Originally Posted April 23, 1997
(and still valid oh-so-many years later!)

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by Jayne Cravens
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JUNK EMAIL can cost you your job!

Written and originally posted by dheaton at visi dot com on the news.admin.net-abuse.email newsgroup in September 1997. Reprinted here by permission from dheanton.

Subject: Well, it almost happened.

Today I had a major scare. About a year ago, cluelessly, I posted for a while in some of the Mac-related newsgroups with my actual work email address in the Reply field. I eventually got harvested, and Cyber Promotions started sending me crap at work.

After a while it began to bug me, so I had our email admin change my work address to something different so that the junk would bounce. I munged my address in newsgroups (hid it completely, rather) and the flow stopped. Since that time, not a single junk email.

Today my boss's boss's boss called me into HR. They had started disciplinary proceedings against me. Why? Some yahoo had been checking the bounced email logs and saw a pornographic email spam (Teenage Sluts!) sent to my OLD address! "It looks like you asked for this," says B's B's B. "This is very serious."

My heart nearly stopped. I became furious. I explained that I am *scrupulous* about my internet access at work, avoiding all sites that are the least bit questionable. I have my own account at home. I explained about email spam, what it is, how the address harvesters get their addresses. I also chided (through him) the person that started this process for things even having gone as far as they did. This was easily recognizable as spam, I never saw it, and it wasn't my email address any more. Nor was there anything in the body that indicated any interaction between the spammers and myself. I explained that this message may be going to hundreds of employees, and that they have *no control* over getting them. I was at least able to defend myself. What about Joe User who has no clue? How could they possibly avoid being fired? How could they prove they didn't ask for it?

My B's B's B apologized, promised to destroy the disciplinary paperwork, and has promised to set up a meeting between me and the people responsible for policing the employee's use of the net. I am going to give them a carefully worded piece of my mind about what constitutes evidence of abuse, and educate them in spam and all that is going on out there.

I am also going to take a far more active role in the Smith Bill.

This has GOT to stop.

Now, 20 years later, with the proliferation of pornography-related junk email, IT managers don't blink at someone's work email address receiving porn spam - because we all can receive it, even if we never post to an online group.

Still, there are still advice here that's still valid:
Also see these blogs on somewhat related subjects
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