A group of technologists calling themselves the ‘Net Police' have helped rescue the reputation of an Australian Internet service provider (ISP) unfairly accused of hosting ‘spam' emails.
Unbeknown to ISP Labyrinth Connections, an unrelated Internet pornography venture had hijacked its Internet Protocol (IP) address, making it appear as though Labyrinth was responsible for sending out hundreds of emails, many of a hardcore sexual nature. When angry recipients ran trace-route programmes to find out where the emails were coming from, Labyrinth's name came up. As a result, the ISP was listed as a sender of spam on an Internet service called SPEWS (Spam Prevention Early Warning System).
Leaping into action, the self-styled Net Police ran their own trace-route programmes to find the source of the offensive material, eventually tracking it back to an ISP in Germany.
After being alerted to the problem, Labyrinth quickly moved its outgoing mail to an unaffected server and reported the incident to the local police force – an action which the Net Police fully supported. According Glenn Barry, a member of the vigilante group: “We may be the Net Police, but we’re not the police police.”