Normally I don’t call people schmucks in my blog (or elsewhere). Enjoy the story why I do today.
So last September my contact form was spammed with spam messages containing links to pages on the kernel-panic-wiki, which belongs to the respectable San Diego Computer Society. So I thought I’d be nice and alert them about the abuse on their wiki:
one of my sites are being spammed with the following links:
> ——– Original Message ——–
> Subject: My Site
> Date: 1 Sep 2006 12:18:28 -0000
> From: dfgdfgdf at dhgdgfdf.net (dgdfgd)
> rer <a
> bad credit credit cards</a> (and so on…)
I sent that message to a few addresses I found on their sites, as the abuse-address wasn’t working. I didn’t hear back from them but apparently they fixed their problem.
Some months later I notice with horror that a ‘John H. Robinson, IV’ had published my email on their email list archive (not deep-linking deliberately), after manually (!) putting my address into the subject line, so it’d be displayed in plain text to the world. I had so far managed to keep my address out of the web but now of course it was going to be exposed to the spambots of the planet.
So ~2 weeks ago I sent these folks (actually to any address I could get hold of within the SDCS) an email:
i was nice and alerted you about spam on your domain and you expose my address to spammers!?
please make that page (and any on other mail-archives you forwarded that mail to) disappear asap.
While I didn’t hear back from them I could see on their public mailing list that they were discussing it: “Helge has a gripe AND a point” (not without exposing my email address AGAIN, this time mildly obfuscated, which, as we know, isn’t worth the extra bits it takes). From the thread:
James G. Sack:
Well, I would say *the gripe is valid* in that that our archives have a raw email address in the subject line, and that could be (and maybe has) been harvested by spambots.
Also, should we respond somehow to Helge?
Oh, thank you for deciding not to, obviously. (Apart from Gregory Ruiz later on, of course.) A Neil Schneider then gets his hands dirty in doing some research:
I did a search on Helge’s email in google and we are the only place it shows up. I even checked whois and apparently Austria doesn’t include email addresses in their whois records. So now we can all understand why Helge is so upset.
I’m moved to tears. As the thread goes on some real progress is made in the course of the discussion:
Helge is evidently a man’s name. I was thinking of Helga, I suppose.
To which Greg answers in a rare case of critical self-reflection:
Bah, I made that mistake too. We’re all stupid americans, anyway, so he shouldn’t have expected any better.
While everyone else in the thread seems to agree that it had just not been my lucky day and that I’d have to live with my address now being on the web, Jim G. Sack (who seems to be the genetic opposite of Greg Ruiz) concludes:
I’m thinking that if I objected to my address accidentally getting into a subject line, and complained about getting a lot of spam because of it, that my gripe _might_ be taken a little more seriously than Helge’s.
Anyone will recognize that we cannot retract, repair, or expunge anything outside of our little piece of the internet, but should we not at least evaluate how much effort it is to correct these 20 or so messages in our archive database?
It’s not a really big thing .. sorry if this post sounds alarmist .. but is seems to me we _should_ look into it a bit more.
At this point, actually today, I discover the thread and send them a second email:
do you publish all personal correspondence on the web..??
you now have one more page to delete: http://firstname.lastname@example.org/msg01273.html
note the difference between how your and my address are displayed?
yours: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
mine: <hf =A= he1ge.at> [L changed to 1 by me]
To which I finally get a reply – the first and only email from the group, namely from sa(i)d Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade (emphasis by me):
Sorry about your address leaking through. That was an accident, and yes. Get over it, and quit being such a retard about it. What are you going to do next, demand that we remove it from Google’s search results and cache?
And, thanks to my spam filtering software, I won’t ever have to see another email from you again.
Well, maybe no more emails. But every time somebody googles your name this page will show up.
Greetings from the Austrian retard.