How I Invented Cyberspam

This article (submitted May 28, 1994) might represent my fifteen minutes of fame.

By that time, the big "Green Card" spam had passed. Canter and Siegel had vowed they would return. The New York Times had just printed a story saying they were forming a company called "Cybersell" to continue their attacks. Spam-control clearly was on a lot of people's minds.

I proposed the "cyberspam" cookie as a pun on "Cybersell", and it seems to have stuck. It turns out that we were wrong about the level of threat that C&S posed. They are but a fading memory, and their lousy book has moved from the book shelf to the remainder bin to the trash can. Even without them, spam attacks on the net have developed at an amazing rate and continue today.

Newsgroups:	news.admin.technical
Subject:	Re: third-party cancel headers [Was: "cancel." versus "cancel-"]
References:	<2rtusk$> <2rvhen$>
		<2s0ijc$9d0@ftp.UU.NET> <2s35g9$ma8@ftp.UU.NET>
Distribution:	world
Organization:	Unicom Systems Development, Austin, TX

In article <2s35g9$ma8@ftp.UU.NET>, Rich Salz <> wrote:
>Kari's corret -- use "cancel." not "cancel-"

I'd like to propose an additional header convention for third-party cancels.

If you use a special keyword in the Path header, say "cyberspam", then sites can elect to honor or disregard the cancel. That is, a site can choose to ignore these cancels by putting "/cyberspam" at the end of field one in their newsgroup feed specification.

This might save some personal grief in the event of an uncooperative and overly litigous spammer.

So, I recommend that third party cancels have a header line that says something like:

        Path: cyberspam!not-for-mail

and people who do not want to receive these modify their newsfeed specification to say something like:


Chip Rosenthal

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