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Dmitry Sklyarov, spamware author? Elcomsoft sells email harvester


To: declan@well.com
From: lists@alquds.uk.com (Shakib Otaqui)
Date: Tue, 07 Aug 2001 18:23:39 +0100 (BST)


You may be interested in a letter I wrote to John Naughton, _The
[London] Oberver's_ technology writer, about a column in which he
berated the prosecution of Sklyarov:

I agree with the main thrust of your article regarding Adobe's
foolishness and the iniquity of the DMCA.  However, my sympathy
for Sklyarov is moderated by knowledge of his company's most
profitable product lines.

   "The 26-year-old Sklyarov is the lead programmer at a Russian
   software company called ElcomSoft, which produces a range of
   ingenious (and reasonably priced) products, including a program
   that scans incoming emails to make quasi-intelligent judgments
   about how they should be categorised and filed. ElcomSoft has
   also taken an interest in the technology behind 'electronic
   books', and in particular in the claims that e-book encryption
   software protects the rights of copyright holders."

"Ingenious" is not the word I'd choose to describe these two

   Advanced Direct Remailer     (bulk emailer)

   Advanced Email Extractor     (WWW email harvester)

Here's their own description of the latter, as listed in a
shareware announcement newsletter:

   Program Name - Supported Platforms - Type - Category
   Advanced Email Extractor PRO - Win95/98/ME/NT4/2000 - Mail tools -

   Company/Author: ElcomSoft Co. Ltd.
   Email: support@mailutilities.com
   Price: $99.95
   Download file size: 729 KB
   Installed Size: 2 MB
   Program Homepage/Download url: http://www.mailutilities.com/aee/

   Advanced Email Extractor (AEE) is designed to extract e-mail addresses
   from web-pages on the Internet (using HTTP and HTTPS protocols) and
   from HTML and text files on local disks. AEE supports operation
   through a proxy-server and works very fast, as it is able of loading
   several pages simultaneously, and requires very few resources. It is
   possible to launch AEE in fully automatic mode through the command
   prompt. AEE has various limiters of scanning range, using which you
   can extract only the addresses you actually need from web-pages,
   instead of extracting all the addresses present there. You can not
   only limit scanning depth and width, you also can cut off unnecessary
   paths using patterns or just delete them from jobs list during
   operation. AEE is very flexible and may be used to extract e-mail
   addresses with owners real names from "simple sites" as well as from
   web-forums built on scripts and from servers like ZDNet.

Elcomsoft peddles spamware - the software behind the junk email
that blights use of the internet.  They profit from the misery
they inflict on people deluged by porn, scam get-rich-quick
schemes, questionable and often downright dangerous quack
medication, and the like.

There are, unfortunately, no laws covering Elcomsoft and their ilk.
If there were, I would hope that Sklyarov and his associates
would be spending a very long time in jail.

Shakib Otaqui


Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2001 16:53:51 +0100
From: David Cantrell <david@cantrell.org.uk>
To: Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
Subject: Re: FC: Why Dmitry Sklyarov belongs in jail, by inside.com's R. 
Parloff (resend)

 > Free Dmitry? Spare Me.: Why the FBI Was Right to Arrest the Internet's
 > Latest Martyr
 > Civil liberties advocates, programmers and cryptographers are up in arms
 > about the arrest of a Russian programmer for distributing software that
 > strips Adobe eBook Reader of its copy-protection. They shouldn't be,
 > Inside's legal editor argues.
 > by Roger Parloff

This argument only holds water if you are one of those who believes that US
laws apply the world over.  Sure, they apply in the US, and an argument can
be made for them applying to US citizens when they are outside the US, but
to suggest that they apply to non-US citizens outside the US is ridiculous.

Did Sklyarov commit a crime in the US?  No.  He wrote his software in
Russia.  Did Elcomsoft commit a crime in the US?  No, as Elcomsoft is in
Russia.  The only people involved over which the US has jurisdiction are
the payment agents, and it is not clear to me that they even knew what
the product was - if they're anything like the other comapnies, like Kagi,
which act as intermediaries for shareware authors, then they would have no
idea what the product was as it would be impractical for them to vet it
before offering it to the public.

* - I'm quite happy to accept this argument *if* the author also accepts
that (eg) British law applies everywhere.  We'll start by locking Bush up
for being an accomplice to murder, as proven by his participation in the
state-sponsored murder of convicted criminals.

David Cantrell | david@cantrell.org.uk | http://www.cantrell.org.uk/david

Do not be afraid of cooking, as your ingredients will know and misbehave
    -- Fergus Henderson


Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2001 14:23:14 -0400 (EDT)
From: "James B. DiGriz" <jbdigriz@dragonsweb.org>
To: Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
cc: politech@politechbot.com, rparloff@inside.com
Subject: Re: FC: Why Dmitry Sklyarov belongs in jail, by inside.com's R.
  Parloff (resend)
In-Reply-To: <>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.21.0108071355120.896-100000@ns2.i16.net>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
X-UIDL: 6ccd68bdce9bfda43314249a30d737d0

On Tue, 7 Aug 2001, Declan McCullagh wrote:

 > [The inside.com link I sent out last week has since moved behind the
 > subscription firewall. Roger and inside.com have graciously allowed me to
 > redistribute his article in full. --Declan]
 > ---
 > While we can all applaud the Electronic Frontier Society and its allies for
 > their dogged and vigilant commitment to free speech, every once in awhile it
 > would be refreshing to see those advocates show a comparable commitment to
 > candid speech.

Yes, Mr. Parloff  makes a  persuasive case for federal leglislation to
address  the growing problem of sophistry. I've become so concerned, in
fact, that I've spoken to my representative, and he's introducing, as a
rider to a campaign finance reform bill, an amendment which will do
exactly that. Meanwhile I'm submitting draft proposals for state
legislation for comment to the UCITA and Internet Taxation committees, as
well. Thank you so much, Roger, for bringing this to our attention, as
otherwise this menace to semantic content might otherwise have gone
ignored. With your help, though, perhaps we will be able to make even
politicians accountable for their words.


"My, what splendid clothing, Your Highness!"


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