TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: State of the Internet, 2005

Re: State of the Internet, 2005

Henry (
Sun, 2 Oct 2005 12:24:40 +0300

TELECOM Digest Editor <> wrote:

> A look at the internet as it stands now, in 2005, from a compilation
> originally prepared by

> Chain letters

> "Forward this message to 10 people and DO NOT BREAK THE CHAIN!" the
> writer implores. Messages like these have been pouring into inboxes since
> the inception of e-mail -- taking the old-fashioned chain letter from the
> post office to cyberspace. Chain letters are a particularly annoying form of
> spam because they often come from friends and promise negative consequences
> for not forwarding the message (bad luck or a lost chance at riches, for
> example).

> Choosing to forward a message, however, could get you in trouble. Many
> people don't know it is illegal to start or forward an e-mail chain letter
> that promises any kind of return. Anyone doing so could be prosecuted for
> mail fraud.

'Anyone doing so could be prosecuted for mail fraud.'


How can that possibly be correct? First of all, it suggests that the
post office has some sort of jurisdiction over e-mail, which it
clearly does not (mail fraud is investigated by postal
inspectors). But secondly, '_anyone_ doing so...' is preposterously



[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: You don't think other countries besides
the United States have laws against postal fraud; that postal fraud/
other crimes involving the mail and the investigation of same is
purely an American custom? Many countries investigate it intensively.
Even Nigeria has laws against postal fraud.

Further, American postal inspectors at least, have claimed
jurisdiction over certain kinds of email fraud, as well they
should. The United States takes the position -- and has been backed up
in court a few times -- that _you_ need not make a deposit in a a mail
receptacle to commit fraud, nor remove something from a mail
receptacle; *inducing someone else to do so as part of a fraud scheme*
makes you culpable. For example, you fill out an application on line
for some product or another, but do so fraudulently, and as a result,
some innocent third person person puts something in the mail to you or
to someone else. Postal inspectors claim if even some small portion
of the transaction takes place via US Mail and there was fraud
involved, then the rest of the transaction -- even the 90 percent or
better which was handled totally 'online' comes under their
jurisdiction as well. Here is an example: I go on line and give your
email name, real name and street address for a magazine subscription.
The magazine arrives, the publisher in good faith asks you to pay for
it. I committed fraud by causing that to happen. Postal inspectors can
investigate it. PAT]

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