US Internet "Free Speech" Tightly Controlled by Secret Group...

 

Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen

 

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

 


American citizens think, wrongly, that the internet is a place where they can somewhat freely express their opinions about social issues important to them. But they are dead wrong  - for there is an internet company, based in London, England that continuously monitors internet traffic - and if that company, or any of its members, or its customers, don't like what an American is saying on the internet, they can, and will, shut down that person's access to the internet.

 

Surprised?  Don't be. 

 

Controlling internet access, and preventing "free speech" is a despot's dream come true - for it has been the internet, for some time now, that has provided the means for social activists on important issues to communicate, not only with each other, but with the media and the public.

 

The internet has, basically, changed the way people communicate worldwide.  Everyone knows that, on the internet, you can type out a  message to someone, "CC" it to any number of friends at all corners of the Earth, and in seconds you can get responses.

 

But that's over.  Those social activists are being identified by a British company called Spamhaus for its customers,  and barriers and blocking devices are being put in place to block communication between activists,  groups, and the American public.  So far, Spamhaus has taken sides on several issues, and despite the fact that the US is a "free speech" nation, Spamhaus openly states on its website "we don't care what US laws say..."

 

How are they able to do that?

 

In 2003 the people of the United States, in their infinite wisdom, decided to do something about the internet problem of SPAM (unsolicited commercial email) - so the US legislature passed the Can-Spam act of 2003.  In that law, and you can read your copy at www.legalarchiver.org/cs.htm, the legislature clearly defined what SPAM is, and what it is not, and set rules for legal broadcasting of commercial email advertising (and, it IS legal - providing the law is followed).  The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was given the enforcement job, and was required to establish specific rules &  regulations further defining the Can-Spam law.  On the FTC website there is clear language about that Can-Spam law.  It says, for instance, that "this law is not intended to regulate, or limit, free speech..."

 

Spamhaus, though, ignores the "will of the people" of the United States, and has openly declared war on any, and all, that THEY, using their own over-zealous, and anti-free-speech definition, decide are "spammers."  Spamhaus operates a so-called Spam Blocking List (SBL), and makes it available to unknowing Internet Service Providers (ISP) companies to use to block access to customers of the ISPs.

 

Spamhaus's website list the top-ten CRIMINAL spammers, for instance, in obvious defamation - for anyone who sends out bulk email in the US, acting under the rules laid down by the Can-Spam Act of 2003 is labeled, by Spamhaus as a "criminal."  In addition, Spamhaus listed ten major corporations as the worst "spammers" - including MCI, SBC, Comcast, Yahoo, and six others, because those providers allow their customers to operate under Can-Spam laws..  Publicly labeling someone as a "criminal" is clearly legal "defamation."

 

But limiting "free speech," and who can broadcast "political speech," in the US is a new wrinkle.  If your email messages are not getting where you send them, or you find out through other means that you are not getting emails sent to you about vital social issues, you can review Spamhaus's strange tirades at www.spamhaus.org.  Call your ISP and see if they use these people, and ask them if they've reviewed Spamhaus's policies, lately.

 

How did we find out about this?

 

How did we find out about this?  The last time we broadcast we had about 25% rejects - the emails came back from certain ISPs and jammed our network - so we traced the problem, thinking something went wrong with the software.  Nope, it wasn't the software.  We traced it to Spamhaus, who, on their website referred anyone asking questions to two "quackbuster" websites.

 

The Spamhaus US Representative(?), named John Blasik, has an interesting record, both criminal and otherwise.  His photo, below, copied off another website is a message to all Americans.

 

John Blasik

Spamhaus claims to operate out of the United Kingdom, and believes this gives them protection from a lawsuit in the United States. As a matter of fact, Spamhaus is not just Steve Linford (a UK resident), but John Blasik (aka John Reid). a resident of Palm Bay, Florida USA.

"John Reid" is actually John Blasik. What follows is information taken from public records.

John Blasik, 4615 Tree Ridge Ln NE, Palm Bay, FL 32905-4658, Tel. 321-951-7718

Employer and Address:  Intersil Corporation, 2401 Palm Bay Road, Palm Bay, FL 32905
TEL: (321) 724-7000, 1-888-468-3774 

John's Personal E-Mail : john@rtfm.mlb.fl.us

Criminal History from: http://factscfweb1.brevardclerk.us/facts/name_search.cfm

Domestic Violence, Trespassing, battery, "Exposure of Sexual Organs", numerous traffic violations, etc.

Name Search
Case Number Case Type Case Status Filing Date Case Title Party Date of Birth

05-1985-DR-010589-XXXX-XX OTHER DOMESTIC REOPEN PEND/PET 10/31/1985 MASTERS MARY VS BLASIK JOHN M RESPONDENT (1)  

05-1992-TR-060734-AXXX-XX TRAFFIC INFRACTION ORIGINAL DISP 04/17/1992 STATE VS BLASIK DEFENDANT (1) 01/12/1957

05-1993-TR-038589-AXXX-XX TRAFFIC INFRACTION ORIGINAL DISP 02/12/1993 STATE VS BLASIK DEFENDANT (1) 01/12/1957

05-1993-TR-060925-AXXX-XX TRAFFIC INFRACTION ORIGINAL DISP 11/09/1993 STATE VS BLASIK DEFENDANT (1) 01/12/1957

05-1994-MM-021156-AXXX-XX MISDEMEANOR APPEAL CLOSED 08/19/1994 STATE VS BLASIK JOHN MICHAEL DEFENDANT (1) 01/12/1957
  Rec No. Cnt Charge Dt Charge
  1 1 08/13/1994 TRESPASS AFTER WARNING

05-1994-AP-029615-AXXX-XX CRIMINAL APPEAL ORIGINAL DISP 11/28/1994 STATE VS BLASIK DEFENDANT (1) 01/12/1957
  Rec No. Cnt Charge Dt Charge
  1 1 11/28/1994 APPEAL TO CIRCUIT COURT

05-1996-MM-012336-AXXX-XX MISDEMEANOR ORIGINAL DISP 05/23/1996 STATE VS BLASIK JOHN MICHAEL DEFENDANT (1) 01/12/1957
  Rec No. Cnt Charge Dt Charge
  1 1 05/19/1996 EXPOSURE OF SEXUAL ORGANS

05-1996-TR-040392-AXXX-XX TRAFFIC INFRACTION ORIGINAL DISP 06/03/1996 STATE VS BLASIK DEFENDANT (1) 01/12/1957

05-1997-DR-008491-XXXX-XX DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ORIGINAL DISP 05/27/1997 BLASIK JOHN VS MOYE JAMES PETITIONER (1)  

05-1997-TR-034227-AXXX-XX TRAFFIC INFRACTION ORIGINAL DISP 07/02/1997 STATE VS BLASIK DEFENDANT (1) 01/12/1957

05-1998-TR-021264-AXXX-XX TRAFFIC INFRACTION ORIGINAL DISP 06/01/1998 STATE VS BLASIK DEFENDANT (1) 01/12/1957

05-1999-TR-087732-AXXX-XX TRAFFIC INFRACTION ORIGINAL DISP 12/09/1999 STATE VS BLASIK DEFENDANT (1) 01/12/1957

05-2003-TR-051876-AXXX-XX TRAFFIC INFRACTION ORIGINAL PEND 07/09/2003 STATE VS BLASIK DEFENDANT (1) 01/12/1957
  Rec No. Cnt Charge Dt Charge
    1 07/05/2003 SPEED POSTED MUNICIPALITY SPEEDING 20 TO 29 MPH

 

In conclusion...

Obviously we are monitoring Spamhaus's activities.  We're told that Spamhaus, and their network, are pretty much ineffectual, and are an embarrassment to the REAL anti-spam people - those actually trying to stop spam on the internet - and we can certainly see why.  In the mean time, we'll assess the damage they might do, and we are issuing this warning to others to watch out for their clearly anti-American activities.

As one University professor said about Spamhaus's activities:

With only 18 volunteers, Spamhaus’ operations are, naturally, almost entirely automated, thereby depriving a blacklisted party any real recourse, notice, or review. This is a very troubling proposition, considering the degree to which e-mail is relied on by any business from sole proprietors to multinationals. Consider the frustration and loss of business that can result if a sole proprietor import exporter’s e-mail is completely blacked out (Spamhaus does not notify the alleged spammer at all. Rather the blacklisted e-mail must be lucky enough to spot the error message referencing Spamhaus in its e-mail client.)

Today, e-mail is a basic utility like water, electricity, and heat. It must be treated like a basic utility to assure that it is not summarily interrupted. Verizon and ConEd would not simply be able to turn off your phone service and heat without some kind of notification with some explanation of the basis and the process to rectify the problem. The law has evolved in most developed nations to assure that process is a key element in the administration of utilities. In this early phase of the spam war, critical thought must be invested before simply allowing third party entities to take matters into their own hands. While I applaud Spamhaus’ motivation, the potential for abuse and gross miscalculation is too severe to do otherwise.

 

Stay tuned...

Tim Bolen - Consumer Advocate