Are Ron Paul Supporters Violating the CAN SPAM Act?

Ars technica has posted a great analysis on the Ron Paul cult phenomenon.  They answer the question many of us have been asking for a long time.  Is Ron Paul’s online support real?

Turns out, it may not be.  Also, they might be breaking the law:

The University of Alabama-Birmingham’s computer forensics research department, which collects spam messages as part of its Spam Data Mining for Law Enforcement Applications project, analyzes hundreds of thousands of e-mail messages per month. When it began getting bombarded with e-mails about Ron Paul immediately following a Republican debate on TV, the lab began to examine their origin and saw consistent patterns that it described as “disturbing.”

The e-mails originated from IPs all over the world, but researchers’ suspicions were aroused when they found that the e-mails purported to come from different countries than their IPs indicated. Messages claiming to come from the US were actually coming from Korea, for example, and messages claiming to come from Italy were actually coming from the US. The pattern showed that the messages were clearly not coming from Ron Paul’s official campaign, but rather illegitimate spam operations and botnets.

“We’ve seen many previous e-mails reported as spam from other campaigns or parties, but when we’ve investigated them, they all were sent from the legitimate parties,” department director Gary Warner said in a statement. In contrast, the Ron Paul messages clearly came from a number of other parties attempting to spoof where they came from. Paul’s campaign may run afoul of the authorities as a result of these e-mails. Warner believes that the messages may violate the CAN-SPAM Act  due to their deceptive sending practices.


12 Responses to “Are Ron Paul Supporters Violating the CAN SPAM Act?”

    November 1, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    Anyone could have done this to discredit the candidate, and that’s likely who it was.

    I wouldn’t be suprised if it was Rudy’s or Fred’s campaign.

    They say Rudy paid Sara what’s her name to write that WIRED article, then USA TODAY wrote an even MORE libelous one suggesting that this spam they found coming from Korea was responsible for the huge internet support he had since January! It did not even make sense CHRONOLOGICALLY.. LOL

    And what person is going to support a candidate from unsigned spam? It’s two different things… made USA TODAY sound like idiots.

    November 1, 2007 at 9:49 pm

    “Paul’s campaign may run afoul of the authorities as a result of these e-mails.”

    That’s if they were sent from the campaign computers, which they were not!

  3. November 1, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    Strangely, this spambot was able to create over 1,000 meetup groups composed of over 55,000 other spambots and won not only the vast majority of online polls, but the majority of all straw polls for Ron Paul. Most bizarre, however, is the fact that this robot managed to spam more than $2.6 million to the Ron Paul campaign in the month of October alone.

    Maybe the other candidates need to look into getting one of these ‘robots’.

  4. November 1, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    You were on course to making a valid argument until you used “LOL” in your post, thereby completely quashing any point you were trying to make. Did you really “laugh out loud” as you wrote that? I ask because the only thing I did “out loud” while reading it was utter “what a douche canoe.”

    “what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

  5. November 1, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    I think the bot spam was done by Paul supporters. It just makes sense to me. Shame they knocked some Paul youtube vids off-line. Anyway it has nothing to do with the campaign and should be reported as such.

  6. 6 brody
    November 1, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    I have reported this blog to the authorities as an obvious spambot, and they are now investigating the source of this anti-paul spam. I don’t think anyone is really behind the wheel over here, since it is a spambot, but what you are doing is illegal and immoral.

  7. November 2, 2007 at 12:53 am

    From what I can tell, political e-mails are not regulated under the CAN-SPAM law. I have linked to a story containing that info on my blog.

  8. November 2, 2007 at 3:03 am

    I love how they STILL after all these months can’t debate Ron Paul on the issues, and are reduced to highschool games like this. Politics in the US is turning into a bunch of kids playing a video. Next thing you know, someone is gonna accuse someone of something, and someone is going to reply – screenshot or it didn’t happen.

    And for the record. I am a Ron Paul supporter. I have never been polled, nor have I ever sent in text messages to fox(but i got an iphone today, so ready for the next one). More importantly, I have never gotten a single spam email about Ron Paul, but I get other kinds of spam on a daily basis for other issues and promoting other canidates within them.

    So the entire thing is silly, and reminds me of I think LBJ wanting to spread rumors that his opponent had sex with animals. They said, you could never prove that! And he replied, I know, I just want to watch the bastard deny it.

  9. 9 Jared
    November 2, 2007 at 3:16 am

    Guess what? We’re real. You can keep trying to hide the facts with reposting bogus stories that have nothing to do with Ron Paul. We love the attention and will ride this money train to the bank. Name recognition is what its all about. If you want the truth check meetup.com. There are over 60,000 volunteers. They are real as I attend meetings in my home town.

  10. 10 FZappa
    November 2, 2007 at 7:54 am

    It’s like the Paul haters have given up trying to win the battle of ideas.

  11. November 2, 2007 at 11:32 am

    Well of course they would violate the CAN-Spam act. Ron Paul voted against it. And if Ron Paul voted against it, it must be unconstitutional since Ron Paul is the sole interpreter of the Constitution. No one else can interpret it correctly. Ron Paul alone was given the power by the founding fathers to interpret it and protect it. Ron Paul will save this country. Ron Paul for Prime Minister…err President! Ron Paul is magical… [Insert mindless Ron Paul-supporter jargon here].

  12. November 2, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Nice blog, and good work on keeping up with the kooky Ron Paul and his followers.

    A couple buddies and I have two blogs going. I’d love to get both on your blogroll and link to The Machine Is Us on both. You can check them out here and here. If you’re game just leave me a comment and I’ll get The Machine Is Us up asap. Keep blogging the truth!


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