Holger Bruns on 15 Oct 2000 16:17:00 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] More spam culture (fwd)

Date:         Sun, 15 Oct 2000 11:05:45 -0400
Reply-To:     mcclenon@erols.com
Sender:       Spam Prevention Discussion List <SPAM-L@PEACH.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
From:         Bob McClenon <mcclenon@EROLS.COM>
Subject:      Media:  Washington Post Article on Diploma Mills

There is a long feature article in The Washington Post on Sunday, 15
October 2000, on page F1, continued on page F3, about diploma mills
that advertise by spam.  Gene Weingarten, the author of the article, a
reporter for the Post, obtained a diploma from Brentwick University in
London.  The original price was $1400, but he was able to negotiate the
price down to $750 because that was the maximum amount that The
Washington Post was willing to pay.  The diploma was accompanied by
a transcript of courses supposedly taken between 1969 and 1973 and by
letters of recommendation from professors.  He and a woman named
Michelle negotiated the courses that were listed.

Weingarten consulted with a few experts.  They concluded that the
diploma mill did not actually break any law, but stayed just barely inside
the law.  In particular, Weingarten was not defrauded, and his money
was not obtained under false pretenses.  The international nature of the
operation avoids any specific state laws that might prohibit this sort of
operation.  On the other hand, the experts noted that the uses of phony
diplomas are mostly illegal.  The one actual untrue statement made by
Michelle involved Harvard University.  In acknowledging that Brentwick
University is unaccredited, she said that Harvard is also unaccredited.
Weingarten reported that this is a common myth among diploma mill
operators, and so may not have been an outright lie.  Harvard is

The Washington Post's L:ondon correspondent checked out the address
for Brentwick University and found that it is a mail processing business
in an unattractive area, and that Brentwick University is one of numerous

The price of $750 or $1400 for diplomas from diploma mills explains why
they are a preferred spam for spam ring operators like Rodona and

     - -   Bob McClenon

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