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Bill Jones campaign hit for e-mail spam

March 2, 2002 

The Web site of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Jones was shut down awhile yesterday after his Internet provider kicked it out for sending political spam e-mails.

The Web site was down at least several hours after the service provider concluded that the latest mass e-mailing violated the spirit of their contract, which forbids spamming. The Jones campaign later found another Internet provider.

Word to the Wise, an anti-spamming consulting firm in Redwood City, tracked the Jones e-mails and said last night that they were routed apparently without permission through a server in South Korea.

Although the mass political e-mail messages do not violate anti-spamming laws in this country, Steve Atkins, chief technical officer for Word to the Wise, said the use of the South Korean server may have violated laws in that country.

The high-tech dustup began Wednesday, when Jones' campaign sent out about 1 million e-mails. Most went to California addresses, but some ended up as far away as Canada, England and France.

Jones spokesman Darrel Ng denied the campaign staff had knowingly done anything wrong and defended the use of e-mails. He acknowledged receiving a couple of dozen complaints.

Ng said the campaign hired a Southern California firm called Strevenue to distribute the e-mails. Ng said it was his understanding that the company relied on legitimate means to get the e-mails out.

He apologized for any errant e-mail messages sent to non-California residents and said the campaign would not condone any unauthorized use of foreign servers.

"We see this as an innovative way of direct voter contact," said Ng.

The Jones campaign previously sent out mass e-mails in January and December.

by Ryan Kim, Chronicle Staff Writer. Copyright © 2002 San Francisco Chronicle

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