No one likes getting spammed, but when you’ve got unsolicited text messages blowing up your phone with links to porn, it’s a lot harder to avoid than the pitches for fake Rolexes and male enhancement drugs that end up banished to your email’s spam folder. A lawsuit in Illinois that’s seeking class-action status claims the operators of two subscription adult entertainment sites spammed peoples’ phones with links to their sites, though the recipients never signed up for such texts in the first place.
When your email or other messaging account is flooded with messages promising cheap$ R0lexes! and invitations to collect a million dollars from the estate of a long-lost foreign dignitary relative, it’s not easy to place the blame: is it a robot programmed for maximum annoyance? A wee, cackling, evil spam elf? Sometimes, it’s just a human: a man known as the “Spam King” has admitted in court that he’s behind more than 27 million unsolicited messages sent through Facebook’s servers.
You can always just not answer your phone, but if a telemarketer calling you on your Blackberry sends you into a rage, you might want to look at Call Control. The app relies on the telemarketer database at everycall.us to screen out known spammers. The free version screens out the top 100 telemarketers; an $8 version uses the entire database and includes updates.
Facebook won $711 million in a lawsuit against a notorious spammer. Don’t cheer too hard, though. The same spampresario owes MySpace $234 million for the same thing.
Watch out for “[A friend] commented on a photo of you” notifications on Facebook. If you click on the notification and it asks you to install an application called “Your Photos,” RUN AWAY. Your friend didn’t comment on any photos of you, and the application exists to coax people to click on banner ads.
Don’t install the iPhone app iDrive Lite if you value the privacy of your contact list. Avi Muchnick, one of the developers behind the free, consumer-friendly online graphics suite Aviary, used iDrive to backup his Gmail contact list when switching to a new phone. The next day, he awoke to discover that iDrive’s parent company, Pro Softnet Corp, had spammed every single entry in his contact list without his permission.
Good news, everyone! The advance fee fraud scammers of Nigeria have decided to stop fussing with old-fashioned checks and wire transfers, and have switched to an advanced new technology. They’re called “ATM cards.” Shiny!
Our favorite congressman, Mike Doyle (D-PA), is also fed up with the robocalls telling him his car warranty is about to expire. For those keeping track, that’s two elected officials that these robocalllers have illegally called recently. If the internet doesn’t take them out first, hopefully our public servants will. Thanks, Kenneth!
SlyDial lets you jump straight to voicemail to leave a message. You can pay a fee for the service, or agree to listen to an ad first before leaving a message. Glenn gave the service a trial run and it seemed to work as promised—he listened to an ad and then left a message. Today, however, the company “slydialed” him and left a second ad in his voicemail box. That’s certainly sly, but sounds to us like an abuse of the service as they’ve described it. You might want to avoid using them until we find out more about why they’re spamming previous customers, or check back on Glenn’s blog to see what develops.
The FTC slammed nuisance advertiser ValueClick with a record-breaking $2.9 million fine for littering the internet with deceptive ads for free iPods, PS3s, and plasma TVs. Instead of providing freebies, ValueClick tricked people into signing up for useless services and then failed to safeguard their personal information.
We pretty much knew this was going to end in tears when we first heard of antispam company Blue Security’s scheme to start spamming spammers. The idea was technically sound: market a software that automatically floods addresses associated with spammers with millions of emails, shutting down their servers and spam capabilities.
Here’s all the stuff we couldn’t think of enough clever things to say about but nonetheless found interesting.