The disclaimers spammers add to their missives are sometimes bizarre, ranging from excuses to nonsensical “word salad” to, in this example found in today’s spamtrap haul, legal threats.

WARNING: ANYONE REPORTING ALLEGED SPAM TO ANY PERSON OR PERSONS, WITH OUT PHYSICAL PROOF OF SUCH A CLAIM IS GUILTY OF BOTH FRAUD & A CIVIL CRIME AND WILL BE PURSUED AND PROSECUTED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW. FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE READ:
http://www.ncsl.org/programs/lis/legislation/spamlaws02.htm

Physical proof? Of something which exists entirely in the virtual realm of bits and bytes? Do you have to submit your hard drive as evidence, or is a paper print-out sufficient?

And while we’re at it, spam is generally defined as unsolicited bulk mail (UBE) or unsolicited commercial mail (UCE). The key element here is unsolicited. How can you provide physical proof that you didn’t request it? How can you provide any proof that you didn’t request it? The burden of proof is on the sender to demonstrate that you did request it. If they can present your subscription request, they’re off the hook. If they can’t, well, no one can prove anything.

Oh, and the link provided? It’s a list of spam laws by US state, and it’s completely irrelevant to the threat.

I believe the proper term for this is “Cartooney.”

Not surprisingly, this disclaimer is neither unique or new. A Google search for “alleged spam” and “physical proof” turns up 77 hits, including commentary on SpamCop from October 2003.

One thought on “Physical proof of spam?

  1. Wow. Next they’ll be saying that “reporting this message as spam will cause GoodTimes and SoBig to activate on your local drive.”

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