself offensive.

"Spammers who send pornographic images and deceive consumers for the purpose of obtaining their personal information are not likely to change their ways merely because a consumer has paid ten dollars to become a 'member' of this bogus charity," he added.

Remove.org has ten days to contact Cox's office to explain its practices. Unless an agreement is reached with the company, the Attorney General will be authorized to file a lawsuit under the MCPA, which provides for restitution to consumers and/or damages, in addition civil penalties of up to $25,000.

Why Do Not Spam lists are a bad idea

Respected spam fighters Spamhaus describe Remove.org as a scam run by spammers. Spamhaus has published a detailed critique of Spam removal lists describing them as "at best a scam and at worst a 'live address' confirmation system for the spammer".

We weren't aware of this critique when we wrote last Friday in only mildly sceptical terms about plans from Do Not Spam list firm Global Removal and spam filtering company DAIR Computer Systems to offer a reciprocal discount scheme.

We apologise for not being more critical.

Although backed by some members of Congress (eg. Senator Charles Schumer), we're increasingly coming to see the whole Do Not Spam list concept as fundamentally misconceived. In the fight against spam these lists probably do more harm than good, it would seem. ®

Related Stories

Do Not Spam list and filtering firms join hands
US anti-spam laws 'will legalise spam'
EU regulations to control web cookies
Spammers break law with covert tracking
Spam clients outed, credit card details published
We've found the perfect solution to spam: Mark takes the stand
We've found the perfect solution to spam


Other stories you might like

  • North Korea pulled in $400m in cryptocurrency heists last year – report

    Plus: FIFA 22 players lose their identity and Texas gets phony QR codes

    In brief Thieves operating for the North Korean government made off with almost $400m in digicash last year in a concerted attack to steal and launder as much currency as they could.

    A report from blockchain biz Chainalysis found that attackers were going after investment houses and currency exchanges in a bid to purloin funds and send them back to the Glorious Leader's coffers. They then use mixing software to make masses of micropayments to new wallets, before consolidating them all again into a new account and moving the funds.

    Bitcoin used to be a top target but Ether is now the most stolen currency, say the researchers, accounting for 58 per cent of the funds filched. Bitcoin accounted for just 20 per cent, a fall of more than 50 per cent since 2019 - although part of the reason might be that they are now so valuable people are taking more care with them.

    Continue reading
  • Tesla Full Self-Driving videos prompt California's DMV to rethink policy on accidents

    Plus: AI systems can identify different chess players by their moves and more

    In brief California’s Department of Motor Vehicles said it’s “revisiting” its opinion of whether Tesla’s so-called Full Self-Driving feature needs more oversight after a series of videos demonstrate how the technology can be dangerous.

    “Recent software updates, videos showing dangerous use of that technology, open investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the opinions of other experts in this space,” have made the DMV think twice about Tesla, according to a letter sent to California’s Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), chair of the Senate’s transportation committee, and first reported by the LA Times.

    Tesla isn’t required to report the number of crashes to California’s DMV unlike other self-driving car companies like Waymo or Cruise because it operates at lower levels of autonomy and requires human supervision. But that may change after videos like drivers having to take over to avoid accidentally swerving into pedestrians crossing the road or failing to detect a truck in the middle of the road continue circulating.

    Continue reading
  • Alien life on Super-Earth can survive longer than us due to long-lasting protection from cosmic rays

    Laser experiments show their magnetic fields shielding their surfaces from radiation last longer

    Life on Super-Earths may have more time to develop and evolve, thanks to their long-lasting magnetic fields protecting them against harmful cosmic rays, according to new research published in Science.

    Space is a hazardous environment. Streams of charged particles traveling at very close to the speed of light, ejected from stars and distant galaxies, bombard planets. The intense radiation can strip atmospheres and cause oceans on planetary surfaces to dry up over time, leaving them arid and incapable of supporting habitable life. Cosmic rays, however, are deflected away from Earth, however, since it’s shielded by its magnetic field.

    Now, a team of researchers led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) believe that Super-Earths - planets that are more massive than Earth but less than Neptune - may have magnetic fields too. Their defensive bubbles, in fact, are estimated to stay intact for longer than the one around Earth, meaning life on their surfaces will have more time to develop and survive.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022