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Key documents

Privacy and Electronic Communications
This page at the UK's Information Commissioner's Office directs you to relevant regulations, guidelines, FAQs and other documents governing the sending of commercial email in the UK.

Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations
Full text of the legislation, published as Statutory Instrument 2003 No. 2426.

Guidance notes
The above Office's official guidance documents for the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations.

Companies Act (Trading Disclosures)
Information on the additional trading information a company is required to disclose in any emails that can be considered business correspondence.

Direct Marketing Association
This page links to the UK DMA's various codes of practice. The main DM Code is obligatory for members, while the specific guidelines on email marketing best practices are recommendations.

British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing
The UK advertising industry's self-regulatory code for non-broadcast advertising includes direct and indirect references to email marketing. The code is enforced by the independent Advertising Standards Authority.


Links and reference sites

Who's who in the battle of the anti-spammers

Spam Stuff


DNS Blacklists

Old reference sites of interest

Frequently Asked Questions

Email Abuse
Abuse of email, including mailbombs, unsolicited bulk email.
Email Abuse Resources
Currently unavailable
Internet Abuse
Another list of documents
Most of the FAQs about the* usenet hierarchy
A mail filtering system for unix
Frequently asked questions about spam
Legal and ethical issues with online advertising
Deciphering E-mail and Posts
A huge list of resources
Tactical Net Abuse
Dealing with online trolls
Dealing with Trolls, Crossposting and Flames
How to protect your newsgroup from vandals.
Building tar pits to slow down email. Generally ineffective.
About the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email.
Address Forgery
How to break your email address. Doing this at all when sending email is extremely rude. Doing this the wrong way on usenet, ditto. This document will tell you the right way to do it when posting to usenet - then it's only somewhat rude.
Filtering Mail
Filtering mail on unix systems using procmail, mailagent and the elm filter*
All about the* usenet hierarchy


RFCs are the working documents and rules of the Internet. They are the authoritative answer on any internet related technical question.

Some relevant RFCs:
RFC 1855
Internet Protocol
RFC 792, RFC 1122
Private Addresses
RFC 1918
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
RFC 821, RFC 2821
Mail Format
RFC 822, RFC 1138, RFC 1148, RFC 1327, RFC 2156, RFC 2822
Post Office Protocol (POP3)
RFC 1939, RFC 1957
RFC 2068
Site Security
RFC 2196
Mailbox Names
RFC 2142
Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP)
RFC 977

Other Resources

Usenet is a forum for discussion of possible abuses of e-mail. Possible topics include mailbombing, denial-of-service attacks, "listserv bombs", unsolicited and/or unwanted mail, email address lists, mailing list abuse, large-scale mailings in general, chain letters, "email viruses" such as Good Times, filtering software such as procmail, and so forth.
High noise. Moderate signal. is a forum for discussion of possible abuses of Usenet. Possible topics include spamming or Excessive Multi-Posting (EMP), Excessive Cross-Posting (ECP), Usenet chain letters such as MAKE.MONEY.FAST, forged or third-party cancellations, broken Usenet gateways, forgery of another user, forged approvals in moderated groups, massively crossposted "flametrolls", abuse of the newsgroup creation system, general purpose netiquette, and so forth.
High noise. Low signal. is a forum for reports of sightings of net abuse.
Originally intended for the discussion of SPAM it's now mostly discussion of email and occasionally usenet abuse. A kinder, gentler, the signal level is lower, but so is the noise level. A good place for newbies to ask for help and advice.

Mailing lists

SPAM-L is a LISTSERV mailing list created on August 18th, 1995 and is dedicated to "Spam prevention and Discussion". That means discussion of spam-prevention, not debating the merits (or lack thereof) of spam. Tips, tricks, procmail recipes, resources forfighting spam, etc. are all welcome. In addition, many people copy SPAM-L on their response to a given spam. This is OK, within certain guidelines.
The spamtools mailing list is dedicated to software tools that detect and process unsolicited bulk e-mail. Tools for any platform are of interest, although most user-level tools are written for Unix and for Windows, and most server-level tools are for Unix.
Hosted by the Forum for Responsible and Ethical Email it's a good place to kick around ideas, call for local help, bitch about the website, etc.

Other Documents and Websites

Spam fighting at
Lots of good stuff hosted by, the net abuse clearinghouse. Includes lots of ways of filtering spam of all flavours from your account or an entire site.
Primarily about usenet spam rather than email spam. Well worth a read, particularly SpuTools®
Tracking the source of email spam
Ed Falks fine description of what the different lines in an email header mean, and what to look at to trace the source of a spam
All about spam
Introduction to spam, and a few ways to reduce the amount you get
The Anti-Spam HOWTO
Good, short introduction to the basics of decoding headers and finding the right postmaster to complain to
The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email
Lots of background, history and politics
Death to Spam!
Some good advice on retaliating against spam. Be very careful about threatening Denial-of-Service attacks against the host ISP, though. Doing it is illegal in most places, threatening it may be illegal in some.
Jason Walter, have a nice day!
One case study in spammer hunting.
Yahoo - spam
Lots more resources at Yahoo! (honestly)


Community Resources


Spam Conference

A Plan for Spam
SpamCon Foundation
Internet Mail Consortium
Clueless Mailers

A Bayesian Approach to Filtering Junk Email
An Evaluation of Naive Bayesian Anti-Spam Filtering
Learning to Filter Spam Email: A Comparison of a Naive Bayesian and a Memory Based Approach
Boosting Trees for Anti-Spam Email Filtering
Boosting Trees for Anti-Spam Email Filtering (Part 2)
A Countermeasure to Duplicate-detecting Anti-Spam Techniques

Slashdot Spam Conference

Spam Laws


Utilities that let you check several lists via a Web Interface
DNSBL Database Check checks a given IP address against over 250 (!) known blacklists.
Osirusoft lets you search shared blacklists run by ORB*, SpamCop, and a variety of smaller lists.
UXN Spam Combat provides a gateway to check some MAPS, Osirusoft, and Spamhaus blacklists.
DNS-based Spam Databases includes links to all, plus notes.

Platform-dependent utilities
blq is an extensible Unix utility that can check any DNS-based blacklist. Several (including MAPS and Osirusoft) are included in the default installation.

Information Services
SpamCop provides a DNS-based blacklist, supported by donations.
Distributed Sender Boycott List lists IP address of servers that have sent e-mail to a spamtrap address.
Relay Stop List by lists IP addresses that have (a) transmitted spam to and (b) are shown to be running on an open mail relay.
Mail Abuse Prevention System ("MAPS") publishes several continually updated lists of "problem hosts" that system admins can subscribe to and use for filtering purposes.
Distributed Checksum Clearinghouse (DCC) attempts to identify email "bulkiness" and other qualities by comparing checksums reported by a community-based system of clients and servers.
RFC-Ignorant lists servers that don't follow Internet standard ("RFC") documents.
Distributed Real Black List ("DRBL") puts IP ranges to a community vote before they are added to the blocking list.
Spam Reporting maintains contact addresses on where to complain when you receive a spam.

RG AV - Spam Filter RG-AV.COM the first spam filter ever!
Bloodgate Spam Stats

Avoiding Spambots

Email obfuscators
Hivelogic Email Address Encoder encodes your email address using numerical equivalents and wraps the result in JavaScript.
Advanced Email Link Generator with Anti-Spam Encoder has an obfuscation option.
Escrambler uses simple client-side JavaScript to prevent robots from harvesting e-mail addresses from your Web site.
The Anti-Spam Machine is a simple tool that rewrites your e-mail address (or any text) in alternate notation that may fool some address-scraping robots.
MHonArc is a mail archiver with address obfuscation features built in.
SpamSecure is a for-pay service that claims to prevent address scraping through unstated methods.

E-mail poisoners
Note: Email poisoners work by creating "fake" email addresses on your Web site, intended to confuse and confound Web-scraping spiders. There's considerable controversy surrounding their use, as they could lead to an increase in unwanted traffic and abuse, especially as some of those "fake" addresses could lead to real people. We encourage you to discuss the issues surrounding email poisoners before considering their use.
SpamCon Discussion

Server-level tools
"Using Apache to stop bad robots" is an article that details ways of determining which robots act irresponsibly in attempting to gather email addresses, and suggests to stop them.
"Stopping Spambots: A Spambot Trap" uses Linux, Apache, mod_perl, Perl, MySQL, ipchains and Embperl.

Essays on Junk Email (Spam)
How do I stop Spam?
How to advertise responsibly using email and newsgroups or how NOT to Make Enemies Fast!





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