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Senator Says Spammers Have First-Amendment Rights

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the well-they-do dept.

Spam 453

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), while joining Rep. Gephardt (D-MO) in a discussion of how Democrats are the "guardians of the New Economy," noted that opt-out is better, because it gives companies their first ammendment right to contact you. I agree, companies do have a right to contact me. But they should be required to pay "postage" for that right. I think spammers should pay a penny per k to both me and my ISP. A 5k spam would cost a dime. Still less then a stamp, but it'd make me a few hundred bucks a month for my time, bandwidth, and hardware costs. Spammers take away my property and happiness. Isn't that a right too? And opt-out is a joke. I've opted out of countless things, but I still get a hundred+ spams a day. Thank god for mail filters.

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You opt out? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#134098)

you idiot. now they can charge more for your email address when they sell it to other spammers as "verified."

Take your free speech someplace else (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#134099)

I agree, you have a right to express your opinion -- any opinion at all.

But don't force your free speech down my throat! I think the right not to hear other people's free speech should be the next amendment to the Constitution.

Generally, unsolicited free speech should be limited to public spaces only. Not my windshield, not my doorknob, not my front lawn, not my snail mail box, not my email box, not my telephone. In fact, why not designate free speech areas in cities by zoning. So those who want to hear other people's free speech can go to the town square or Hyde Park or wherever it might be.

Marko [mailto]

Re:What first amendment rights? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#134100)

A human being wrote the spam and pushed the send button, or executed the mass mail script. A "company" did not. Companies don't have fingers to type and click; therefore the speech in question was not produced by a company, so whether they have First Amendment rights is not the issue. Or are you saying that working for a company shrinks a person's freedom of speech?

paying to send me spam (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#134101)

if spammers have to pay to send email, then everyone should have to pay to send email. i'd rather deal with the bullshit.

RE: Opt out (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 13 years ago | (#134111)

Well I agree with Social Security, but Federal Income taxes do *some* good.

If you drive on an Interstate Highway, most state highways and most bridges in the US, then your taxes are helping to pay for them and thier upkeep.

If you like your imported beer/food/cars/whatever, tax dollars are spent to keep the sea lanes open, the costal waters safe and make sure things are inspected at various Federal levels, with some of that Tax money.

Since 1945, Income tax dollars have gone to defending Western Europe, Japan, Australia, and the US so we can buy all these neat things and sell them fewer neat things than we buy from them.

I've always had to argue with people that saying "my tax money is wasted", because in most cases, people in the US get something back for thier tax dollars.

As for the Free Speech aspects of spam...I've got to think about that.

Sign the senator up for spam (2)

Malc (1751) | more than 13 years ago | (#134112)

According to Senator Ron Wyden's web site (http://wyden.senate.gov/), he wants you to fill out a form rather than send an email as he get's too many emails and that will be the fastest way to get a response... hmmmm, I wonder if he get's too many spams. Judging by the source of his mail page, his email address is: senator_wyden@exchange.senate.gov. Of course, he has staff filtering emails for him. Too bad his personal email address isn't so easy to find... adding it to lots of spam lists might just change his opinion. He obviously does not care for individuals, just corporations, or else he would have been talking about "opt-in" lists, not "opt-out". Not only is he siding with corporate spammers, he's wasting taxpayer's money on staff who have to filter the spam from his inbox!

"Defenders"? (1)

red_dragon (1761) | more than 13 years ago | (#134113)

So they defend the right of a company to not make a profit and burn through cash faster than a pothead burning weed after being deprived for a week? Well, if that's their choice, it's fine with me.

proof of work based postage stamps (1)

esj at harvee (7456) | more than 13 years ago | (#134126)

there are a group of us try to define and implement a proof of work postage stamp that is reasonably resistant to attacks by dedicated hardware. The basic cryptographic concepts are explained at:

http://www.cypherspace.org/hashcash/ [cypherspace.org]

in a nutshell, a hashcash coin is a nonreusable cryptographic expression of work. The message sender would generate the hashcash coin by spending approximately 10 to 15 seconds of CPU time solving a known mathematical problem. A message recipient would be able to verify the coin very quickly and decide how to handle the message based on the presence or absence of a valid coin.

obviously, there would be a need for a white list filter for mailing lists and people one frequently communicates with as well as methods for handling folks without hashcash capability but we have solved most of these problems and are moving forward.

Hashcash is not intended as a perfect solution to the spam problem but it is a very good way of raising the cost of spam for the spammer.

contact me directly if you want to contribute by generating working code for the first generation implementation of hashcash.

I like this (5)

PD (9577) | more than 13 years ago | (#134129)

I guess it must be legal for me to call the senator at his house 400 times a day. IT'S MY RIGHT.

I guess that I can knock on his front door 400 times a day too. I just want to sell him some subscriptions to a pr0n site.

We need more senators like this, expanding the rights of Americans everywhere. Anyone know his address? I want to personally deliver a dump truck of spam and manure to his home address. That's my right too.

If I got 100 UCE / day (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 13 years ago | (#134130)

that would be a completely worthless email account - nothing left to do but cancel it, print new biz cards, inform friends/family/associates of new email address, etc, etc, etc. I'd never waste time sorting thru 100 emails for the 5-10 useful ones. Of course it would be my fault for using it to 'sign up' for 'free' stuff instead of a disposable. We added an email acct from our ISP for one of our staff, Rebecca@ourdomain.com, only to find it was already on lots of porny lists. She was not a happy camper!

Re:What first amendment rights? (1)

elmegil (12001) | more than 13 years ago | (#134135)

Since the 18-something (aka 19th century) supreme court case where corporations were defined as persons in the eyes of the law, that's when.

Great, isn't it?

Re:First Amendment Rights? (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#134143)

You don't pay for junk mail or flyers on your windshield, but you pay for spam. That's the difference.

Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

Re:maybe my elementary school told me wrong . . . (2)

Thanatos (15980) | more than 13 years ago | (#134155)

one penny to both the user and the ISP.

5k mail, 5 cents to the user, 5 cents to the ISP.

Analogous to Analog mail (1)

CerebusUS (21051) | more than 13 years ago | (#134179)

The postage (bulk rate) that snail-mail spammers pay covers the cost of transmission of the spam to you. If you are in an area where you have to pay by the bag to have your trash hauled away, no one expects Sears to reimburse you for it.

The postage (bandwidth) that email spammers pay also covers only the cost of transmission of the spam to you. You are not billed by every router between you and goatse.cx, why should a spammer?

Spamming is market-driven. As long as people continue to see spamming as a profitable venture it will continue to happen. Laws against spamming should NOT be designed to limit commerce, but instead should focus on theft of service (hacked mail servers) and privacy issues.

Re:maybe my elementary school told me wrong . . . (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 13 years ago | (#134180)

Oh so thats why I always confuse Halloween and Christmas. Sigh (Yes I know the joke, just playing along :)

First Amendment Rights? (2)

Madduck (23916) | more than 13 years ago | (#134183)

Where in the First Amendment does it say that a company/person has the right to invade my home/place of work with information I do not want?

Trolling politicians (2)

pangloss (25315) | more than 13 years ago | (#134186)

IANACS (I am not a constitutional scholar :P), but 1st Amendment rights to free speech/press etc. is one thing, "freedom" to try to get you to part with your cash to purchase my product or service is another.

SPAM legislation shouldn't (and doesn't so far as I know) attempt to regulate unsolicited political, religious, philosophical, or just plain stupid content. I think there would be some genuine 1st amendment issues in the U.S. if it did.

A question:
- would it be the 1st amendment rights of the companies that would prevent us from legislating away their ability to send us junk mail in meatspace?

I think Taco's half-serious(?) suggestion to impose "postage" on UCE points to one of the root problems of UCE: damn little cost for the sender. Even if we could incorporate some of the opt-out facilities available to us with meatspace junkmail, i.e., contact the DMA (direct marketing assoc?) and basically opt-out of receiving junk mail from all/most(?) of their member companies, that doesn't address the thousands/millions of individual, fly-by-night companies, MLM schemers, etc. who can't afford the 3rd class postage to bludgeon the universe with paper junk mail but can sure afford to click the send button on their email client.

Legislators are wrong to think that opt-out insofar as it may work for paper junk mail and phone calls applies in the same way to UCE.

We need technical measures, not laws, for spam (5)

mistered (28404) | more than 13 years ago | (#134189)

I think these senators don't comprehend the reality with spam; that is, 99% of it has false origin information and has an opt-out scheme that doesn't work or only results in more spam.

However, I don't believe in making laws against spam. They'll always be outdated and interfere with legimate uses of email, since it can be very hard to define exactly what is spam. (Someone taking my address from a newsgroup posting and trying to sell me printer toner is spamming, but how about an email from a company I bought something from a year ago?)

Adam Back [cypherspace.org] has an interesting proposal called Hash Cash [cypherspace.org] . The idea is that if you want to send me an email, you have to burn some CPU cycles to compute a partial hash collision. I choose how many bits are required. Friends and family can send me email for free. I'll charge a few bits for the store I shooped at last week, and even more for people I don't know. If you're in ORBS or MAPS, perhaps I'll charge even more.

Re:There are limits (1)

rufus t firefly (35399) | more than 13 years ago | (#134195)

Okay, that's not a very good analogy - the fact remains that there are (at least today) limits to how free speech really is.

Well, at least you can rest easy knowing that President Bush agrees with you.

"There ought to be limits to freedom!" - George W Bush

---

solution: identity management (2)

akb (39826) | more than 13 years ago | (#134199)

In commercial settings give out a different email address that map to the same mail box each time rather than having just one. You'll be able to tell if it was your mom or the phone company that got you on a spammers list.

I'm sure there's a business model in there somewhere.

Re:It's simple (2)

boarder (41071) | more than 13 years ago | (#134200)

Mailing someone is (roughly) the same as emailing them. Companies have to pay to mail something to me, why shouldn't they pay to email something to me? Telemarketers have to pay for all of the many phone lines they use to call me and 1000 other people in a 12 hour period. Spammers only need to borrow one computer for 10 seconds to spam a million people.

Although I guess it SHOULD be a company's right to call me (I hate it, though) at least make them pay for it like every other means of bothering me without my permission.

He's not talking about limiting speech, just making them pay for their usage of the hardware medium they choose. They can come to my door for free and speak all they want. They shouldn't, however, be able to use the computer resources _I_ pay for to bother me.

Government (4)

Flounder (42112) | more than 13 years ago | (#134205)

So, if Opt-Out is the way to go, when can I opt-out of paying Income Tax and Social Security? Neither one is doing me any good. The government will have their First Amendment rights, while I'll have my Fourth and Tenth Amendment rights.

MODERATOR: Please mod this up! (1)

digitalwanderer (49695) | more than 13 years ago | (#134212)

I haven't seen it said here yet before, and it's a damned good idea.

What to do with those two nickles.... (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 13 years ago | (#134223)

I think spammers should pay a penny per k to both me and my ISP. A 5k spam would cost a dime

As long as they mailed those two nickles (one to me, one to my ISP) via First Class mail ($0.32), I'm fine with this!

Re:I like this (5)

selectspec (74651) | more than 13 years ago | (#134238)

Spam search engines, please take these two email addresses and imortalize them in your hallowed database of infamy --> gephardt@mail.house.gov [mailto] gephardt@mail.house.gov [mailto]

Who cares about SPAM... (1)

TheShadow (76709) | more than 13 years ago | (#134239)

Screw laws against SPAM... I want a law against being harassed by telemarketers.

--

Re:Let them know! (1)

SaDan (81097) | more than 13 years ago | (#134242)

I normally respond to spam with a message similar to yours, but in addition to that, I also try to contact every admin who's machine the offending message bounced through. Sure, it takes a while, but I also get less and less SPAM as I do this more and more. I'm actually seeing an improvement. Contacting the ISP the SPAM originates from also works wonders.

Write your Republicans (4)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 13 years ago | (#134244)

Well, if the democrats want to guard the spammer's right to cost me and my company money, I think I'll be calling my Republican senator, asking him to slap them around a little.

Of course, in a week I will be threatening vote for a democrat if he doesn't stop advocating internet censorship bills...

Possible Flame-Bait (2)

phunhippy (86447) | more than 13 years ago | (#134246)

Author says: But they should be required to pay "postage" for that right. I think spammers should pay a penny per k to both me and my ISP. A 5k spam would cost a dime. Still less then a stamp.

A few major problems here...

1. If they pay for email, you should have to pay for email you send anywhere as well and then we will be back to having a regulated postal service.

2. E-mail is arguably free.. Its a system of networked servers designed to pass messages from one user to another.... they are using that.. why do you assume there is a level of personal privacy there? I can send an email to anyone! bob@yourmomsuck.com president@whitehouse.gov cmdrtaco@slashdot.org ... if we start charging people does this mean if i receive an email from someone i don't like I can now charge them for it?

I guess where do draw the line? is spam that infuriating to you? Personally it doens't bother me.. I have a few different pop accounts i use, with one i give out to people so i can read messages from and one for mailing lists(usually one per mailing list) and one for signing up for dumb stuff online where it sounds like i'm gonna get spammed for it...

What do you do about postal spam? Personally i can't stand that.. I get over 2 pounds a week of trash mail in my mailbox that some how now I AM RESPONSIBLE to recycle or throw away.. My name is Not Postal Customer, or Recipient... i've fought with my post office and left the junk mail in my mailbox.. that does nothing unfortunately.. those are the people who should be paying us for email... if you get some spam... thats reason #45628 the DELETE key was invented...

I think theere are highly more pressing issues to worry about then some junk mail...

Just my thoughts...perhaps losing some karma now :)

How to contact. (1)

Tayknight (93940) | more than 13 years ago | (#134256)

Senator Wyden doens't have a public e-mail address that he publishes (wimp). He does have a form at this page [senate.gov] for sending a comment. Although he says he won't respond if you are not from Oregon.

Gephardt's got a page here [house.gov] . Same deal. No public e-mail address given.

Re:rights (2)

Winged Cat (101773) | more than 13 years ago | (#134263)

Agreed. The operative legal phrase is "captive audience". For all intents and purposes, you are a captive audience of your email - your job, your lifestyle, and more depend on you checking your email. Indeed, in some cases, your email is the equivalent of small-scale corporate emergency services (you're paid to respond immediately when an alert comes in), and is analogous to phone numbers you can ask companies not to call (including wardialing telemarketers if you have an unlisted number).

There is a clear legal opinion that First Amendment rights do not extend to being able to address captive audiences. (The case that comes to mind is a KKK rally that the would-be host town objected to, where the sound of the rally would penetrate even closed doors and windows such that there would be no place in town free from the rally. I may be misremembering this, though.)

I want an unlisted e-mail address (1)

sommere (105088) | more than 13 years ago | (#134266)

I can get an unlisted phone number if I don't want to be contacted by phone. Fax-spam is illegal. I should either be able to put my e-mail address on a don't-spam-me-list or they should eat the costs of my receiveing the mail.

I actually have an idea. Whenever you get spammed by someone with an 800 number call... repetedly... give them some costs too...

---

SPAM your senator today (2)

sommere (105088) | more than 13 years ago | (#134267)

This just in: it is now legal to spam any pro-spam senator. When he opts out, just go get a new hotmail address.

---

individual vs corporate (2)

tokengeekgrrl (105602) | more than 13 years ago | (#134268)

To expand on your eloquent and poignant post, the real issue here is these spinelss congressmen are essentially establishing a first amendment preference for the corporate world over the individual.

In order to protect a company's first amendment rights, they can only be held guilty for spamming once an individual specifies that they don't want it, as opposed to emphasizing an individual's first amendment right not to have someone else's speech imposed upon them.

Obviously, since this favors the corporate world and they pay the politicians to do their bidding, this is the logic that will prevail as it does with telemarketing.

- tokengeekgrrl

Re:Let them know! (1)

keithmoore (106078) | more than 13 years ago | (#134269)

the only people who define spam this way are the spammers. most people realize that it's a sham.

strange interpretation of the first amendment (2)

keithmoore (106078) | more than 13 years ago | (#134270)

spammers aren't exercising free speech. they're interfering with free speech by trespassing into private fora, distrurbing private communications, and stealing resources that do not belong to them.

if the first amendment protects spammers, it also protects those who want to walk into my house uninvited for the purpose of nailing advertisements to my walls.

maybe someone should find out where the senator lives, and drive up and down his street at 4am playing advertisements for ponzi schemes over a loudspeaker.

No... (2)

jgerman (106518) | more than 13 years ago | (#134271)

... why should you get paid to receive mail? The postage that's paid on snail mail doesn't go into your pocket, why would you expect the same of email?

I've said it countless times, you cannot have it both ways, the internet can be a public place or it can be regulated. It's nice that you want freedom for the things you want to do, but want restrictions on the things the YOU don't like others doing, but it's hypocrytical. The internet is here by consensus, not by fiat. I like the fact that the net is frontierland and it turns my stomach to see regulations of any kind being enforced by the government of any country.

Re:Spammers have rights? (2)

jgerman (106518) | more than 13 years ago | (#134272)

Again and again and again... the internet is a public place. If you leave your mailserver set up as an open relay tough shit on you if I send mail through it. Not that I personally would, but you're the idiot that doesn't know how to configure a server. The internet should not be ruled by legislation of any kind, but by consensus. Hence organizations and concepts such as the RBL, IF you are stupid enough to leave you're mailservers open to relaying, we'll put you on this public list... available to anyone who wnats to ban incoming mail from your servers. This make sense and it works. Why involve the government? Because people are too used to whining and complaining that someone should fix things instead of fixining them themselves.

Mathorama? (1)

chrysrobyn (106763) | more than 13 years ago | (#134275)

Spam | Posted by CmdrTaco on 15:02 Thursday 21 June 2001 I think spammers should pay a penny per k to both me and my ISP. A 5k spam would cost a dime. At a penny per k, wouldn't a 5k spam cost a nickel?

Better tell that to the newspapers! (1)

gvonk (107719) | more than 13 years ago | (#134278)

Cause they certainly exercise 1st Amendment rights, even as huge corporations...
But you knew that...

There are limits (2)

lhdentra (111259) | more than 13 years ago | (#134280)

Yes, it would be a restriction of freedom if these companies were prevented from placing ads on their own site. Free speech entails certain responsibilities. I'll rely on the shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre argument to explain that one. If a door-to-door salesman doesn't have the right to wander round your house trying to advertise, what gives spammers the right to invade your PC? Okay, that's not a very good analogy - the fact remains that there are (at least today) limits to how free speech really is.

New Economy? (1)

-brazil- (111867) | more than 13 years ago | (#134281)

You mean there are still people out there who haven't yet caught on to the fact that "New Economy" was nothing more than a buzzword used to sell the .com hype to gullible investors?

Opt-out isn't a problem... (2)

jred (111898) | more than 13 years ago | (#134282)

The problem I have is when you "opt-out", only to have the mail bounced due to an invalid email address, presumably due to spam from the account. Or if you end up on a Japanese spam list, and the email & all linked pages are unreadable by non-linguists, so you *can't* opt-out.

jred
www.cautioninc.com [cautioninc.com]

Re:I like this (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 13 years ago | (#134283)


If you want to make good on PD's threat/joke,

DC Office: 516 Hart Senate Office Building
DC Address: The Honorable Ron Wyden
United States Senate
516 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3703
DC Phone: 202-224-5244 DC Fax: 202-228-2717
District Offices:
700 NE Multnomah St., Suite 450
Portland, OR 97232-2033 Voice: 503-326-7525
FAX: Not Available

he's also jewish and has two kids and no military expierence.

However, if you try to contact him, i'm not sure it will do you much good, unless you're from oregon, and lets face it, when's the last time you met someone from oregon? (http://wyden.senate.gov/mail.htm)
I'm glad that you've decided to take advantage of this technology to share your thoughts with me. But as you might imagine, I receive a great deal of e-mail messages -- that's on top of all the phone calls, faxes, and letters that I get every week from concerned citizens like you. By filling out the form below completely and thoroughly, you will help me respond to your message more quickly and more personally.


Unfortunately, I can only respond to folks from Oregon. If you are traveling or on active duty, please fill out the form with an Oregon address and provide your current address within the message. If you are not from Oregon, please contact one of the Senators from your home state.

Also, to protect your privacy on the Internet, I will not respond electronically to messages requesting help with casework, projects, grants, or other personal or privileged information. I will contact you by U.S. Mail.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Ron Wyden

ain't google grand?
~zero

Re:Possible Flame-Bait (4)

13013dobbs (113910) | more than 13 years ago | (#134289)

1. If they pay for email, you should have to pay for email you send anywhere as well and then we will be back to having a regulated postal service.

Well, there is a difference in the mail that spammers send and that I send. I send emails to people I know and who *want* to recieve email from me. Spammers send to who ever is on thier list. While the one spam I get does not cost me much it does over time; it also costs the ISPs who have to recieve and store the large numbers of unwanted emails.

2. E-mail is arguably free.. Its a system of networked servers designed to pass messages from one user to another.... they are using that.. why do you assume there is a level of personal privacy there?

Actually they are abusing that. The email is definatly *not* free (from an ISPs stand-point). When a spammer tries to dictionary attack your mails erver or sends a 100k spam to all 10K+ of your customers, you quickly find that cleaning up after a spammer is not cheap.

I can send an email to anyone! bob@yourmomsuck.com president@whitehouse.gov cmdrtaco@slashdot.org ..

True, but if you are sending these people uncolicited bulk email, don't be shocked when they complain.

if we start charging people does this mean if i receive an email from someone i don't like I can now charge them for it?

If it is spam, yes.

I guess where do draw the line? is spam that infuriating to you? Personally it doens't bother me.. I have a few different pop accounts i use, with one i give out to people so i can read messages from and one for mailing lists(usually one per mailing list) and one for signing up for dumb stuff online where it sounds like i'm gonna get spammed for it...

Spam *is* that infuriating to an admin who has to come in to the shop at 4am to work on a mail server that has hung trying to process a boatload of spam.

What do you do about postal spam? Personally i can't stand that.. I get over 2 pounds a week of trash mail in my mailbox that some how now I AM RESPONSIBLE to recycle or throw away.. My name is Not Postal Customer, or Recipient... i've fought with my post office and left the junk mail in my mailbox.. that does nothing unfortunately.. those are the people who should be paying us for email..

I throw it away. It really does not cost me anything. the people sending it pay for it's delivery. It does not piss me off; that is because postal spam has yet to flood me to the point where I have to spend an hour destroying mail just to be able to open my PO box.

if you get some spam... thats reason #45628 the DELETE key was invented...

But, how does that solve the problem. Your box is just refilled the next day

I think theere are highly more pressing issues to worry about then some junk mail...

Well, I guess you have never worked on a high traffic mail server or had to deal with abuse issues. :)

Just my thoughts...perhaps losing some karma now :)

I hope you don't lose karma. Good luck.

Yes, opt-out IS a joke... (1)

SpookComix (113948) | more than 13 years ago | (#134290)

...it just tells spammers that you open spam . You've just become their favorite target audience.

Delete spam before you open it, then move on with your life.

--SC

Re:It's simple (5)

ebh (116526) | more than 13 years ago | (#134292)

Your right to free speech does not obligate me to provide you a forum in which to exercise that right.

Taxes WERE unconstitutional (1)

Naerbnic (123002) | more than 13 years ago | (#134297)

Actually, it was at one time considered against the constitution to levy taxes against the people, although it wasn't a free speech issue. If you check your US history, there is a famous supreme court case (Pollock, 1895) in which Taxes were deemed unconstitutional. Of course, congress just turned around and added the 16th amendment which made taxes constitutional:

"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

So Opt-In is the nice and legal way to go, except as pertaining to Taxes :-)


Save a life. Eat more cheese

Well, we now know who's been paid off... (2)

hrieke (126185) | more than 13 years ago | (#134300)

I guess someone should sue on the anti-fax junk mail laws and see what happens, or offer to fax all four hundred hot sexy barely legal teens porn spam to either one of these guys.

Let them know! (2)

vex24 (126288) | more than 13 years ago | (#134301)

I like the current definition of spam, which says that unsolicited advertisements which don't include URLs or instructions on how to "opt out" qualify as illegal spam. Here's a quick note I sent to a software vendor recently after getting their "offer":

This message was unsolicited and contains no "remove" instructions at the bottom, qualifying it as "spam" email. Spam email is now illegal. Please see to it that you never send spam email to the email address "(my@email.address)" again, as it will be reported.

Ok it was a little harsh, but I was trying to break my caffeine addiction, and as such I was a bit cranky. :P

How do we "really" stop spam? (1)

Mustang Matt (133426) | more than 13 years ago | (#134307)

I hope that in the future we can truly stop the kind of spam that has spoofed headers and is bounced off some non-U.S. mail server.

Is digitally signing every e-mail going to be the only way to completely stop spam?

For the companies that offer valid "opt-out" options, I have no problem with them as long as they work.

For the companies that offer "opt-out" options but don't work, they should be fined and both myself and the ISP get a cut.

What is the long term solution to ending spam?

Missouri's No Call List information (1)

Mustang Matt (133426) | more than 13 years ago | (#134308)

Here's more information:

This list is enforced by the Missouri Attorney General.

http://www.moago.org/

It is free speech, but it needs to be accountable. (3)

Mustang Matt (133426) | more than 13 years ago | (#134311)

Advertising is slightly different than free speech.

If I was getting spam about overthrowing the American Government, fine... That's free speech.

But when I get spam advertising unsolicited crap products (low mortgages, cheap ink, infinite supply of viagra) that I just don't want it sucks.

Here are some precidents (sp?) for ending unsolicited spam.

1. Missouri now has a do-not-call list. It's enforced. If a telemarketer gets caught calling my house, they get in big trouble. It went into effect a week or so ago I believe and calls have ENDED! Honestly!

2. When I get credit card(and other advertisement) offers in the mail. There are a few rights that I have...
a. I know exactly where they came from.
b. I can "usually" get off the mailing list.

I'm not saying necessarily that it needs to be government regulated, but we need to design and bulid an email standard that will stop unwanted mail with tough to trace headers.

Once this sort of mail server is in place it should also have the option of only accepting mail from other mail servers that follow these standards.

mail (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 13 years ago | (#134314)

I would rather have spam, then bulk mail. The costs of spam to society are nothing compared to the costs of bulk mail ads that are sent out. If you are really conerned about costs, fight bulk mail.
OTOH I would like to see a law get passed that every piece of spam has to have included in it a spam idenitfier, so the people have the right to decided if they want to be advertised to through there computer.

Re:It's simple (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 13 years ago | (#134315)

by your logic we should not have a limit on the number of billboards are put along the road, or the placement of any advertisement.
We have a right to not be bothered in our homes. The rights were created for the people, not for the companies.Hence "We the people..." and not "We the orporations..."
Some speech is limited, and for good reason.there are also different "levels" of free speech, also for good reason.

tell him to his face! (2)

abde (136025) | more than 13 years ago | (#134316)

Senator Wyden will be holding town meetings [senate.gov] in Oregon. Surely enough Slashdotters livbe within a few hour's drive?

Saturday, June 30th 12:00pm - 1:30pm Lake County Town Hall Lakeview Senior Center 11 N. G Street Lakeview 4:00pm - 5:30pm Curry County Town Hall Port Orford City Council Chambers 555 W. 20th Street Port Orford Sunday, July 1st 2:00pm - 3:30pm Lane County Town Hall Cottage Grove Community Center 700 E. Gibbs Avenue Cottage Grove Monday, July 2nd 4:30pm - 6:00pm Benton County Town Hall The Corvallis Fire Hall 400 NW Harrison Boulevard Corvallis

No right to spend my money without my permission (4)

Tassach (137772) | more than 13 years ago | (#134319)

Yes, everyone has a right to free speech. However, you do not have the right to spend someone else's money or use their resources without their permission. It is against the law for telemarketers to call you collect, or to send unsolicited faxes, or to send advertising postage due. If they want to spam me, that's fine - but if they are going to use my resources (bandwith, electricity, time, and hardware) I deserve to be reimbursed for my expenses.

Congress is once again proving how out of touch with reality they really are I wonder how much money the DMA (Direct Marketer's Alliance) contributed to Senator Wyden and Congressman Gephardt?

pay to spam... (1)

BigScoob (138622) | more than 13 years ago | (#134321)

That's interesting. I guess then you charge all the grocery stores in your area to deliver the weekly ad's to your house. What about that catalog of garden supplies you got last week. Ohh how about we charge the power company to deliver my bill...

Re:Bad math skills (1)

jbischof (139557) | more than 13 years ago | (#134322)

one cent to him, one to isp

rights (5)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 13 years ago | (#134327)

First ammendment rights are not absolute. You cannot force me to listen to your speech. You don't have the right to charge me to listen to your message. You don't have the right to use my equiptment to show me your message.

Email is a push technology, not a pull technology. If someone posts it on Yahoo, or banner ads, you are making a request for it. If they stuff it in your in-box, then you have not requested it on your equiptment. This pop-up/under ads are questionable.

Re:First Amendment Rights? (2)

Chester K (145560) | more than 13 years ago | (#134328)

Where in the First Amendment does it say that a company/person has the right to invade my home/place of work with information I do not want?

Right, so lets go censor things we don't want on television too, since they're 'invading' your home through the non-essential service you voluntarily use.

What first amendment rights? (1)

n0ano (148272) | more than 13 years ago | (#134332)

Since when were corporations covered by the Bill of Rights? Last I heard these covered individuals not companies.

--
Don Dugger
VA Linux Systems

Re:Let them know! (2)

Drone-X (148724) | more than 13 years ago | (#134334)

I sometimes get spam containing a (U.S.) phone number to dial if I want to opt out. Do you happen to know if that is legal in the U.S.?

Companies and the 1st Ammendment (2)

PingXao (153057) | more than 13 years ago | (#134337)

It has been established that companies do not have to allow free speech in the workplace. Every company has the absolute power to coerce their employees to follow standards and policies.

I think that as long as companies are allowed to deny their employees the right to free speech at work, they themselves should not be able to avail themselves of any 1st Ammendment goodies, whether its advertising or anything else.

Now, before you flame me, I think it's good that employers are allowed to exercise some control over their workplace environments. I guess this leads me to conclude that, well, OK, companies shouldn't have any 1st Ammendment benefits, period.

so spam is speech but DeCSs isn't? (2)

ddent (166525) | more than 13 years ago | (#134352)

Look at it.. spam is there to perform a "function", to get you to buy stuff or whatever. Well DeCSS is a function in just the same way. If Spam is protected free speech, DeCSS should be too ;).

There are some legal issues... (5)

taustin (171655) | more than 13 years ago | (#134357)

... in the history of Title 47, Section 227 [cornell.edu] of the US Code (the anti-fax spam law). The legal issues are nearly identical - the anti-fax law prohibited unsolicited faxes selling things because they shift the cost of unwelcome advertising to an unwilling recipient. The cast that tested this that I'm aware of is Destination Ventures, Ltd. v. FCC, 46 F.3d 54 (9th Cir. 1995), which addressed the constitutionality of 42 227 under the 1st Amendment. It noted, specifically, that under prevailing Supreme Court case law at the time (and it hasn't changed substantially), such restrictions must be very specific - in this case, unsolicited faxes advertising goods or services - and must be the only way of accomplishing the public good the law is intended to accomplish. In particular, it noted that unsolicited faxes not advertising commercial services, such as political messages, were protected by the 1st Amendment, even if they cost an unwilling recipient money. I believe the principal is that if you make a fax machine (or email server) readily available to the general public, there is some responsibility to accept whatever gets sent to it - except for some very specific exceptions..

In any event, it seems likely the same legal thinking will apply to any anti-spam law. Since most email spam is, in fact, commercial ads, that would appear to be something that can be banned. Chain letters (that are not other wise illegal, like Ponzi scams), political messages, even ones asking for donations, and many other kinds of email are going to be protected, in the end. Or so it looks to me.

First Amendment for Individuals, NOT Corporations (1)

noahbagels (177540) | more than 13 years ago | (#134370)

Hello fellow /.ers. I'm not a legal scholar, but please hear me out.

I think if the supreme court was asked weather I had the right to make a war-dailer script to call everyone in the country and harass them (and somehow do it for free without direct stealing of telco services), the supreme court would say no. If they were asked if I could hire 100,000 political 'activists', to manually dial/call every phone number in the country, and speak to them in an interactive, human voice, the decision might be different.

Before you go off on my first point, please read on:

Companies that Spam are not doing anything that the constitution was designed to protect, nor the first amendment. Freedom of speech, while it has been expanded to several media forms beyond the original spoken-word/printed-text, does not mean random harassment. I'm sure if you stood outside of a school-building screaming profanities for months on end, the school/courts/supreme-court would prosecute you. If there isn't a law now, they would write and approve one!

Freedom of speech is simply a ploy by companies to excuse their behavior. While the common company party-line is 'to provide you with useful services' - think of the long term effects of digitally-created/automated 'freedom of speech'. What would keep us from /.ing a senator's video-voicemail box at home?

What would keep us from generating real physical mail by the thousands of pieces, and mailing it to a politician just to 'spam' them, or essentially perform a DOS attack on them.

The reality, as an earlier writer mentions, is that: Spam is a form of speach that denies people access to:
Peace and Quiet
Sanctity of the home
their own useful information

Sometimes, in a real society, philosophy and idealism has to give way to reality.
Until computers are sentient, they do not have freedom of speech.

Re:How do we "really" stop spam? (1)

danheskett (178529) | more than 13 years ago | (#134374)

Why would digitalally signing your email work in any way shape or form? I mean, then all you will ever get is digitally signed pr0n requests, spam, and "product updates".


The long term solution to ending spam is to make it no longer profitable - people send spam because it works. If people never, ever, ever responded spam would be a dead art. Instead, any moron with a modem and a laptop can send 100,000,000 messages a month, get 1000 responses, charge them $50 a whack for a secret recipie or jello mold or something and still end up with more black on the books than redhat.

Tell everyone you know - don't answer spam, don't acknowledge it, don't give your address, don't buy from companies who spam, and don't use services that allow members to spam. Passing some silly law or signing messages is useless. The government has not the power nor will to end it, only the people do.

This is a load of Crap (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 13 years ago | (#134383)

Its illegal to send unsolicated Faxes, the same should apply to email end of story.

This isnt right! (1)

Sindri (207695) | more than 13 years ago | (#134405)

The simple rule of thumb to follow regarding things like this is:

One mans right ends where another mans right begins.

This means that allthough it is the spammers right to send as many emails to as many people as he likes, it is also my right not to get unwanted emails.

Sindri Traustason
"It takes two to lie, one to lie and one to listen"

an interesting perspective (4)

wmulvihillDxR (212915) | more than 13 years ago | (#134413)

And opt-out is a joke. I've opted out of countless things, but I still get a hundred+ spams a day.

Actually, opting-out usually doesn't prevent SPAM. For the simple reason that if you send back an opt-out email, you are now a "verified email address" and I'm sure you will show up in the next edition of their "3 billion Verified Email Addresses!!!!" CD-ROM. Which you can buy for the low, low price of....

First admendment rights.... (1)

briggsb (217215) | more than 13 years ago | (#134420)

...but no souls. At least according to this article [bbspot.com] .

Advertising is NOT protected speech (5)

Philbert Desenex (219355) | more than 13 years ago | (#134428)

Luckily, even illustrious personages like U.S. Senators can make wrong statements. Since email spam is advertising, it is not protected speech,and therefore not covered by the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.

In fact, the U.S. has recognized over the years that advertising must be controlled - thus we U.S. citizens are protected by "Truth in Advertising" laws.

The real question is who bought off this particular U.S. senator? The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has its hooks into a lot of state representatives. For instance, here in Colorado, someone proposed a bill to make scumsucking telemarketers use a state "opt-out" list. Colorado citizens could register phone numbers in the opt-out list, and scumsucking telemarketers would be required to *not* call those phone numbers, under penalty of law.

The president of the Colorado State Senate is an ex-DMA-lobbyist, so he used parliamentary procedure to table the bill - it essentially wouldn't even be voted on. A mass outpouring of outrage against evil telemarketers got it back on the table, and it passed.

There can be no compromise on email spam - email spam is theft, and must be eliminated. Email spammers are theives and must be punished withing the limits of the law.

Re:maybe my elementary school told me wrong . . . (1)

Foggy Tristan (220356) | more than 13 years ago | (#134429)

5k * 1 penny per K * 2 receivers (me and my ISP) = 10 cents

Re:It's simple (1)

SlamMan (221834) | more than 13 years ago | (#134430)

Nope. Spam's a little more like disturbing the peace.

First Amendment Rights? What the Hell?! (2)

TWX_the_Linux_Zealot (227666) | more than 13 years ago | (#134431)

First off, I'm all in favour of people standing up for their rights to speak, make their opinion known, etc.

Spamming should NOT be covered by the first amendment. PUBLISHING is covered by the first amendment, creation of work is covered by the first amendment. FORCING CRAP INTO PEOPLE'S INBOXES SHOULD NOT BE COVERED.

I believe that people have the right to put whatever they want up on a web page (within libel limits of course), express their ideas, opinions, creativity, and if Spammers want to put their stuff on a web page somewhere, more power to them! If they want to buy banner ads on sites, again, they are free to. I don't think that Spam is covered under the first amendment because it infringes upon others to "say" what is transmitted, prohibiting the sending of the message unsolicited to millions of people is irrevelant. They are allowed to create their message, their delivery method is the problem. I do not think that it is right for someone to push crap like that down my DSL line to where I host my email, for I am paying for the bandwidth, not them. If they want to send to me unsolicited, they should pay for the transmission rates more than they do, and they aren't. If spammers will pay the backbone providers so that my DSL rates can be lessened, I'll be happy to take their mail and do what I do with junk mail, trash it.

Spam is a problem, and this problem really needs to be corrected, and soon.


"Titanic was 3hr and 17min long. They could have lost 3hr and 17min from that."

Opt-Out is a game like Whack-a-Mole. (3)

Futurepower(tm) (228467) | more than 13 years ago | (#134434)


Opt-Out is like the Whack-a-Mole game, only far worse.

When you opt out, you tell the sender that they have a responsive person. That makes you more valuable to them. They take your name off the one list to which you opted out, but they sell your name to at least 1,000 other lists to which you have not opted out.

If you were to opt out of each of the 1000 lists, they would sell your name each time to 1000 others, so you would eventually be on 1,000,000 lists. These numbers are an estimate, but are not far wrong.

Opt-out is an invitation to spending your whole life as an opt-outer.

Re:Spam & Radio Buttons (2)

wrinkledshirt (228541) | more than 13 years ago | (#134435)

It is their legal right to contact you and I don't think that should change.

Well, isn't there a saying that your right to swing your fist ends at my face. If I've decided that spam causes me undo hardship (bandwidth costs, lost time, unwanted x-rated material), then I ought to be able to recognize my right not to get it. You can do this with junkmail, why can't we do it with junk email?

It'll end up being a judgement call as to whether or not the email sent was spam, but if you coordinated efforts you could probably prove that you were being spammed instead of contacted specifically for something to do with you as an individual.

Spam & Radio Buttons (2)

grovertime (237798) | more than 13 years ago | (#134440)

I think spammers should pay a penny per k to both me and my ISP

Really not a bad idea, except why would it be illegal if they didn't pay a penny? It is their legal right to contact you and I don't think that should change. What is illegal and should be enforced, is the filled-in radio buttons that companies often leave in nooks and crannies which you must click off to NOT receive spam. That is illegal certainly in Canada, and I believe in the States as well. It is an absolute manipulation to make people opt-out of being targeted before they ever agreed to even BE targeted.

  1. is this.....is this for REAL? [mikegallay.com]

If I had a penny... (1)

roberto0 (242247) | more than 13 years ago | (#134448)

The concept of "postage" is completely ridiculous. How much more time and bandwidth will we need to determine whether or not a mailing is unsolicited? How much time and bandwidth will we need to makee the financial transaction? Won't RSA want a kickback for the encryption? Won't ATT and Microsoft want to get in on the act as well?

Remember, US senators and representatives have the "franking privelege" which means they get to send you unsolicited (paper) mail to anyone in the country for free. Should similar restrictions apply for email?

Egads... (2)

RareHeintz (244414) | more than 13 years ago | (#134451)

First Amendment right to contact me? What pernicious bullshit! IIRC, laws regulating unsolicited advertising to fax machines have withstood First Amendment challenges on the basis that the First Amendment does not give a fax-spammer the right to tie up your phone line and use resources you pay for, like paper and toner.

Similar concerns apply here: Bandwidth, disk space, and my time are all limited resources, and they all cost money. Others don't have the right to co-opt my resources (or those of my ISP or mail host) for their own purposes without my permission.

Interestingly, OpenSecrets.org [opensecrets.org] lists Wyden as having gotten ~$100,000 from the "computer equipment and services industry". Couldn't find any particular evidence beyond that for quid pro quo, though.

OK,
- B
--

Re:pay to spam... (1)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 13 years ago | (#134456)

I guess then you charge all the grocery stores in your area to deliver the weekly ad's to your house. What about that catalog of garden supplies you got last week. Ohh how about we charge the power company to deliver my bill...
The post office does. (That'd be the equivalent of the ISP half of Taco's argument, if you still don't get it.)

Re:Mathorama? (1)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 13 years ago | (#134457)

Try reading that again [emphasis added.]:
But they should be required to pay "postage" for that right. I think spammers should pay a penny per k
to both me and my ISP.
Sounds like it would total 2 per k then. So 5k = 10

Re:Write your Republicans (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 13 years ago | (#134458)

I'm not sure just how sarcastic that comment is to be taken, but partisanship is not the answer. Contact representatives - Republican, Democract, Republicrat, whatever - and voice your opinion. If one of your representatives is a democract and you disagree with him/her, contact him/her. I don't need to hear any new anti-democrat rhetoric spewing from republicans or vice-versa. Just voice your opinion... that's what counts.

---

Re:First Amendment Rights? (1)

daniel_isaacs (249732) | more than 13 years ago | (#134459)

How is it different from getting Car Wash coupons in the mail? Or health club flyers on your windshield? It's an inconvience and it's annoying. But it's not illegal.

Re:It's simple (1)

daniel_isaacs (249732) | more than 13 years ago | (#134460)

Mailing someone is (roughly) the same as emailing them. Companies have to pay to mail something to me, why shouldn't they pay to email something to me? Telemarketers have to pay for all of the many phone lines they use to call me and 1000 other people in a 12 hour period. Spammers only need to borrow one computer for 10 seconds to spam a million people.

While it is true that telemarketers pay for their phones, they don't pay for YOUR phone. You still pay to have a phone at which to be reached. They are using a resource _you_ paid for to bother you. Not too mention they are a much greater annoyance, truly interupting whatever it is that you are doing. It takes longer to get the phone, relaize it's a marketer, and hang up as it does to delete 10 emails. The difference being that you can delete the email at your leisure.

Re:It's simple (1)

daniel_isaacs (249732) | more than 13 years ago | (#134461)

Hardly. Billboards are not email. Email doesn't block my view of the trees. The only right you have with regards to your home (aside from owning it) is that the Gov't can't make you house soldiers in it, and they can't search it without a warrent.

The fact is, if you get DirecTV or pay for cable, you get innundated with commercials in the comfort of your home through a medium that YOU pay for, using electricity that YOU pay for, on a TV that YOU paid for. Sure, it's regulated. But there is still a shitload of it, and you still didn't ask for it. And it wastes more of your time that SPAM ever will.

Re:It's simple (2)

daniel_isaacs (249732) | more than 13 years ago | (#134467)

They aren't painting on your house. They're leaving a note on your windshield. Only you don't have to throw it away, you just hit "delete". Sure, you do it 10 times a day, but it still doesn't compare to painting it on your house.

The Right to send email unsolicited is what's at question here. No self-respecting defender of Free Speech would limit offensive or inconvenience causing speech. Hate spammers all you want (and I do) but they have a right to send you stuff you don't want to get. Deal with it, don't outlaw it.

No right to joy, or to stuff (1)

tdye (308813) | more than 13 years ago | (#134480)

Nobody has a right to be happy, or to own anything. wtf? You have a philosophical right to TRY and be happy... that's about it.

Re:pay to spam... (1)

danlor (309557) | more than 13 years ago | (#134482)

We already do. its called a STAMP fool.

Spammers have rights? (1)

AX.25 (310140) | more than 13 years ago | (#134483)

So does that include the right to use other peoples mail servers to send email for free? Does that include the right to send p0rn to children? Does that include the right to forge their identity? These are the questions the techno-idiots in congress need to talk about.

Re:maybe my elementary school told me wrong . . . (1)

pgpckt (312866) | more than 13 years ago | (#134488)

I don't know the joke about 31 Oct==25 Dec. Wanna tell the /. crowd?

Feed a Senator SPAM (2)

loydcc (325726) | more than 13 years ago | (#134497)

It's probably been said before but just forward all your spam to congress. When congress finds out how much money it will cost them to deal with a nations SPAM they'll come around.

How about... (2)

PYves (449297) | more than 13 years ago | (#134514)

we sign up the senator for some "product updates" and then see how he feels about spam.

-PYves

First Amendment Right?!?!? (2)

Dutchie (450420) | more than 13 years ago | (#134515)

Hah! I don't know what this First Amendment Right of companies having the 'right' to contact you is all about. While this may be part of the first amendment in the US, it CERTAINLY is not a right of companies in all countries in the world, heaven forbids. 'All your phonelines, mailboxes and emailaddresses are belong to us'... riiiiiight. This senator should take his head out of his ass and look across the border, since this nationally assumed 'right' is certainly not appreciated across the borders of the USA and everybody knows that spammers know no borders. What kind of an IDIOTIC 'right' is this anyway?!?!?!
  • Imagination is more important than knowledge.

Re:Spam & Radio Buttons (5)

ryanwright (450832) | more than 13 years ago | (#134521)

It is their legal right to contact you

It is NOT their legal right to send me unsolicited links to pornography and a graphic description of exactly what I'll find via said link, which I get on a daily basis. They have no idea whether I'm an adult or not. What happens when my 4 year old daughter is 10, gets her own email address, and receives this crap? I'll tell you what happens: I'll put the SOBs in jail for solicitation of a minor - assuming I can track them down.

I wonder if someone could get away with suing them for sexual harassment? Hell, it works everywhere else. Tell a female coworker she looks nice in a dress, or tell some dirty joke within earshot of the wrong person, and you could wind up in court. I'd say links to "young teen sluts waiting to suck you dry" constitutes sexual harassment, wouldn't you?

As for other spam: Imagine if companies sent you advertisements via COD, only you're forced to pay. Mail man shows up at the door: "Here you go sir. 20 more ads. Charges are $5, we'll deduct it from your checking account whether you like it or not." Imagine if the palm reader at the 900 number was able to call YOU, and if you answer the phone, you're automatically charged $10. In reality, this is exactly what spammers do to you. You're paying (Internet access charges) for them to spam you. There are laws against this in the real world.

Goes both ways? (1)

Vermy (456774) | more than 13 years ago | (#134535)

So let me get this straight:

They have the "right" to contact me? Okay, so when they spam me does that in term give me the right to contact everyone in that company and tell them I'm not interested?

Or how about, for every spam letter I get, I call myself a "company" and then email it to all the senators that supported this piece of legislation asking them if they are interested. It is my "right" is it not?

Gotta love it when people line their pockets in the name of Freedom.

Re:First Amendment Rights? (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 13 years ago | (#134539)

Dan, that stuff is on THEIR nickel, not mine. Now, granted I am personally on an fixed-per-month cost line, but people do exist who are metered (anyone remember ISDN?). The time and cost for downloading their spam comes on MY nickel.

That's the basic argument, the same sort of argument for the anti-junkfax law.

when spam becomes junk mail (2)

ezpei (461814) | more than 13 years ago | (#134544)

Eventually, as many posters fear and I have long accepted, we will all be paying for sending email as we will for all packets. Probably a very, very small fee for a regular size email, but enough so that the cost of a movie or song download is profitable for both your ISP and the copyright holder. While that won't stop most of us from emailing (consider the difference in scale between an email (20k) and a song (7000k)), it should slow down spammers a little bit...about as much as the price of bulk mailing slows down junk mailers in the world of snail mail.

Either way, it's coming. You WILL be paying for packets. You do it with your phone, your TV and postal mail, so why does everyone continue to hold out hope that the Internet will remain free?

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