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Spammer Slammer Targets Politics

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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-14-06 01:37 PM
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Spammer Slammer Targets Politics
By Ryan Singel| Also by this reporter
02:00 AM Dec, 14, 2006

The brains behind a doomed antispam service are turning their technology into an online swarming tool for activists, hoping to subject politicians and government agencies to the kind of mass pressure Blue Frog once inflicted on spammers.

With its Blue Frog software, Israel-based Blue Security made it easy for spam victims to automatically send opt-out requests to advertised websites, either in e-mail or through online order forms on the sites being promoted. In practice, that meant that some sites were deluged with thousands of such messages simultaneously, prompting critics to charge that the service was little more than a vigilante denial-of-service tool.

Controversial or not, the company claimed to have forced some of the world's top spammers to remove Blue Frog users' e-mail addresses from their e-mail lists, before a retaliatory cyberattack by a Russian spammer forced the service to close its doors last May.

Now founders Aran Reshef and Amir Hirsh are reincarnating their software to turn armies of internet users into political activists. Their new Collactive platform takes the drudgery out of grass-roots action, letting armchair activists fill out online petitions, file comments in rule-making proceedings, send letters to their representatives in Congress and seed collaborative web forums with sympathetic news items -- all with the push of a button.

The Collactive software is offered as a generic distribution to organizations, who then configure it for a particular political issue and give it to users as a downloadable software package or Firefox plug-in.

<snip>

Scannell's first objective will be getting citizens to criticize the Automated Targeting System, or ATS, a program that has been secretly assigning terrorist risk scores to everyone traveling into and out of the United States for the past five years. ATS was revealed by the government in early November.

More:
http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,72291-0.html?tw=...

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