2009-11-18 How we discovered Verizon's Spamdetector could be twisted into a disguise for censorship

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<hide> <let name=data index=Date>2009-11-18</let> <let name=data index=Authors>\Paul Fitzgerald\Elizabeth Gould</let> <let name=data index=Source>Boiling Frogs</let> <let name=data index=Topics>\Verizon\US censorship\accountability\war on the internet\spam</let> <let name=data index=URL>http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2009/11/18/how-we-discovered-verizons-spamdetector-could-be-twisted-into-a-disguise-for-censorship/</let> <let name=data index=Title>How we discovered Verizon's Spamdetector could be twisted into a disguise for censorship!</let> <let name=data index=TitlePlain>How we discovered Verizon's Spamdetector could be twisted into a disguise for censorship</let>

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We had just emailed the link to our interview discussing the 'real' history of Afghanistan on Sibel Edmonds's boilingfrogspost. As soon as it was emailed a Verizon response spit back immediately with a notice declaring the email we had just sent was spam. When the culprit turned out to be our friend Sibel's website we called Verizon to clear up the problem. This was clearly not spam and should be easily reinstated, we thought. While a very chatty employee attempted and failed to fix our problem, we innocently asked how can we get this address back in business. That is when the real fun began. According to the laws of Verizon Central, once you've been labeled spam, there is only one course of action and it goes like this:

  1. Verizon uses an unnamed third party who decides what is spam.
  2. This unnamed third party also reviews complaints like ours.
  3. We were told to send the "offending" email to spamdetector.update@verizon.net.
  4. The unnamed third party would make a secret decision within 24 hours.
  5. If the unnamed third party decides it is spam, regardless of our complaint we will not hear back.

That's it. There is no recourse to challenge the decision. There isn't even a confirmation that the email we sent to this third party was received at all. Of course, after 24 hours we still couldn't send out an email containing the link.

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