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What is water14 and why do I have 144 emails from it?

So I woke up this morning to 163 emails in my work Inbox. Normally on a everyone-is-on-holiday day like today, I'd have 15-20 (and another couple hundred filtered to different folders). Anyways, quickly glancing across the subject lines and senders indicated that something had indeed blown up.

The envelope senders from these were water14-at-umich (if it's still live I don't want more crap coming through it), so it came through that list, but the senders were some people complaining, and a lot of list auto-responders complaining about not being authorized to post. Great, apparently this list has no checks for the from address either. The first one of the bunch appears to be a phishing scheme about eBay originated from Iceland. One person replys with a URL to the list info page with guesses about unsubscribing, and the list name sounds sorta familiar.

water14. That sounds like a water filtration project research data request I got spammed with last year (it was unsolicited, and to an address that was either harvested directly way back or bought on a list). Looking back in the spam folder I find the original message, and it lines up with the info on the list info page. Given who's apparently on the list (lots of list addresses and other random .edu people who don't know about it), I'm thinking this list was definitely not built using legit means. So an email goes out to abuse at umich with info on the correlation (and headers from the original since it was from November 2004 and likely out of the logs). It appears the list had already settled down, maybe they shut it off (although it more tapered off). I just hope the info will let them shut it down permanently (maybe after an apology to the recipients) and let the people who started the thing know that they did bad stuff.

By Jeremy on 2005/12/29 at 14:36:03

Huh. The original email apparently hit public archives too -