Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Spammers for Ron Paul

This is an ugly development. Some Ron Paul supporters apparently thought that upgrading from comment spam to actual spam was a good idea.

From the University of Alabama at Birmingham

UAB Spam Team Spots First Presidential Campaign Spam
Anti-spam researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) noted a disturbing new trend following Sunday's Republican Candidates Presidential debate. One of the candidates has a new spam campaign dedicated to proclaiming him victorious in the debate and extolling his virtues as the future president.

There is no reason to believe the current spam campaign is actually endorsed by Ron Paul or his official campaign engine, according to Gary Warner, UAB Director of Research in Computer Forensics.

The new messages have headlines such as:

Ron Paul Wins GOP Debate!
Ron Paul Eliminates the IRS!
Ron Paul Stops Iraq War!
Vote Ron Paul 2008!
Iraq Scam Exposed, Ron Paul
Government Wasteful Spending Eliminated By Ron Paul

Warner says, "We've seen many previous emails reported as spam from other campaigns or parties, but when we've investigated them, they all were sent from the legitimate parties." The important distinction between the new emails and previous emails, Warner says, is the fraudulent nature of the message. Legitimate messages tell who they are from, and provide a means of "unsubscribing" from future messages from the same source.
I've previously mentioned that if Ron Paul supporters want their candidate to be taken seriously they are going to have to start policing their own. Illegal and annoying tactics like this are counterproductive. If the community of Ron Paul supporters doesn't start taking steps to decry those that perform such actions your silence might be viewed as tacit approval and ultimately end up hurting Ron Paul.