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US Web Firm Described As "Phantom Registrar" Haven 161

Posted by timothy
from the take-it-for-what-you-will dept.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Martin Heller directs attention to ongoing investigations of more than 40 phantom registrars linked to The Directi Group, including PDR, one of the 10 worst offenders on the Net. According to KnujOn, an additional 19,000 domains advertised through spam have been hiding their ownership behind PrivacyProtect.org, which The Washington Post has outed as Directi-owned. Directi claims it suspends illicit domains, but KnujOn provides documentation suggesting that Directi reports the registrars suspended and then reinstates them at another IP address. 'There has been some outcry about all this from the ICANN At-Large Committee, but as of this writing there has been no response from ICANN's Tim Cole,' Heller writers. 'Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that LogicBoxes, a Directi-owned registrar, has sponsored ICANN meetings in L.A. and Delhi.' Directi has since issued an official response to the allegations."
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US Web Firm Described As "Phantom Registrar" Haven

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  • by imyy4u3 (1290108) on Friday September 05, 2008 @07:49AM (#24886317)
    Quite simply, even if they shut Directi down, another company will take over the job of hiding the spammers for one simple reason: money. The spammers can afford to pay a company to hide them because they are making bank. Amazingly, about 1% of all spam emails actually result in a sale! So if you send out 1,000,000 emails, you can expect 10,000 sales! If people would just stop buying shit from spam emails, this wouldn't be a problem.

    Now on the other hand, why do we even bother to try to pass spamming laws? Talk about another waste of time and money. If we pass a law saying all spam email must contain the words "unsolicited email" in the subject line, everyone will set their servers to block such email and therefore the spammers will certainly not put that in the subject line. So now we have to spend even more money to try and track the spammers down, which in essence we can't do because they pay companies like Directi money to hide their domains, IPs, etc.

    Bottom line, this is an endless loop, and if anyone has any REAL suggestions on how to get rid of spammers, or how to force companies to stop hiding them and their domains, I'd love to hear it.
    • by thermian (1267986) on Friday September 05, 2008 @07:54AM (#24886343)

      If people would just stop buying shit from spam emails, this wouldn't be a problem.

      And if people stopped eating burgers, no-one would be fat. Alas you cannot stop large numbers of people doing things just because you think they're being stupid, the world doesn't work like that.

      • If people would just stop buying shit from spam emails, this wouldn't be a problem.

        And if people stopped eating burgers, no-one would be fat. Alas you cannot stop large numbers of people doing things just because you think they're being stupid, the world doesn't work like that.

        'people stop buying from spam emails==no more spam' is not the same as 'people stop eating burgers==no more fat people'.

        It's more like 'people stop eating burgers==burger joints go out of business'.

        You are an idiot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Bottom line, this is an endless loop, and if anyone has any REAL suggestions on how to get rid of spammers, or how to force companies to stop hiding them and their domains, I'd love to hear it.

      Well, if you can create anti-spam laws, why not create a law prohiting credit card companies to make payments on products / companies which have used spam to addvertise their products or services. Thus there would not be any money for
      spamming.

      • by thbigr (514105) <thebigr314.gmail@com> on Friday September 05, 2008 @08:05AM (#24886411) Journal

        I like spam. If you are not going to eat yours can I have it?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by riggah (957124)

        why not create a law prohiting credit card companies to make payments on products / companies which have used spam to addvertise their products or services.

        How exactly would that work? We're talking about something that crosses international borders; who enforces the law? How would the CC companies know when spam generated the income? When does it cross the line and, say, make income from junk snail-mail illegal to make or receive payment?

        • How exactly would that work? We're talking about something that crosses international borders; who enforces the law? How would the CC companies know when spam generated the income? When does it cross the line and, say, make income from junk snail-mail illegal to make or receive payment?

          Visa and Master Card are pretty much everywhere. Get them to setup a few 'spam traps' and start tracking down these spam companies. The next step is to disable any cards the company has, followed by refusing to authorize payments to those companies from any customer. When the money dries up, the spammers will move on to the next big money-making scheme.

          I'm guessing all the spammers were originally 'miracle-cure' salesmen like that dude from Pete's Dragon. When everyone caught on to his sham, he moved

        • by rtechie (244489) *

          We're talking about something that crosses international borders; who enforces the law?

          Extradition to the countries willing to enforce the law. If the nation refuses extradition, you send in kidnappers to simply grab or kill them. This is exactly what we do with drug dealers and arms dealers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by russotto (537200)

        Well, if you can create anti-spam laws, why not create a law prohiting credit card companies to make payments on products / companies which have used spam to addvertise their products or services.

        There are any number of problems with this (where's that standard form), but susceptibility to joe jobs is probably #1. The day after this law passed, the Microsoft dirty tricks division would spam for Apple, Coke and Pepsi would spam for each other, and a good number of Linux fans would spam for Microsoft.

        • ...a good number of Linux fans would spam for Microsoft.

          I can foresee something much, much worse. Imagine a bunch of One True Distro Linux fanbois (We all know a few, don't we?) spamming in the name of some other, hated distro. Gentoo fanatics sending out Slackware spam, Ubuntu users spamming in the name of Fedora, Damned Small Linux lovers sending out Puppy Linux spam. Oh the horror! Oh the humanity! Oh tempora, oh more! Oh, the spam-filled inboxes!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by billcopc (196330)

        You mean like how you can be flagged as a terrorist organization if you sold meat that went into a suicide bomber's sandwich ?

        The legal and privacy ramifications of what you're suggesting are very good reasons NOT to follow that path. I hate spammers as much as the next guy, but I'm cynical enough to know that more legislation is not going to solve the problem.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thbigr (514105)

      I agree, you prohibition never works. Laws against speeding don't work.

      Why murder has been illegal for thousands of years, and it still continues.

      What are we going to do??

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Let's try the 2-for-1 solution; legalize the murder of spammers!

    • by Tuoqui (1091447)

      I do... execute them [slashdot.org].

      • Yes because everyone knows that overreacting with deadly force to a relatively minor crime is ALWAYS the solution. Now would everyone please join my campaign to have jaywalkers drawn and quartered?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Bottom line, this is an endless loop, and if anyone has any REAL suggestions on how to get rid of spammers, or how to force companies to stop hiding them and their domains, I'd love to hear it.

      1. Make all advertisement, solicitation, marketing, etc , etc via email illegal. No exceptions.
      2. Institute a mass anti-spam campaign across the media, educating people about what to expect and what to do.
      3. Prosecute spammers.
      4. Prosecute people who buy from spammers.

      Personally, I think step 4 is the option that will

      • by Angostura (703910) on Friday September 05, 2008 @08:51AM (#24886857)

        Someone has modded you insightful, but just have a look at point 1:

        Make all advertisement, solicitation, marketing, etc , etc via email illegal. No exceptions.

        My 2 year old daughter is having a birthday party. Can I tell people about it and mention what particularly cheap gifts she might like?

        Preposterous - Of course I can - you didn't mean that.

        OK. How about her pre-school who is holding a Christmas fair, entry 50p. Can I mail the parents of the children? The local newspapers?

        Of course - you didn't mean that.

        What about if I forward a Red-cross chain main asking for donations following the destruction of Hurricane Hannah. Of course, that's OK.

        The only way this might get rid of spammers, is by convincing them that there is more money to be made in the law - arguing about the definition of solicitation, marketing and advertisement.

        • Your first 3 propositions are not unsolicited; in each situation, the group is well defined. The last is completely unsolicited, it doesn't really matter if their end is touchy-feely, they are still engaging in spam.
        • by rtechie (244489) *

          My 2 year old daughter is having a birthday party.

          You really don't know how the law works do you?

          I'll give you a hint: ALL law enforcement is selective.

      • Bad credit.

        Simply give them a sentence of a 5 year bad credit report. No more loans, no more credit-cards etc etc.

        If you can't handle money responsibly, you get a warning period in which you can't spend any money easily.

        It keeps the jails for real criminals, protects people from themselves while still being a massive deterent.

        • by BronsCon (927697)

          So they go from spam to identity fraud, which they're probably already doing with all the personal information they gather while billing for their wares. That really won't work.

          Where's that "Your spam solution won't work" form?

        • Excellent suggestion! Perhaps this is happening anyway to people who allow themselves to be easily defrauded, but I would certainly be in favor of extending it to "spam gourmets". I think something like this is both fair and practical, and indeed feasible.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by corbettw (214229)

        Yes, the War on Drugs has worked tremendously well, let's try the same approach with spam. What could possibly go wrong?

      • # 4 has worked wonderfully on the War on Drugs (or should I say the War On Drugs That Huge Pharmaceuticals Don't Profit From). All we had to do was let out all the violent criminals to make room for the casual drug users. I say let the rapists back out into the streets and lock up the people who buy things from spammers!!
      • You have proposed a [blah blah blah checklist here...]

        1. - Sorry, there's plenty of legitimate email advertising, solicitation, and marketing - as long as the recipient has actually asked for it. And much of the spam that I get is already illegal, such as bank-account phishing and Nigerian scams.

        2. - Suckers are born every minute, and so are new scams.

        3. - It's too easy for spammers to hide, and too hard to write laws that only nail spammers and not legitimate emailers, and governments don't have jurisdi

    • by Armakuni (1091299)
      That one percent of all spam emails should result in a sale seems too high an estimate. I have usually seen estimates between 0,01 and 0,5 percent, which is still pretty high.

      Most legit websites selling something are hard pressed to get past the 3 percent mark, and that is with an audience that's usually interested in the goods offered, so-called targeted traffic.
    • by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Friday September 05, 2008 @09:07AM (#24887015) Journal

      If people would just stop buying shit from spam emails, this wouldn't be a problem.

      You're right. Spamming is easy and profitable. If you take away the easy, then it will deter some spammers, but will just encourage others to find an easier route. Spammers treat legislation like damage and route around it...

      The consumers, on the other hand, are a finite resource. There's only so many of them (though it doesn't seem it). They buy stuff from spammers out of ignorance, greed, lack of fear of getting scammed/harmed, or by just being a chump.

      But they wouldn't if there was enough compelling education out there to show that purchasing spammed products is harmful to your health. Think about any food recall in recent times, from e. coli tomatoes to Listeriosis contaminated deli-meats. The harm-to-humans is often very, very low-- a dozen or two at the most-- but the public reaction against the product is immediate and massive. DON'T EAT THAT MEAT! People will wrap themselves in unjustly paranoid levels of caution over what amounts to a statistically tiny chance of something happening to them.

      So the trick to stopping spam is to get rid of the customers. And the trick to getting rid of the customers is to, well, get rid of them.

      Legislation doesn't work because if you get rid of one spammer, ten more pop up. But it is possible to track down a spammer. Pick a few good-sized spammers. Hire a mercenary company to track them down, kill them (painfully or not, depending on your budget), and seize their customer list. Then mail out to every customer a free sample of V!@GREA. Except instead of the blue pill, you ship out blue-colored cyanide pills. Bam, hundreds to thousands of customers dead in an instant. Then you leak to the media that they were all customers of spam. Let the media hype it up in the way they do best, and within a day you'll have headlines everywhere that SPAMMERS ARE KILLING YOU AND YOUR FAMILY! Once the lowest common denominator gets wind that the magic blue pill from the internets will KILL THEM, they'll stop being customers.

      No customers = no profit = no spam (or at least significantly reduced levels). You can then clean up the spam-stragglers with law enforcement and mercenary companies, as there won't be ten people waiting to pop up to replace them.

    • by mrops (927562)

      ... if anyone has any REAL suggestions on how to get rid of spammers, or how to force companies to stop hiding them and their domains, I'd love to hear it.

      Thats easy
      Ready... Aim... fire...

    • by erroneus (253617)

      It is not a waste to make anti-spam laws. Without laws you cannot put them in jail. Frankly, the extent that spammer go through to push their crap, they are already in violation of various other laws related to intrusion and security evasion. (Actually, there may not be a law related to willfully evading security measures, but there should be... it would be the electronic equivalent to breaking and entering.) In any case, the more charges that can be racked up against perpetrators the better.

      And frankly

    • by BronsCon (927697)

      1) Make buying from or replying to spam illegal.

      2) Send government-sponsored spam for a couple years, to catch those who buy the shit.

      3) ...

      4) Prof...uh... No more profit for spammers!

    • by corbettw (214229)

      If only there were a form that might demonstrate the futility of nearly any anti-spam device or measure....

    • by Jimmy_B (129296)

      Amazingly, about 1% of all spam emails actually result in a sale! So if you send out 1,000,000 emails, you can expect 10,000 sales! If people would just stop buying shit from spam emails, this wouldn't be a problem.

      Who told you that, a spammer? 1% is about the percentage of spam emails that make it through filters and into someone's inbox. Given the enormous quantity and consistently low quality of spam, I'm not convinced it's producing any sales at all. You see, spammers don't have to make sales to make mo

    • Really, 1% of SPAM results in a sale? Because I have had literally thousands of SPAM ads sent to me, and so far I have resisted purchasing even 1 single product from them. But according to you, I should be buying one product for every 100 emails offers I receive. But I may be an exception because my p3n1s isn't small, and I don't need to buy any prescription drugs online....
    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      1% sounds unusually high to me. When companies do direct marketing with new and sale items they dont usually hit 1%.

      When I examine our spam here at work I see a lot what looks like spam but has download links to trojans or links to webpages full of client-side exploits. The difference between spammers and hackers seems to have disappeared.

  • It could end if we (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AP31R0N (723649) on Friday September 05, 2008 @08:20AM (#24886503)

    Make sending unsolicited mail slightly criminal. Say, one minute in prison per recipient. 1M spams would be 695 days in jail.

    Spam and viruses cost people money that they could have spent elsewhere. When a company buys a spam filter and hires people to run it, that's money that could have been profit or could have been spent on something useful to the company. Maybe that budget could go to making the health insurance a bit cheaper. Or give the receptionists a raise. Put a foosball table in the break room. 1K$/year is 1K$/year too much to spend on something you never wanted. Spammers are making people/companies/agencies throw away time and money. The only way to not get spam is to not have an address.

    Hell, make it the penalty the sum of the amount other peoples time they wasted, 1 second per recipient. Even that would get people to think twice.

    Alas, the spam from outside the US and extradition friendly countries would not be unabated, but it would be something.

    Maybe such a law would be wrong/unethical, but it would give us some kind of satisfaction. i don't know, i'm speaking mostly out of frustration here. When i was a sys admin dealing with spam was a frustrating waste of my time and the time of my users.

    Any law grokkers on hand to tell us what laws and penalties are in place?

  • by McDutchie (151611) on Friday September 05, 2008 @08:30AM (#24886611) Homepage

    On a related note, Spamhaus recently issued this statement [spamhaus.org] about Atrivo/Intercage, US-based persistent criminal spammer hosts. In the news.admin.net-abuse.email newsgroup, Steve Linford of Spamhaus indicated they made this statement because they are highly frustrated [google.com] with law enforcement's inaction.

  • by GaryOlson (737642) <slashdotNO@SPAMgaryolson.org> on Friday September 05, 2008 @08:42AM (#24886753) Journal
    Al Capone was prosecuted and imprisoned because he failed to pay his taxes. Use the same tactic on spammers. Subpoena the customer list of these registrars under conspiracy to avoid taxation. Then audit the taxes of all the domain owners.

    These types of registrars and domain owners will no longer have a viable business if the expense of avoiding the government is too high. This would also be a useful method of giving lawyers something to do and stop bothering us normal people (with NewYorkCountryLawyer as an exception of course).
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Inominate (412637)

      Subpoena the customer list of these registrars under conspiracy to avoid taxation. Then audit the taxes of all the domain owners.

      This, along with the lists going into public records could kill off the penis pill spam completely, even if nobody got prosecuted.

      • by pbhj (607776)

        "Mr V.I. Agra" is going to get a lot of subpoena's.

        Seriously, how many of those domains have bona fide registration details? You're going to need to track international bank transfers from the Soviet Block (Eastern Europe), Nigeria, etc..

    • by russotto (537200)

      Al Capone was prosecuted and imprisoned because he failed to pay his taxes. Use the same tactic on spammers. Subpoena the customer list of these registrars under conspiracy to avoid taxation. Then audit the taxes of all the domain owners.

      Well, there are a few issues here. First of all, you need a bit of evidence to get such a subpoena. Second, it's quite possible the spammers themselves are out of US jurisdiction. Third, it's also possible (though not likely) they are paying taxes.

    • Except for the fact that unless you have a brick and mortar location in a state as well, internet sales do not need to charge state taxes on purchases.
    • Subpoena the customer list of these registrars under conspiracy to avoid taxation.

      Good idea, wrong terminology. "Tax avoidance" is using deductions, tax shelters and so on to lower the amount of tax you're liable for. What you're thinking of is "tax evasion." Back in the 1920s (I think) there was a Supreme Court ruling that "tax avoidance is not tax evasion." That's right, they actually tried to prosecute somebody for using legal means to lower his taxes and it took SCOTUS to say "NO" and make it sti

  • by Seriph (466197) on Friday September 05, 2008 @08:49AM (#24886827)

    I've been doing some digging into this over the last few months and noticed an awful lot of spamvertized sites seem to have their domains registered with such privacy protecting registrars.

    I've been thinking about how to use the fact that a domain is registered with such a registrar as part of a spam scoring metric and whether anyone else has already done work on this? Just on the mail passing through my systems, I'm seeing a very strong correlation between a mail being spam and it referring to a domain registered with such a registrar, with the domain nameservers being on dynamic IP space, and with the DNS for the spam domain having a very low TTL value set.

    It's also interesting to track back the nameservers for any domains referred to in the NS records of the spam domain. By doing so I can find fairly large networks of interrelated spam domains and spam websites, the addresses of many of which already appear on the likes of the Spamcop and Spamhaus SBL/XBL lists or appear there shortly afterwards.

    The point is, is it practical to use this sort of information against spammers and is anyone already doing it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I have actually built a similar system to that a year or so back, and ran it on our mail servers. Obviously, because it was just for testing, it only tagged spam and didn't block anything, and only for preselected accounts.

      If I say so myself, it worked extraordinarily well. It took a lot of tweaking, but it's hit-rate was nearly perfect, if you of course ignore the spam from legitimate domains (which would subsequently usually be picked up and tagged by the SPF filter). False positives were virtually non-ex

    • by dodobh (65811)

      Yes, and yes. Nameservers in dynamic IP space is definitely fast-flux territory.

    • the DNS for the spam domain having a very low TTL value set.

      That, in and of itself shouldn't be enough. It might be that the domain's hosted from the domain owner's private box, on Dynamic IP. Although I don't do that, I do use EveryDNS.net [everydns.net] to give my home machine a routable name on my domain for personal use. They use a TTL of one hour, and recommend that you update your IP about every two hours to keep it current. Probably, using registration at one of those "privacy protecting registrars" is more o

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Apparently, Bhavin Turakhia Founder, CEO & Chairman of Directi "...also serves as a technical advisor to the local CyberCrime Investigation Cell" it says on the Directi website.

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! Sometimes you can't beat real life for a great laugh.

    Hold on, it also says,"Directi operates various online web properties and web services. To report any form of abuse activity (spam, phishing, adware etc) with respect to any Directi service simply send an email to abuse [at] directi [dot] com"

    Argh, ha ha, oh

  • Phantom Corporations (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ngarrang (1023425) on Friday September 05, 2008 @09:14AM (#24887073) Journal

    In the Directi response, "# The report claims that âoe48 ICANN-accredited Registrars (affiliated with Directi) ⦠do not seem to exist and are phantom.â
    This statement is factually incorrect, and was completely unverified by Knujon. Knujon did not even bother to contact ICANN in this regards to get the right facts. The truth of the matter is that all 48 companies which belong to Directi and its clients, are in existence and are duly incorporated and validly existing under law."

    IANAL, but I don't think phantom corporations are illegal in the USA. There seems to be plenty of corporations that exist only as a name on a piece of paper. So, yes, given this, they are right in saying that they validly exist. That does not address the fact that the companies may in fact be phantoms and appear to be a rather inappropriate way of doing business.

  • DirectI's reply (Score:2, Informative)

    by pvera (250260)

    Disclaimer: DirectI is the wholesaler for my micro registrar company, http://gopedro.net/ [gopedro.net] , which I have discussed here in Slashdot in the past.

    Yesterday DirectI issued a rebuttal to these accusations:

    http://blog.resellerclub.com/2008/09/04/our-official-response-to-malicious-reports-which-falsely-implicate-the-directi-group/ [resellerclub.com]

    The privacy protection for WHOIS is a necessary evil. I am tired of getting letters from the "Domain Registry of America" telling me that I need to renew my domains, usually at triple of

    • The privacy protection for WHOIS is a necessary evil. I am tired of getting letters from the "Domain Registry of America" telling me that I need to renew my domains, usually at triple of what I actually charge my own customers. With privacy protection in place, this kind of scam dies.

      Oh cry me a river. I get those letters once a year and just toss 'em. Big F^'in deal. That's really the best argument you can muster?

      • by pvera (250260)

        I get them for my own domains, for domains I handle for granny types that get scared at the slightest mention of anything technical, then I have to hear the complaints from my paranoid customers wondering how is it possible for some third party to find their mailing address.

        Then on top of that, the ones that complain that I am the one scamming them, trying to up their renewal pricing.

        By the way, we also get sales calls, and catalogs addressed to "domain holder, whatever.com" all the time.

        It *is* a pain in t

  • Isn't that the registrar for Google hosted websites?
  • goes to show EVEN ICANN can be bought

  • We have no right of privacy when registering a domain. Big brother wants to know all.

    This reminds me of the Mexican immigration debate. Rather than to crack down on the companies employing the immigrants, the police arrest individual workers who came here to work. The companies creating the incentive for workers to come to the US generally get off scott-free.

    In this case, it's rather than cracking down on the spammers and the companies benefiting from the spam -- and an increasing amount of my spam is "main

    • It seems to me that public registry is no different than when you want to use a business name, you're supposed to publish a DBA in the local paper (in California anyway, if not the entire US). If you're representing yourself on the web, it's important to be able to figure out just who you are. It's a little different than whistle-blower anonymity, I think we ought to have things like web-browsing anonymity (what sites we visit are nobodies business but our own, not our ISPs, the governments, the RIAAs, et
  • by phorm (591458) on Friday September 05, 2008 @10:24AM (#24887931) Journal

    I was getting a lot of spam which had links redirecting to this scam [windows-scanner2009.com] site. It was one of those sites that does a fake virus scan and claims you're infected so they can sell you a bogus product (funny how it was scanning windows-related files on my Linux system, eh).

    I sent the offending URL to privacyprotect and was surprised when they actually responded by pulling the spammer's protection, then forwarding the info to his ISP and having the domain itself pulled (the nameserver has been changed to "ns1.suspended-domain.com" and DNS no longer resolves).

    • by intnsred (199771)

      Shhh!

      phorm, that doesn't go along with the story that's being created.

      How are we supposed to believe in newspeak [wikipedia.org] if people like you are contradicting it?!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dodobh (65811)

      I currently work at Directi [1]. Official abuse policy when I don't get involved is to suspend the domain.

      Abuse policy when I get involved is to suspend the customer (that's a few hundred domains for this sort of crap, or a few months ago, a few thousand. Unhappily, I don't have enough political clout yet to suspend large customers).

      [1] Dealing with abuse issues is not part of the job description. That's a volunteer activity.

    • by janrinok (846318)

      So let me get this right. You gave a link to a scam which no longer resolves under DNS? So what good is the link?

      • by phorm (591458)

        a) You can visit the link and - seeing that it's no longer valid - follow that in this case they did do proper diligence in killing the spam-domain.

        b) You can see look up that domain name, and see the whois

        c) If the domain is ever resurrected somehow through a different registrar, I'd like to see it attached to the word "scam" in most search engines

    • by cras (91254)

      I visited Directi a couple of months ago when they wanted to see me and begin sponsoring my open source IMAP server [dovecot.org]. The company certainly didn't feel like a sleazy spam harboring company, so I find these accusations a bit hard to belive. The summary could have also made it a lot clearer that Directi is saying these are all lies instead of just a small "BTW here's their reply" link.

  • PrivacyProtect.org

    This is simply an illustration — the privacy we fight for for ourselves is also very handy for crooks. Be they the "traditional" criminals, whose conviction is thrown out, because the cops did not jump through all of the hoops authorizing their surveillance and other privacy-busting aspects of investigation... Or be they spammers, whose identities are hidden by the same means, intended (or purporting) to keep private identities of honest domain owners.

    So, if a terrorist [wikipedia.org] can escap

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      Did Bill Ayers ever try to kill anyone? I thought all he did was help blow up a statue? I don't think you can be labeled a terrorist for property damage. Forgive my ignorance if he did more than that.

      • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Friday September 05, 2008 @12:31PM (#24889615) Homepage

        Did Bill Ayers ever try to kill anyone? I thought all he did was help blow up a statue?

        WordNet [princeton.edu] defines "terrorism" as (emphasis mine::

        The noun terrorism has 1 sense (no senses from tagged texts) 1. terrorism, act of terrorism, terrorist act -- (the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear)

        Belonging to a terrorist organization [wikipedia.org] makes one a terrorist too, even if one is not (unlike Ayers) directly involved in any actual terrorism — take Hassan Nasrallah [wikipedia.org], for example.

        Although per the definition above, simply threatening violence to attain certain goals is terrorism, Ayers' organization were planning to blow up an Army NCO club next. Fortunately for most concerned, they blew themselves up instead — the organization changed strategy to try to avoid casualties after this incident... But were also armed robberies [democracynow.org] (with fatalities) — a revolution always needs cash... (Interestingly, Joseph Stalin's first job in the Communist Party was to "rob the robbers" — what do the owners of "Democracy Now!" have in store for us?).

        Just take Ayers' own words, spoken not during an interrogation, and not decades ago, but to the media this year [nytimes.com]: "I don't regret setting bombs, I feel we didn't do enough."

        Whether he actually killed anyone is not relevant to his being a terrorist — only to an additional charge of murder, which, according to his "memoir" he may also have committed, but nobody knows for sure: "''Is this, then, the truth?,'' he writes. ''Not exactly. Although it feels entirely honest to me.''"

        But his organization's ideology, as summarized by him back then was: "Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents, that's where it's really at."

        Back to my original point — although the scumbag's guilt is undeniable (and, indeed, not denied), he avoided any punishment, because of government misconduct in collecting evidence against them...

        So, yes, Ayers was a member of a terrorist and otherwise criminal organization, and a terrorist himself — committed to this day to terrorism...

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          I guess I'm just not sold on the concept of a group that would take pains to ensure no casualties being classified as "terrorist". Douchebags, certainly. And of course their activities were still dangerous and COULD have killed someone - but I certainly can't say I would be "terrorized" by such people. Angry at, sure, but not terrorized.

          Also, to be fair, an army target could be viewed as a legitimate target. For instance, I think that in the 9/11 attacks the WTC was solidly terrorism, but the Pentagon attac

          • by mi (197448)

            I guess I'm just not sold on the concept of a group that would take pains to ensure no casualties being classified as "terrorist".

            It certainly may be, because it has a threat of violence in it, i.e.: next time, it may be you. But the group began to struggle to avoid hurting people (although, not property) only later, after some of their own got blown up, and they realized the public's hostility towards such methods. Before that, "kill the rich people" was the first part of the (already quoted) slogan.

            Also,

            • by MightyYar (622222)

              No, you're right, the man's a criminal. Didn't mean to turn the discussion into a pedantic holy war :)

            • by rtechie (244489) *

              Weatherman's attack of America's military (they bombed Pentagon too, BTW) had no military purpose -- they were done to terrorize -- threaten civilians with more and more violence to achieve "goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature"

              Incorrect. The stated aim of the Pentagon bombing was to halt the air campaign over Vietnam. It was successful, bombing operations and planning were disrupted for 2 days due to a burst pipe and power problems. Clearly a "military purpose".

              One could argue the exact same of the 9-11 attacks. The WTC was hit (in part) to disrupt the US economy because it was the centerpiece of American trade. This was successful, the US economy took a hit after 9-11. THe other two targets, the Pentagon and (presumably) the Whi

              • by mi (197448)

                Incorrect. The stated aim of the Pentagon bombing was to halt the air campaign over Vietnam.

                Incorrect. It was not a "stated aim", but totally unintended — at least, according to Bill Ayers himself: "It turns out that we blew up a bathroom and, quite by accident [emphasis mine -mi], water plunged below and knocked out their computers for a time, disrupting the air war and sending me into deepening shades of delight."

                Clearly a "military purpose".

                Ooops... You really ought to study your heroes better so

                • by rtechie (244489) *

                  Incorrect. It was not a "stated aim",

                  Obviously the goal of the Weathermen in general, and this attack in particular, was to end the Vietnam war. The Pentagon is clearly military target. You're just being petulant.

                  Actually, no, it did surprisingly little to the economy.

                  Wall Street was briefly SHUT DOWN. If that's not "disrupting the economy", I don't know what is.

                  They didn't use or threaten violence against civilians

                  Are you seriously going to claim that no Georgian civilians we injured in the Russian invasion? I'm sure you'll say that was "accidental" but "accidental" also counts. If civilians are killed you have only their WORD FOR IT that it wasn't i

        • by rtechie (244489) *

          Although per the definition above, simply threatening violence to attain certain goals is terrorism,

          Violence involves harm to a person. If you wire a completely empty building with explosives and then detonate it, harming nobody, that's either demolition or arson. Not "violence".

          Bill Ayers is guilty of vandalism and maybe "improper use of explosives". No more, no less. He should have done some time for this, maybe a year. It does not matter what you THINK he MIGHT have done. You MIGHT also THINK space aliens shot Kennedy.

          Calling Bill Ayers a "terrorist" is just a glib attack and cheapens real terrorism. I

  • Directi is not apparently an American company.

    Check out the the Flicker site attached to their "official response". They are located in India. They're an Indian company.

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