What can you do about bad email?

This is a public service provided by the Spacecoast Hidden Mickeys List and OITC.

I have, from time-to-time, received really nasty emails for no reason and, like all of us, have received, unfortunately, too much junk mail. A good cyberfriend of mine received an email of a graphic sexual nature. She did not know what to do. Upset, she emailed me with the offensive email and asked for help.

Although I cannot help everyone individually, I can communicate to as many people as possible procedures to help make the net a better place to be for themselves and others.

Before you continue, please realize that this is not a normal problem. This only happens in rare occurrences. But, for those who experience it, it can be very upsetting, especially when you don't know who to turn or what to do.

Junk mail is a more pervasive problem and very real, but is nowhere nearly as offensive as a harassing email of any sort.

In the "real world" you can throw the junk mail away, write the junk mail sender and ask to be taken off the mailing list, or if nothing else works, you can file a complaint with your local police or the government. For sexual harassment, you can file a complaint with your company, local police or the government.

But, what can you do in cyberspace? What can you do about the unwanted email you receive?

Actually lots! Here is what you can do:

Other locations that provide lookup services are samspade.org and combat.uxn.com

Why does this work?

All corporations will act immediately to protect their businesses. All ISPs will act immediately on this to protect their businesses and their IP numbers. There is no "freedom of speech" problem here. ISPs will immediately cancel the offensive account(s) and maybe even legally followup. You can be almost guarrenteed that individual will be off the net the next business day if what was done was egregious enough!

Most ISPs do not appreciate customers using their services for "no good" and do not wish to be known as being tolerant of this sort of behavior, especially since sexual harrasment and junk email are federal offenses and put the ISP at risk of being prosecuted, as well.


You may wish to utilize a service that decodes the SPAM and then formats responses to all the interested parties. It also allows you to add your own comments to the feedback forms. For more information, see spamcop.net.


Text of a unwelcomed letter

Received: from [] by mail.somewherelse.com
 with ESMTP (ABC Mail Server 1.1.1); Mon, 13 Jan 1997 18:29:43 -0500
Message-Id: <v03010d11af0075aea550@[]>
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 1997 18:29:34 -0500
To: you@yourplace.com
From: someone <someone@somewherelse.com>
Reply-To: someone@somewherelse.com
Subject: unwelcomed letter

unwelcomed letter.


NSI Response

   Some Street
   Some Town, Some State, Some Zip

   Domain Name: somewherelse.com

   Administrative Contact:
      One, Some  (SOXXXX) someone@somewherelse.com
   Billing Contact:
      One, Some  (SOXXXX) someone@somewherelse2.com
   Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
      One, Some  (SOXXXX) someone@somewherelse3.com

Example Complaint

Please make sure that your complaint is to the point and civil. This will insure that your complaint will be handled promptly. An example complaint is shown below:

Dear Sir,

The following was received by [me/husband/parent/friend] and [I/we] didn't know what to do! [I/we] consider this [unsolicited junk/harassment/whatever].

[I am/we are] forwarding it to your attention as I am sure that you will want to take the appropriate actions against your client and keep your good name as much as [I/we] do.

Using unsolicited email advertisements is unprofessional and violates the intent of US Code, Title 47, Chapter 5, Subchapter II, which prohibits unsolicited fax advertisements.

By US Code Title 47, Sec.227(a)(2)(B), a computer/modem/printer meets the definition of a telephone fax machine. By Sec.227(b) (1)(C), it is unlawful to send any unsolicited advertisement to such equipment. By Sec.227(b)(3)(C), a violation of the afore- mentioned Section is punishable by action to recover actual monetary loss, or $500, whichever is greater, for each violation.
Broadcast Fax and Junk Email is also illegal under United States Public Law 103-414 Section 303(a)(11), it is unlawful "to use any telephone facsimile machine, computer, or other device to send an unsolicited advertisement."

Sexual harassment is a violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.


Consider adding a PS if the problem is very extreme:

PS [I/we] feel VERY strongly about this and will follow-up if appropriate action is not taken, and a formal police report is filed under [sexual misconduct or whatever the problem is].

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