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

Re: State of the Internet, 2005

Robert Bonomi (
Mon, 03 Oct 2005 14:38:21 -0000

In article <>, Henry
<> wrote:

> 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?

In the United States, that statement _is_ 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).

You are, in fact, *WRONG* on that count. The post office _does_ have
jurisdiction over certain activities conducted by means other than
postal mail.

The USPIS handles investigation/enforcement of 18 USC 1342.

Which includes frauds that _induce_ victims to send money

If the 'scheme to defraud' involves the use of the postal mail system
*in*any*way* then the crime of 'mail fraud' applies.

> But secondly, '_anyone_ doing so...' is preposterously Americano-centric.

The exact same jurisdictional rule (post office has jurisdiction
(albeit not necessarily 'exclusive' jurisdiction) over anything that
uses mails as _any_ part of the fraud) applies in Canada, the U.K.,
Germany, France, Japan, Australia, (those places I have specific
knowledge of) and most of the rest of the world. Even Nigeria.

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