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XMission's Company Journal

XMission initiates legal fight against spammers

XMission encourages all email customers to read this post about our fight against SPAM, our updated Terms of Service, and how it impacts you.

During our 21 years in business we have observed and participated in what has undoubtedly been the biggest technology advancement in the history of mankind. We are proud to be part of this history and equally proud to announce new efforts to keep our customer inboxes junk free.

The Good Ole Days

Spammers did not exist when XMission started in 1993. Now, unsolicited email is the primary abuse of the Internet. The relentless onslaught of SPAM frustrates those who receive it and is a financial burden for those who battle it. Many of XMission’s email resources are allocated to the prevention and reduction of unsolicited email.

Enough is Enough

After two decades of dealing with the scourge of unsolicited email we have determined it is time to take an active stance by leveraging the legal system to enforce our rights as provided by the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.

XMission recently secured legal counsel and will be pursuing offenders in an effort to curb the amount of junk mail that impacts our network. Based on the experience of others, we hope to see a substantial reduction in the amount of unfilterable SPAM that hits our network and customer inboxes.

The desired outcome of this legal strategy is three fold:

1) Reduce unsolicited email to customer inboxes

2) Create a financial impact on spammers, thus reducing the amount of unsolicited email on the greater Internet

3) Opportunity to impact case law and help establish further protections for everyone

All current email customers are included in this effort by default. No action is necessary to participate. You will incur no costs as a result of these efforts.

It’s the Law

The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (“CAN-SPAM”) of 2003, prohibits sending unauthorized email with header information that is materially false or materially misleading, and prohibits the use of deceptive subject headings. These types of email messages are typically difficult to filter and block from customer inboxes. Additionally, CAN-SPAM requires the inclusion of certain content in commercial emails. CAN-SPAM also regulates sexually explicit email messages. The CAN-SPAM Act, as well as other similar state laws, applies primarily to commercial emails or email commonly referred to as SPAM.

Typical SPAM Cycle

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Typical spam cycle from product to customer inbox. Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who is Liable?

Where the necessary prerequisite elements are satisfied, the law extends liability to both “Senders” and “Initiators” of SPAM. A “Sender” is usually the company who causes the email to be transmitted, and whose product, service, or website is advertised or promoted by the email. In essence, a “Sender” is the company or manufacturer who is the face of the product being advertised. An “Initiator” is usually the party who actually transmits the message, or, in some cases, hires someone else to do so.

Who has Claims?

Federal law allows private parties that qualify as “Internet Access Services” to bring claims for SPAM. This means that the intended recipient does not normally have legal recourse under Federal Law. Fortunately, established Internet Service Providers, like XMission, can exercise legal rights to protect their customers by asserting claims under CAN-SPAM.

Privacy Matters

Because XMission is extremely committed to protecting customer privacy, those customers who prefer not to have XMission tackle unsolicited email may opt-out specific @xmission.com email addresses and/or email domains. Email domains also include customers on our domain-based Zimbra email services as well as those purchasing our SpamCatcher SMTP feed and mail spooling service.

XMission monitors the process of receiving and capturing data from the unsolicited email that hits our network. We maintain the storage of this information in our secure facility. We worked closely with our legal and technical teams to obfuscate recipient customer data in the offending email, when possible. We take all appropriate steps to protect customer privacy in each step of this process.

To opt-out, email fightspam@xmission.com and identify your email address(es).

Terms of Service updates

It is important to note that updates have been implemented to our legal disclaimer page. We encourage all customers to review it from time to time: https://xmission.com/legal

Below, we have italicized the specific changes to our policies.

Policy Tab:  https://xmission.com/legal
a) Law Enforcement Guidelines
..snip..

XMission will hold data for up to six months upon receipt of a specific retention request. If a subsequent warrant for the data is not served in that time, the data will be discarded. XMission may hold raw data for unsolicited/unlawful commercial emails, commonly referred to as SPAM, for up to three years to assist with its SPAM mitigation effort for the benefit of XMission’s customers.

XMission makes an exception for sharing customer contact information when processing a credit card. Otherwise, no customer data or demographic information is sold or shared without a warrant or as required by a Court.

b) Necessary Submission of Information
Personally identifiable consumer information is shared with Authorize.Net, the credit card processing company we use, to the extent it is necessary for them to provide payment processing services. In limited circumstances, your email address may be identified in connection with its receipt of SPAM email in an effort to mitigate the ongoing receipt of SPAM. The parties to whom your email address may be identified are, in most cases, already in possession of the email address and the identification thereof is required in order to have the email address removed from a SPAM list or as part of judicial proceedings.

Terms tab: https://xmission.com/legal_terms XMission Terms of Service

SPAM Mitigation

24. SPAM Mitigation. The receipt of unsolicited or unlawful commercial electronic mail messages, otherwise known as SPAM (“SPAM”), adversely affects your use and enjoyment of email services, as well as XMission’s business and its ability to provide email services to you. Accordingly, you agree that XMission may take action on your behalf to mitigate SPAM and you grant to XMission the authority and right to opt-out and/or unsubscribe from receiving any and all SPAM emails, sent by any party to your email address(es). You also grant and assign to XMission the authority and right to take any other action, including legal action, to stop the mailing and/or receipt of SPAM emails to your email address(es), and seek all available legal remedies against responsible parties. XMission’s SPAM mitigation effort may require the preservation and disclosure of the actual SPAM emails directed to your email address, or if you are in California, your IP address. In most cases, the parties to whom the disclosure is made are already in possession of this information which they used to send you the SPAM (i.e., SPAM emailers, their attorneys, etc.), but disclosure may be made to attorneys, law enforcement, the court and court personnel. XMission will make every reasonable effort to obfuscate any personal identifying information included in the SPAM emails or ensure that any information is protected by a protective order. If you do not wish to have your email address(es) included in the SPAM mitigation effort, it is your responsibility to contact XMission at fightspam@xmission.com and opt-out. You may request information from XMission regarding any action taken by XMission described above, which information will not be unreasonably withheld.

XMission asks that any email customers located in California notify us via email as we have additional grounds for legal action in that state.

If you have questions about how this will work please email support@xmission.com.

We encourage supporters of our efforts to share this post with friends, co-workers, and social networks by clicking on the social media icons below.

Thank you for choosing XMission. We appreciate your trust.

John Webster, VP of Business Development and Zimbra Email Product Manager, has worked at XMission for over 19 years doing his favorite thing: helping companies communicate with customers through technology to grow their business. When he’s not uncovering Zimbra’s secrets you might find him in our beautiful Utah mountains.  Connect with him on LinkedIn today!

 

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41 thoughts on “XMission initiates legal fight against spammers

  • Brian Barnett says:

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  • E F BOOTH says:

    It’s about time. Best wishes for the success of the effort to rid us of the scourge.

  • Tracy Ehrig says:

    THANK YOU!!!! 95% of my daily emails are spam! Your action is very much appreciated.

  • Patty Henetz says:

    Much of the material I mark as spam comes from well-intentioned but annoying political sources such as AARP and Change.org. I would hope that a sternly worded letter — saying that unless a recipient specifically opts in for those communiques, they would be considered lawsuit defendants — would be enough to get them to lay off.

  • Robert Mulder says:

    Yay!

    Several times I thought about closing out this old account because I get SO many spam emails each day, but then I have so many people that know this email address.

    if you guys are successful in this effort, it will make my decision easy to stay with you!!

  • Kgarrett says:

    Bravo! I am so proud that, my ISP, is taking a leading role on this issue.

  • Mark Scarton says:

    Is there an email address that we can forward spam to that slips through the spam filter? I use an IMAP client, so I can’t use the zimbra client to mark spam emails received as spam.

  • Bob Miller says:

    Only legal action? Can’t you burn them at the stake? Please?

  • Bryan Dixon says:

    Comforting to know Xmission is on our side–once again! I add my appreciation to that of others.

  • Doug Dodge says:

    Clap clap clap clap clap clap!!!!

    Burn them at the stake? Nahh.. Too quick. Remove 4-5 layers of skin and throw them in the Great Salt Lake. *s*

    Seriously, thank you XMission and please let us know if (and where) there is an email address to forward the jink email that does manage to get through.

  • rkuhn says:

    Hooray! Thanks again for always thinking of your customers, Xmission.

  • I’m proud that Xmission has taken a stance against this scourge and only hope that other internet service providers take similar action. Together, this flood of SPAM CAN be reduced and the senders held accountable!

  • Sportster Paul says:

    Give ’em hell, Harry!
    If you spit upwards, you’re bound to get it back in the face.

  • Alex Lucero says:

    Thank you very much…I will vote, call , yell whatever I need to do to help stop those punk spammers who send so much unsolicited trash.

    go get ’em

  • Ben Harrison says:

    The legal system gets used for so many things that aren’t helpful, it’s nice to see it used for good occasionally. Thank you for taking this on.

  • MICHAEL HEINS says:

    It’s more than a dozen years overdue, but BRAVO Xmission! I hope you’ll provide some way for enthusiastic customers who are interested to participate more actively. You might consider creating a convenient way for us to donate to the cause — a web page, or an optional additional amount added to my renewal, etc. I’d feel good about that if I knew the funds were earmarked for your anti-spam effort, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

  • Liz Rank says:

    This is why we love our xmission.

  • James Riter says:

    Thank you for taking a stand against unsolicited email. Your stand supporting privacy and freedom from intrusive communication is refreshing and absolutely the right thing to do on behalf of its customers. Thanks again!

  • Daniel Darger says:

    About time someone pushed back. I am glad to be a part of Xmission efforts. Who are the lawyers?

  • Kym says:

    Thank you so much for taking this on! One more reason I love xmission.

  • Neil Wagstaff says:

    I have noticed that some internet drug seller is sending emails as if they come from me – any help would be appreciated and Thanks for the legal action.

  • Sandy says:

    Thank you Xmission!! It’s unbelievable the amount of SPAM I get. I have been grateful for the filters but legal action sounds soooooo much better!

  • bob geer says:

    Yea Xmission! Go after the spammers!

    Thank you, Xmission, for the opportunity to control our own spam filters when other ISPs do not. As a result, few spams reach my email client, yet there are currently 1698 messages in my spam quarantine. A spot check reveals no message I am interested in. Until the spammers get reined in, set up spam filters; they work.

  • Grant Duffin says:

    As I look at the numbers in my SPAM folder it is obviously a large proportion of the emails that are sent to me.Thank you very much for the effort to reduce this waste of internet resource. It is the right thing to do and worth every effort.

  • Rich Schroeppel says:

    I appreciate the spirit of going after spammers, but I may
    have a problem with your new terms of service: Several of
    my mailing lists occasionally send valid messages that you
    classify as spam. I can’t figure out why, and I haven’t been
    able to get the spam filters to work. I’m not happy with your
    decision to perhaps unsubscribe me from the lists I want to
    see, or to drop some of the messages on the floor.
    Improvements needed: When you mark a message as
    spam, tell me why: what’s the offending word, or score.
    Make the filter documentation available — the last time I
    looked, it had vanished. I probably need more filter options
    to use certain fields as whitelist or blacklist triggers.
    Finally, you should send me a copy of this comment as
    an email message, so I have an easy record.

  • Robert G says:

    Thanks for your efforts and keeping our web service protected from the many attacks. Its even worth a one time help fee for legal costs as far as I am concerned.

  • Duffy says:

    Bravo your initiative! In the early days of the commercialization of the Internet there was a discussion of metered access versus flat-rate access. SPAM is the what economists call the “free rider” problem and is directly due to the flat-rate billing model we now benefit from (all you video downloaders) and suffer from (every SPAM reciepient). Thanks again and give ’em hell!

  • John W. says:

    Rich, Thank you for the input.

    This program does not unsubscribe anyone from mailing lists nor will it prevent valid lists from getting through. It does not block any mail. From a technical services perspective, there is no impact at all with the spam blocking measures. This process captures spam headers, tracks all traceable elements, and catalogs it for manual review. The occasional accidental spam-marking of legitimate email will not trigger any actions on our part.

    XMission techs can help you with your settings. I am happy to assist if you email me directly.

    Over time we will write a blog post and update our wiki articles (help pages) concerning:

    Our wiki on Spam that is actively being updated. https://wiki.xmission.com/Spam

  • John W. says:

    Doug, We are working on a process for customers to submit unsolicited email that made it through via an easy to use complaints process. Watch for updates early in the week. — John

  • John W. says:

    Neil, We will check into this and get back to you. — John

  • Bill says:

    I get annoyed by the occasional spam message that gets through, but i also check my spam file from time to time and realize that your filters catch about 98% of it. That obviously reflects a lot of hard work on your part. You have my support and kudos for all you do to unclog the Internet!

  • DeLoy Porter says:

    Go for it. I am tired of all of the unwanted spams that I receive. Keep me posted.

  • JOAN OGDEN says:

    Kudos to X-Mission and your leader, Pete Ashdown! Many thanks from this loyal subscriber!

  • Clive Watson says:

    This proactive stance is the reason I have been with Xmission for many years,,,,,May the force be with you.

  • Alan Mark says:

    EXCELLENT! Thanks for taking a big stand against the spammers!

  • Rolan says:

    Unlike the rest of the comments I have NOT been getting that much spam so I thought xmission was already doing a good job of filtering, although I have gotten a little more lately. I am glad to see them going after this problem.

  • Andrew M says:

    Thanks XMission! I’ve had my @xmission.com email account for 10+ years and the only reason I’d even consider dropping it is that it has been completely over run with spammers. I know this has nothing to do with XMission, so I appreciate your efforts to help stop this.

  • Ruth Hadlock says:

    Thank you xmission!!! I appreciate you!
    Just to confirm; is there anything we as clients need to do?

  • John W. says:

    Thank you, Ruth. All email customers are included automatically unless they opt-out. PS. We appreciate you, too!

  • Ric says:

    I hope Pete understands that he needs to sue Google too. A year ago google connected my IP address to my xmission mail address. Then, as I google searched for rare diseases, rare wines and other unusual sites, I began to get tons of unsolicited spam. The weekly spam count at the xmission Barracuda went from nil to more than 600 per week in a couple months. Another 200 got my the filter into my mailbox. When I figured out what happened, I began using the DuckDuckGo search engine. The Barracuda count then dropped to a couple dozen/week in 4-5 months. Google appears to be selling our identities to spammers around the globe.

  • David Darmody says:

    I get around 5 spam messages a day and they all say they are from me. I find this to be a real pain.. I would like to know how to put a stop to it also/