Striking Back Against Spammers
From The Register:
Lycos Europe has started to distribute a special screensaver (http://makelovenotspam.com/intl) in a controversial bid to battle spam. The program—titled Make Love Not Spam, and available for Windows and the Mac OS—sends a request to view a spam source site. When a large number of screensavers send their requests at the same time the spam web page becomes overloaded and slow.
I don’t like spam either, but this is not how to go about defeating it. It’s vigilante justice, and it’s morally and ethically wrong.
I’ve written about it before:
…vigilantism: citizens and companies taking the law into their own hands and going after their assailants. Viscerally, it’s an appealing idea. But it’s a horrible one, and one that society after society has eschewed.
Our society does not give us the right of revenge, and wouldn’t work very well if it did. Our laws give us the right to justice, in either the criminal or civil context. Justice is all we can expect if we want to enjoy our constitutional freedoms, personal safety, and an orderly society.
Anyone accused of a crime deserves a fair trial. He deserves the right to defend himself, the right to face his accuser, the right to an attorney, and the right to be held innocent until proven guilty.
Vigilantism flies in the face of these rights. It punishes people before they have been found guilty. Angry mobs lynching someone suspected of murder is wrong, even if that person is actually guilty.
As emotionally satisfying as it might be to get back at the spammers, as much as the spammers deserve it, please think twice before downloading and using this tool.
UPDATE: Another danger—this kind of thing easily escalates as those counterattacking are, in turn, attacked back.