Avalanche of Spam: Three questions to MEP Jean-Marie Cavada

Three questions to MEP Jean-Marie Cavada (ALDE).

Internet regulation policy tends to trigger some strange phenomena, not least if it’s about copyright.

Rumours of spambots flooding MEPs with emails

Netopia heard rumours of spambots flooding MEPs with emails about the upcoming plenary vote on the copyright reform. Netopia talked to MEP Cavada who has been on the receiving end of this avalanche of spam.

How many e-mails have you received about the copyright vote?

We received tens of thousands of emails on the copyright directive, almost 40,000 to be exact. This influx of email has even blocked the computer of one of my colleagues. It becomes spamming.

How do you take this great interest? Are they real grassroots?

I do not know if we can speak of a “great interest”, to be honest 99% of the emails we receive are copy-and-paste, it is the same emails that arrive constantly. That is why we cannot imagine that these emails are grassroots. We know very well that these messages are generated by platforms, which we will not mention the name to not give them more publicity than they deserve, for the sole purpose of saturating the mailboxes of MEPs.

We know very well that these messages are generated by platforms

After having analyzed the platform from which all emails come, I realized that it does not require a valid email address from the “users” to send emails. Thus, as sometimes we receive dozens of emails per minute, we can conceive that it is actually robots that send all these emails, which luckily makes this movement lose credibility.

How does it influence your position on the proposals?

As I explained, this movement is not very credible. In addition to the doubt that it is really “concerned citizens” who send these emails, the content is also to question.

I am in favor of fair and proportionate remuneration for artists and performers, and I also want greater accountability of platforms in the digital age to enable the transfer of value.

Indeed, this email campaign is also a campaign of disinformation where untruths are constantly repeated.

My position has been clear for years, and especially since the negotiations on this directive began: I am in favor of fair and proportionate remuneration for artists and performers, and I also want greater accountability of platforms in the digital age to enable the transfer of value. I am convinced that this position is the position that must be taken to safeguard European culture, and although open to discussion, nothing has at the moment convinced me to the contrary.

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  1. […] In June 2018, the European Parliament received an unprecedented number of emails, with MEPs reporting 40,000 emails in a short space of time. The net effect was many were classified as spam given the content was “cookie cutter”, and the emails sending the messages could not be reached, or verified. In the weeks that followed, an investigation has uncovered a warren of deceit and finance for the campaign against the Copyright directive that leads back to N-Square, Google and cohorts with many saying these organisations were responsible for spamming MEPs – a hack on democracy. Suffice to say, MEPs were not impressed. […]

  2. […] have pointed out that the mass spamming of MEPs in the copyright vote earlier this summer was orchestrated by Silicon Valley rather than […]

  3. Simon Långström

    There’s not just bots. What may be happening is that few people actually care about writing their own uniuqe messages, and if you thunk people aren’t concerned – just look at some od the tweets abouy this. People ARE concerned.

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