Brian McWilliams, author of Spam Kings, recently noted one of his colleagues, Frederic Aoun, had a interesting, if not so serious solution to the spam problem. Bust up the spammers’ customers along with the spammers. Well, that is already happening, in an indirect way of course, to those very customers right now.
In The price of buying from spammers, Brian mentions a private conversation with Aoun where he discussed the idea, and points out that it was less a call to action than idle chatter. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t be surprised if some politician takes it the wrong way (much scarier if they actually succeeded though).
Brian also points out that spammers are already selling those customer lists, and in addition to email addresses, the scrolls often include names, mailing addresses, telephone numbers, IP addresses, and even prescription drug purchase histories. Just to scare you a little more, I will speculate that credit card numbers are part of some of those lists too.
Spamroll said in Spamalot Not Too Entertaining that once your email was input into some web form or another, that it was not safe. Now you have an expert saying the same.
If you think Brian is just trying to sell his book, think again. He is not the only one pointing this out. For further reading on how bad the issue is, check out Shocker: Spammers Don’t Protect Privacy Of Buyers, over at Techdirt. Or you can check out One More Reason To Hire Your Own Script Kiddie, where you find that taking less that diligent care in your legitimate ecommerce activities can put you in the spam seat.