back to article Google said to be taking steps to keep political campaign emails out of Gmail spam bin

Google has reportedly asked the US Federal Election Commission for its blessing to exempt political campaign solicitations from spam filtering. The elections watchdog declined to confirm receiving the supposed Google filing, obtained by Axios, though a spokesperson said the FEC can be expected to publish an advisory opinion …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Spam me with your political message and I won't vote for you. It's as simple as that.

    However politicians are about an order of magnitude worse than the rest of sales and marketing for thinking that the world is quivering with anticipation for their next fart, brain or otherwise, so the notion that their spam can do them harm will be incomprehensible to them.

  2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Seen this poo before

    It will work just like "opt-out" spam where a marketing category/list/phone is used only once before a new one is invented. Whether you opt out or not makes no difference.

    I strike candidates off my ballot when they send me email or SMS spam.

    1. FILE_ID.DIZ
      Trollface

      Re: Seen this poo before

      So... guess you probably don't vote for many races then eh? Maybe someone going for a water district seat and a judge or two? :)

      That was my grave mistake... giving my real phone number on my voter registration. That changed when I moved and needed to update my registration. Hopefully that updated record will start making its way through their databases, wiping out my real number with the bogus one.

      If fact, I didn't find out that governments sell these lists to anyone who can pony up the change. (They're not that expensive.) And I figured that out about 10-12 years ago when I gave a dedicated email address on my voter registration form and once the spam started spilling in, did some research and found that out.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Seen this poo before

        "with the bogus one"

        For extra points give the phone number of whatever office is responsible for flogging off the voter lists.

        1. FILE_ID.DIZ
          Thumb Up

          Re: Seen this poo before

          That's a fantastic idea. I usually stick with the NPA-NXX of my areacode and 555... but some places are starting to scrub for the now considerably more limited 555 NXX range.

          1. Brad Ackerman
            Trollface

            Re: Seen this poo before

            867-5309. The area code is unimportant; Jenny is omnipresent.

      2. Coastal cutie

        Re: Seen this poo before

        Fortunately in the UK, you can opt out of the list that is sold to marketing companies and anyone else with the dosh

    2. badflorist

      Re: Seen this poo before

      "Whether you opt out or not makes no difference."

      If you opt.out they know you're human.

    3. O RLY

      Re: Seen this poo before

      The SMS spam messages are worse, in my opinion, because of their immediacy of notification and I call for a pox on all houses who send political spam.

  3. VoiceOfTruth

    Hint to Google

    -> Google has reportedly asked the US Federal Election Commission for its blessing to exempt political campaign solicitations from spam filtering.

    Why not ask the FEC if it can dump all political campaign solicitations in the bin. Get the senders to register an approved "sent from" address, and direct them straight to the bin.

    In the UK we have the dubious pleasure of "party political broadcasts" on the television around general election time. I think about 10 people watch these. The rest put on the kettle and wait for them to finish. The collective "uhhhhhh" can be heard throughout the land. Politicians in their ivory towers think we listen for their every word. Whoever it is and whichever party it is, they are all much the same. From "there will be no whitewash at the White House" to "I did not inhale stateside", to "we are all in this together" in the UK. If I sound cynical it is with good reason.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Hint to Google

      "Whoever it is and whichever party it is, they are all much the same."

      The trouble is that it's only the worst of them that want you to think that. It's not actually true.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Hint to Google

        Having seen quite a lot of General Elections come and go, I have found it to be one of the truest things ever.

        I learned about the stupidity of idealism a long time ago.

        They are different in what they promise, but they are all the same in the constraints that they face when they achieve office. And despite how they try and present themselves, they are all the same self-serving sociopathic narcissists.

      2. iron Silver badge

        Re: Hint to Google

        In my 50 years on this planet, successive UK governements have proved you wrong. They all lie, cheat, steal, take us into illegal wars we don't want and all the time line the pockets of themselves, their wives and their cronies.

        A pox on all their houses.

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Hint to Google

          Again, the tory support media would want you to believe that they're all the same.

          They're not - but the apathy they can generate by saying that they are all the same is key to keeping the worst of them in power.

    2. Chris 239

      Re: Hint to Google

      IIRC back in the days of 3 TV channels in the UK some party political broadcasts were simultaneous on all 3 channels. ! Nightmare!

      At least in these days zillions of channels and streaming services they don't/can't do that so you can just go watch something else.

      Not that there is often anything actually worth watching on TV anymore.

      1. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

        Re: Hint to Google

        So true. There is always something better to do than watch TV.

        1. Evil Scot

          Re: Hint to Google

          Yes

          Switch off your TV set.

          Go out

          and do something less boring instead.

          1. IGotOut Silver badge

            Re: Hint to Google

            @evil scot

            You missed the first line...

            Why don't you.

            Yes I'm that old as well.

        2. Jedit Silver badge
          Pint

          "There is always something better to do than watch TV."

          Like post on The Reg.

      2. ITMA Bronze badge

        Re: Hint to Google

        "At least in these days zillions of channels and streaming services..."

        And there is still bugger all worth watching at times....

        1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

          Re: Hint to Google

          Fifty-seven channels and nothing on...

  4. YetAnotherXyzzy

    This is why I run my own mail server with my spam filter. Because obviously this stuff is the very definition of spam.

  5. anothercynic Silver badge

    This is spam...

    ... I don't want this rubbish in my mailbox. Thank you!

  6. DS999 Silver badge

    If they only email people who have donated in the past

    And respect "unsubscribe" links, I have no problem with political emails. But if it walks, talks and slaps you in the face like spam, then it deserves to be treated as spam!

  7. 42656e4d203239 Bronze badge

    errr

    Surely the spam filter is a system wide one? (rather than specifically adjusted for each user) so the percentages filtered by each mail provider reflect the political bias of their users... I seriously doubt that Google hard coded a left favouring bias in their Spam detector or that Microsoft similarly coded a right favouring bias in theirs.

    The big spam filters are claimed to be contextual, rather than based on senders email address, so quite how one might hard code political bias in a spam filter I really don't know - though AI may play a role.

    The GoP are concerned that their messages are reaching the libtards and the libtards are flagging it as spam, adjusting the alogrithm as a whole. Sucks to be the GoP spamming Gmail I guess, better luck with Microsfot users.

    1. Falmari Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: errr

      Looks like Microsoft are on the right track "left (95.8%) emails as spam than those of right (75.4 percent)."

      Just a little more tweaking of their spam filter and they will be binning the lot. Even Microsoft can get it right sometimes even if it is just by accident. :)

  8. Shuki26

    I will continue to help the spam identifier work better by marking all political emails as spam.

    I don't want it from any side.

  9. PK
    Mushroom

    Shouldn't that read ...

    ... Gmail is letting more left-wing spam get through and Outlook more right-wing spam?

    It's all going in the spam & burn folder if we start getting that s**t here in the UK

    1. Evil Scot

      Re: Shouldn't that read ...

      Boils my micturate that political campaigns are exempt from GDPR.

      "Dear Mr E. Scot

      Please vote for us in the local elections...Vague and empty promises...Photo of candidate at a charity that sprung from national government action/inaction.

      Save that BS for someone who wasn't ripped off by one of your former candidates.

  10. milliemoo83

    Now if only they could prevent blocked emails from actually reaching one's account instead of just dumping them in the bin.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Now if only they could prevent blocked emails from actually reaching one's account instead of just dumping them in the bin.

      My preference would be that those emails were returned to the nominal and actual sender without reaching my account.

  11. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Ha, spotted the last time around...

    I have a few burner Gmail addresses that are used when there is a requirement to provide an email address and I know it will get abused. All the R-brand stuff got put in the dustbin, all the D-brand stuff got delivered to the Inbox.

    As for the political comments posted here... Do you want the D-brand or the R-brand on the hand that steals the money from your pocket?

    There is no option to avoid the hand in the pocket, you only get to decide which marketing message you like better.

  12. John Geek
    Devil

    ugh, please don't do this. literally 50% of the messages in my spam folder daily are from the Trump Orgs seeking money.

  13. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    "Never forget"?

    In both the 2016, and 2020 elections, these pages reported research that Google was biasing search to favor the D nominee. And I was present at a TGIF (attended by a substantial % of G workers) in 2015 when a director bragged about changing the election results in a Central American country.

    It takes a "Some animals are more equal than others" kind of brazenness to claim that concerns of Republicans that they are getting unequal treatment regarding these filters.

    Without reading the details of the proposed bill (something which usually takes a JD & access to the Federal Register to decode anyway), the description sounds like they are wanting to require that campaign-related email requires an opt-out. An ugly, transparently self-serving bill? Certainly. But G in particular has no valid claim of neutrality, so these untraceable in-kind donations must be stopped if there is to be any hope of free and fair elections.

    The question that I have is: will the opt out actually work? I've got one company whose emails come through no matter how many filters I try to slap on it. (And yes, I only use gmail for work.)

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