I was very excited to see this bit of news from Ars Technica. Spamhaus is a blacklist service to which ISPs can subscribe. They maintain lists of “commercial” spammers. When ISPs use their service, incoming e-mail is checked against their list and, if they match domains, the e-mail is blocked. That sounds like a good thing, right?
Not in the case of Spamhaus. Spamhaus likes to use their position to try to bully people. Case in point, Bush-Cheney 04, Inc. The campaign discovered that Spamhaus had the Bush campaign listed as spammers – a charge we took very seriously, despite not having to.
You see, political e-mail falls outside the definition of spam because it is not a commercial solicitation. Political messages are considered (by the Federal Trade Commission and others) to be free speech and therefore is not subject to the CAN-SPAM Act. However, since President Bush signed the CAN-SPAM Act, the campaign felt it would be hypocritical not to live by its tenets.
Spamhaus was contacted and informed of this, and also informed that spam laws do not apply, but still refused to remove our name. The reason? As it was explained to Chuck at the time, “Until your President changes his policies, you’re staying on.”
Spam policies, you ask? No. Political policies. The owners and operators of Spamhaus refused to lift the blacklisting because they disagreed with the President’s actions on matters of policy.
I sincerely hope that ICANN pulls the plug on Spamhaus – not because of their stupidity in the face of legal action, but because their behavior is no better than the spammers they oppose.