Today is a historic day

Today is a historic day – and I’m not referring to the fact that my birthday is today!

Israel had finally adopted the anti-spam act, where companies are no longer allowed to send you spam email, unless you had specifically granted them the permission to do so. While the act in itself isn’t a new one in the world, it is surely a turning point in the Israeli market.

Over the course of the Internet’s existence in Israel, spam was more or less a given evil that all of us were required to endure. While initially is was more or less non-targeted, brute-force enabled spam, as the years progressed – it became more and more sophisticated and targeted. Unlike the US, where most ISP’s proud themselves by not allowing SPAM providers work with them – Israel went the exact way around.

I can easily recall a period of time I was working at one of Israel’s ISP’s, which was using a SUN Solaris based mail system. One of the customers wanted to utilize that system to send hundreds of thousands of emails to people, however, the system wasn’t able to carry the load. I was recruited to the task under the false pretence that the company (the ISP) needed additional mail-relays. I remember building one of the biggest mail relays I’ve even seen (well, at least in 1999) – a cluster of 6 Linux servers running Qmail. I later on learned that my highly evolved MX relay environment was actually re-configured to allow open relaying from specific IP numbers, thus, allowing spammers to spam from that specific ISP at ease. In addition, later on, the same ISP went on selling its email lists to spam databases as “verified email lists”, charging almost a dollar per email (over 50,000 subscribers in the list).

Over the course of the past 3 weeks, I’ve been getting emails from various emails I’ve been trying to get off from, asking me to confirm my membership with the list. I hadn’t confirmed these, simply waiting and lurking for the first spam message that comes in from one of these lists – and immediately following with a complaint to receive my 1000 Shekels for receiving their unsolicited spam.

So, in my book, December 1st 2008 is a day to remember and honor – and I will surely do so for the years to come (at least until some government ass-hole comes along and negates the act that is).