Fight for the Future: Repurposing Contact Email Addresses

Fight for the Future, a newly-formed nonprofit group that opposes the SOPA and PIPA antipiracy legislation currently under consideration in the U.S. Congress and that runs the web site, is sending bulk email to email addresses that were entered into that web site as contact email addresses in case there was a problem with the user’s blacked-out web site or some other technical issue. The bulk email makes no claim to opt-in, although it offers an opt-out link. The ESP is Blue State Digital.

The MainSleaze Spam blog participated in yesterday’s strike against SOPA. I signed up on the SOPA Strike web site to add the blog and my other web sites to the list, and provided my email address so that in event of any issues I could be contacted. Nowhere during the signup process was I asked for, or did I give, permission for my email address to be placed on a bulk email list. Nowhere was there any *indication* that the email address would be used for anything but contacting me personally and directly.

Now, had I been asked, I probably would have signed up for a mailing list to coordinate ongoing efforts against SOPA and PIPA, although using a different email address. (I don’t send list email to role email addresses, and is the role address for this blog.) The SOPA and PIPA legislation is in my opinion dangerous: a poorly-conceived and poorly-implemented effort to fight internet copyright violations and piracy that epitomizes the problem of legislative overreach. (You don’t burn your house down to get rid of a cockroach infestation.) However, a good cause is not an excuse for spamming people, and sending bulk email to email addresses that were not given to you for that purpose is spamming. In this case, I know exactly what process was followed to obtain this email address, and it did not meet the minimum standards for opt-in.

The following headers are completely unredacted on purpose.

Sending IP:

Spam Sample:

Actual Headers:

Received: from ( [])
        by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 94F0D648085
        for <>; Thu, 19 Jan 2012 00:33:11 -0600 (CST)
Received: by (Postfix, from userid 508)
        id 84954920CCCD5; Thu, 19 Jan 2012 01:33:10 -0500 (EST)
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed;; s=bsdkey; t=1326954790;
Received: from maillist-b
        by with local (PHPMailer);
        Thu, 19 Jan 2012 06:33:10 +0000
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2012 06:33:10 +0000
To: Catherine Jefferson  <>
From: Fight For The Future <>
Subject: Unreal
Message-ID: <>
X-Priority: 3
X-Mailer: PHPMailer [version 1.71-blue_mailer]
X-maillist-id: 67f64be995a30fd3
List-Unsubscribe: <>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;

Readable Email:

From: Fight For The Future <>
To: <spamtrap>
Subject: Unreal

The internet blackout was nuts, right?

Google launched a petition. Wikipedia voted to shut itself off. Senators’ websites went down just from the sheer surge of voters trying to write them. NYC and SF geeks had protests that packed city blocks.

You made history today: nothing like this has ever happened before. Tech companies and users teamed up. The tens of millions of people who make the internet what it is joined together to defend its inherent openness. The network defended itself. Whatever you call it, the bottom line is clear: from today forward, it will be much harder to mess up the internet.

The really crazy part? We might even win. Approaching Monday’s crucial Senate vote there are now 35 Senators publicly opposing PIPA. Last week there were 5. And it just takes just 41 solid “no” votes to permanently stall PIPA (and SOPA) in the Senate. What seemed like miles away a few weeks ago is now within reach.


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