March 19, 2001-- Newsletter #122

By Joe Burns

Goodies to Go (tm)
March 19, 2001--Newsletter #122

This newsletter is part of the network.

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Greetings, Weekend Silicon Warriors,

Did you hear...

As Cisco Systems lays-off five percent of its workforce, AOL/Time Warner is wondering what downturn everyone's talking about. The multimedia giant has just signed some big advertisers and reported that subscriptions are up over 28 million. Gosh.

Did you know that if a share price drops below a certain point for a certain amount of time, it could simply be dropped from the charts? In fact, over 900 such droppings have occurred. Once the stock is under a buck for 30 days, the head goes to the chopping block. The latest to fight the dropping scare is The IPO has asked the NASDAQ to review the decision. The review should start inside of 45 days.

Two hackers, "darkman" and "xor37h" have found a big hole in older IBM e-commerce server software. Furthermore the hackers have made their discovery public. With the right tools and the right Web addresses, persons can exploit the hole and do just about anything they want while in the server.

Have you heard of the "Naked Wife" virus? Guess where experts think it started...the U.S. Military. Oh man, will that person be cleaning garbage cans for a long while once found out.

Now onto today's topic...

I opened a piece of Spam mail this morning and got this:

Under Bill s.1618 Title III passed by the 105th U.S. Congress this mail cannot be considered Spam as long as we include contact information and removal instructions for removing you from our mailing list. To be removed from our mailing list, reply with REMOVE in the subject heading and your email address in the body, and include complete address and/or domain to be removed.

Have you received an email with one of these statements yet?

Let me see if I can translate it for you.

We are going to send you a ton of email whether you like it or not. Get off our backs. If you don't like it, get yourself off our lists.

Does that sound about right?

Well then! I guess I'd better read it. The information contained herein must be of some importance since the information has the A-OK under federal law.

Wait. Federal law?

If I remember my Saturday morning School House Rock episode correctly, for something to become a law, it has to be passed by both the House AND the Senate plus a really important person has to sign it.

It must be a law then, right? The Spammers are using it. They wouldn't lie, would they?

It would seem that enough time has passed for the president to sign the bill into law. It's been two years. We're in the 107th Congress now. I've never heard of a law allowing people to Spam me.

Hey - wait a minute. Maybe there never was a Bill S1618. I mean, it's not a law.


There was a bill S1618 back in 1998. It passed by a 99-0 voice vote. It's called the "Anti-Slamming Amendments Act". There was even a House of Representatives equal to it, HR3888. It also passed.

The Senate version of the bill stated that S1618 was, "To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to improve the protection of consumers against `slamming' by telecommunications carriers, and for other purposes."

Hey! Wait a minute.


Is the Congress a bunch of really poor me?

I thought this was a bill about Spamming.

Well, it is. It's just not the main push of the bill. You don't get to "Spamming" until title three. It's right in there between "Switchless Resellers" and "Miscellaneous Provisions". The Spamming section is an amendment to the amendment. There were actually four versions of bill S1618. The Spamming section didn't show up until the third incarnation.

But still, it was passed. It was passed containing the Spamming amendment so it's on the books so we all have to receive the Spam emails sent to us by people we don't even know as long as the Spammers follow S1618 Title III outlined below:




(1) IN GENERAL- A person who transmits an unsolicited commercial electronic mail message shall cause to appear in each such electronic mail message the information specified in paragraph (2).
(2) COVERED INFORMATION- The following information shall appear at the beginning of the body of an unsolicited commercial electronic mail message under paragraph (1):
     (A) The name, physical address, electronic mail address, and telephone number of the person who initiates transmission of the message.
     (B) The name, physical address, electronic mail address, and telephone number of the person who created the content of the message, if different from the information under subparagraph (A).
     (C) A statement that further transmissions of unsolicited commercial electronic mail to the recipient by the person who initiates transmission of the message may be stopped at no cost to the recipient by sending a reply to the originating electronic mail address with the word `remove' in the subject line.
     (b) ROUTING INFORMATION- All Internet routing information contained within or accompanying an electronic mail message described in subsection (a) must be accurate, valid according to the prevailing standards for Internet protocols, and accurately reflect message routing.
(c) EFFECTIVE DATE- The requirements in this section shall take effect 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act.


In other words, include the paragraph that started off this newsletter and offer a viable method to getting your name off of the Spammer's list. Do that, and you can Spam away because technically what you're sending cannot be considered Spam.

This sounds too bad to be true.

Great! Just great! Now I have to allow a ton of Spam to come flying through my front door and I have to read it all because the Spammers have the power of the U.S. Government behind them. It just cheeses me off. I

Wait. What's this?

S1618 died in committee?

That means that it's null and void? It's dead? It doesn't have any power?

Oh. The Spammer never bothered to tell me that.

Never mind.

I'll just go delete that piece of mail.


(The death of S1618 in committee: Source:


That's that. Thanks for reading.

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

And Remember: The "Bill" in the School House Rock cartoon was voiced by Jack Sheldon. The music and lyrics were by Dave Frishberg

He signed you Bill. You're a Law!

Oh Yeah!

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