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Lyle Zapato


Lyle Zapato | 2005-10-03.6240 LMT | Letters | Complaints Department

In response to my response to some hat-related spam, our friends at Star Position dropped us a letter:

One of my people emailed you in error. You've seen fit to put her phone number on it. In case it has not dawned on you, you are actually by doing this in violation of certain Penal Codes for the State of California -> look up 'cyberterrorism' 'cyberstalking' specifically California Penal Code 646.9 'actions which would be designed to put an individual in fear for their safety'

I'm going to look at your site again in 24 hours. You are going to be a good chap and remove any phone numbers from any postings relating to my company, Star Position. And before you blow this off, or do something truly even more stupid than what you have done, I suggest you do a google search for California Penal Code 646.9 and related topics. We are based in California.

Best Regards,

Robert Sexton
Director of Business Development, Star Position US and Star Position UK

Toll Free: [REDACTED!], extension [REDACTED!]
International: [REDACTED!]

Star Position US: WWW.[REDACTED!].COM
Star Position UK: WWW.[REDACTED!].CO.UK

Proud member of the Better Business Bureau

Apparently, revealing telephone numbers for businesses, even ones that are routinely spammed to public listserves and fora (see here, here, here, here, and here), constitutes "cyberterrorism" in California, at least in Rob's view.

(Here's the actual text of the 646.9 code. I'll leave it up to the reader to figure how repeating a publicly available business number once constitutes two or more acts of harassement against a specific person with a credible threat to his or her safety. Also note that "terrorism", cyber or otherwise, appears nowhere in the text. But hey, it sounds cool.)

Anyway, to ease any fears, rational or otherwise, that Rob or his people might have for their safety by having their business numbers in one additional place on the Net that I may have unintentionally caused, I have redacted the numbers from this and the previous email. I also redacted the web addresses above, since I'm just that good of a chap.

On a side note, Rob's people seem to have some issues with sending emails in error. Perhaps he will be a good chap and look into fixing that.

UPDATE 2007-09-03: (I just noticed I forgot to link to the post that prompted the above exchange, so I updated the first sentence accordingly.)

My attention was drawn back here thanks to an email from Amy Alkon at the Advice Goddess Blog, who has had a run in with Rob. She was fed up with getting spam from him and his refusal to remove her from his spam lists after repeated requests, so she contacted one of the clients he spams for. That got his attention, and he promptly threatened to sue her for "tortuous interference with a business". Responding to Alkon's complaint on the Better Business Bureau site, he then told some fibs (according to Alkon) and summarized his response as "Ms. Alkon needs to calm down". Funny, coming from a guy who accuses random bloggers of "cyberterrorism".

End of post.