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Spam About the "CAN-SPAM" Act...from a US Government Office

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" as the Ancients used to say ("Who is guarding the guards?")

Any editor for print and online publications is all too familiar with the plague of the completely unrelated press release. However, LinuxWorld Magazine has managed to collect some with an ironic twist: we have been repeatedly spammed by a member of the White House's Office of Management and Budget with a single 1.5MB photo of U.S. President George W. Bush signing the CAN-SPAM Act - which many industry observers fear is more of a "permission to spam" law than a "stopping spam" law.

Since the law does not go into effect until January 1, it seems a bit premature to begin the spamming orgy now.

Of course, perhaps the OMB is not worried about said Act, considering that government agencies are immune from the CAN-SPAM rules. That must explain why there was no removal link in the spam we have received many times over the last few days and why, when half of the editorial staff personally requested that we be removed from the sender's list, we were not.

LinuxWorld Magazine realizes that the economy is not in good shape and everyone from private citizens to federal governments are attempting to cut their budgets. The practice of sending digital press releases is an excellent one when:

  • They are properly targeted to publications that actually care about your topic - and while spam is technology related, we still think this was a stretch.
  • Any large items such as images and documents are included as links and not actually attached to the emails - heaven forbid one of us was on the road all of this time and stuck with dial-up, or even worse the attachment(s) contained a virus (though personally I use Linux on my desktop).
  • There is actual worthwhile text in the press release - or text at all in this case - rather than just a picture with a brief label and a list of who is in it. Sure, a picture tells 1000 words, but believe it or not publications don't exist just to spread around your photo ops for you.

The editors of LinuxWorld Magazine sincerely hope that this continuing annoyance is not a hint at what is to come from U.S. government offices, lest we have to start filtering out mail from the .gov domain.

More Stories By Dee-Ann LeBlanc

Dee-Ann LeBlanc has been involved with Linux since 1994. She is the author of 12 books, 130 articles, and has more of both coming. She is a trainer, a course developer - including the official Red Hat online courseware at DigitalThink - a founding member of the AnswerSquad, and a consultant.

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