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U.K. Govt: Spammers Before Downloaders?

The British government plans to suspend the Internet accounts of residents suspected of downloading pirated music and films, according to news reports. But the latest figures on the geographic location spam-spewing zombie PCs suggest the U.K. government might do better to start by disconnecting the nation's most notorious uploaders.

The Associated Press reports that plans announced Tuesday by the British Treasury Minister include blocking access to download sites, and temporarily suspending users' Internet accounts.

The story didn't say how many of Britain's estimated 48.7 million Internet users are suspected of being serial music and movie downloaders. But Security Fix reviewed the 8.8 million Internet addresses around the globe that are on Spamhaus.org's composite block list -- which tracks connections that show strong signs of being spam relays -- and found that roughly 60,000 U.K. systems currently are blasting junk e-mail to the rest of the world on behalf of spammers.

If you've got a question about spam, downloading music, or anything tech related, please submit it for Security Fix Live, a live online chat I'll be hosting at 11 a.m. ET Friday. Can't join us then? Drop your question in the queue now.

By Brian Krebs  |  August 27, 2009; 9:41 AM ET
Categories:  Fraud , From the Bunker , Piracy  | Tags: U.K. piracy, spamhaus zombies  
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Comments

Good call, Brian ! Rather than devoting resources to chasing people who may or may not have downloaded a music or film file from P2P sites on the Internet, the UK government would be much better advised to use them to deal with the spammers employing systems in that country to distribute junk email around the world. But then, while Peter Benjamin Mandelson's sponsors are very much concerned about their music and film industry profits, they don't really care very much about spamming, which doesn't affect these profits to any great degree - or am I misinformed ?...

Henri

Posted by: mhenriday | August 27, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

It is disappointing that the U.K., the home of the Magna Carta, seems to be leaning more towards the type of intrusive government which characterized the Bush years in the U.S.A. I had hoped they would have more respect for due process than to shoot first and ask questions later. I agree with Henri that this approach smacks of influence-peddling rather than acting for the greater good of the public.

As has been pointed out elsewhere, not all free music downloads are illegal. Some artists will make tunes available for free download to generate interest in commercial sales or concert performances. A recent free release by Radiohead was a well-publicized example.

Posted by: 54Stratocaster | August 27, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

All predators attack the easiest possible target. The UK guv is attacking on behalf of the (predatory) record companies.

Also, to make themselves look successful and have something to campaign with, and also to bolster their own self-image Guv UK is following the path of least resistance. Attacking downloaders won't be a challenge, whereas going after the spammers would be, like, work.

Posted by: featheredge99 | August 27, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

To be fair to the British government, of the "roughly 60,000 U.K. systems [which] currently are blasting junk e-mail," in probably one case does the owner of the system actually KNOW that his PC is spam central. The rest are controlled by (most likely) eastern European criminals, sending their messages in the background. Therefore, they are outside of the government's jurisdiction.

You could argue that one should know what is going on with his system, and be responsible for it. And I would agree with you. But that's a whole other topic...

-- Michael Seese, CISSP, author of Scrappy Information Security

Posted by: MichaelSeese | August 27, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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