Thursday, December 02, 2004

Spammers: redeem or perish!

Lycos Europe released a screensaver which when installed on your computer, bombard a list of known spammer's servers with data to overload them.

Apparently, Lycos' tactics are dividing the web community, with many saying that it sets a dangerous precedent and could incite vigilantism. Others question the legality of the process as well.

Posting on a forum:

"All the significant spammers are in the USA. The US government passed the "You CAN spam" `law' a year ago, and has done absolutely nothing useful about it in all that time. The internet parasite spammers have destroyed e-mail as an efficient means of communication, and anything which might help to reverse this state of affairs can only be good. Are we internet users supposed to sit back and let the spammers rule the internet without even a whimper?"

Steve Linford, director of non-profit anti-spam organisation Spamhaus:

"It's irresponsible of Lycos to put its name to it because it lends legitimacy to [DDoS] attacks," "You can't break into a thief's house just because he breaks into yours. We don't support this or recommend this practice. Directing traffic is part of the degradation of the Internet we are trying to stop."

In the war against spam, I don't know if Lycos’ tactics are effective, ethical or even legal. But I am sure it must feel good.


Anonymous said...

so, what's your point of view on this Joel?

Joël Céré said...

Lycos targets well-known spammers, who have so far wiggled their way out of a weak US legal system. It will certainly make spammers' life more difficult, and act as a deterrent. It is odd that such a bold stance comes from a company like Lycos but if it can lower the incidence of spam, it may rally Internet users into taking a more proactive role in managing the web. I would call that taking responsibility for the environment and the community you are living in.