Aardvark Daily
Another commercial email attack
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Yet another barrage of unsolicited commercial email from a local source has Net users and service providers crying out for more stringent and clearly spelt out contract terms between ISPs and their customers.

At least one ISP, Voyager, has advised Aardvark that it is investing time and effort in updating its own terms of service contract to better inform users as to their obligations, and to reduce the potential for Net abuse.

While most ISPs include a statement that customers must not use their Internet access to annoy others or send unsolicited commercial email, such terms are often hidden away in the small print and in the "newbie's" rush to stretch their Net-legs, it seems such warnings are occasionally overlooked.

In the latest attack, an Xtra customer sent out an item of unsolicited email of some 190KB in size to a large number of NZ Net users. Although the message itself was not large, the sender appeared to include many of the target addresses in the To: header-field rather than the BCC: field, with the result that each recipient also received a full copy of the names of all other recipients.

As there is no existing legislation which actually covers the matter of unsolicited commercial email broadcasting, Alan Brown has advised that a copy of the email in question is being forwarded to the Privacy Commissioner. According to Brown, The commission has stated that although email addresses themselves aren't considered private, email with lists of names attached may be a breach of the act.

Brown has also firewalled Xtra's mailservers until he receives notification that the spammer and his deeds have been dealt with by Xtra's system administration.

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