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How can the amount of undesired E-mail be reduced while preserving
the Freedom of Speech and the Business of product information?
E-mail has been said to be the "Killer Ap" of the Internet
in that it is often the reason that people use the Internet and
they spend much of their time in reading and sending E-mail. On
the other hand the percent of unintended E-mail had been growing
to the point that many people believe that it is polluting the
Internet, e.g. using bandwidth, storage, and personal time to
delete it, to the point that some are starting to abandon it.
No one wants "unintended" E-mail, but the problem of
eliminating "Spam" or UCE (Unsolicited Commercial E-mail)
from the Internet is based on the following considerations:
- Free speech (political)-- The Internet is a "public
space" in that it should allow people who have issues to
post them so that they can inform others. If all E-mail, except
for that that is requested is prohibited, then this eliminates
this as a way to start a conversation on important issues.
- Business -- There is a business model based on informing
people of products that they would not otherwise be informed
about, pajoritivly called "Junk Mail". If only requested
E-mail is permitted then the people and products that are involved
in this sector of our economy will be unemployed and we will
not be able to learn about products that we might have otherwise.
Note: There is also a Free speech issue if such commercial speech
- Uncertainly -- One of the problems is that there is
a "fine line" between unintended E-mail and mail that
a person wants to see. Any proposal to eliminate Spam might
also lead to eliminating mail that is desired.
- Lack of Boundaries -- In addition, since the Internet
is global, there is the problem that even if Spam were illegal
in a state, or in the entire US, then it could be issued from
a site outside the area that the law covers, e.g. say the Caiman
Also see: EFF
One proposal, being made by Rep.
Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose and Larry
Lessig, Stanford law professor would require unsolicited commercial
e-mail's to be identified as advertising -- and then put a bounty on
anyone who breaks that law See:
SJM . In a discussion with Declan
McCullagh, Dr Lessig has stated that if such a law is passed and
it does not reduce the level of Spam, he will resign, See: the details
of his statement, and the acceptance.
This is to be discussed at Stanford, Monday April 27-th. See:
Questions for the Monday meeting, MLL
- Is there some way to get this bill passed?
- Perhaps it can be looked at as an Anti-terrorism, as Viruses
are usually passed through SPAM and thus such a bill would possibly
reduce the CYBRO-teriorism,
- Perhaps if we can up the anti for passing it, e.g. We agree
to purchase a copy protected version of the Matrix if it is passed,
then the MPAA might support it, or if we point out that Dr. Lessig
will resign and thus be less effective if it is passed, and ineffective,
then the MPAA might support it to get rid of him.
- If this is effective, then how does it preserve the "Public
Space" of the Internet? The problem is that it throws out the
Baby, e.g. interesting un-requested mail, with the bath water, e.g.
undesired Frauds, Pornography, and other Commercial Bulk mail.
- I suspect that the bounty needs to have some way to be paid "early".
The FTC may take years to finish a trial and what we may need is a
bounty fund, perhaps started as a "charity" by us annoyed
users, that pays for the identification, and then is repaid when a
case is settled. It may be that the Law could reserve some additional
money to support such a fund for early payment.
Note: I am currently looking for a "proponent"
for the bulk mail position, who supports the current state of no government
involvement in the control of such mail, except for such libertarian
sites as Cato: Whatever
Happened to Leaving the Internet Unregulated? and John Gilmore's
article: What to do about Spam? Use
smarter mail readers, , though there are sites that advertise
for distribution of bulk mail and for individual services and programs
for the filtering of such mail.
Note: I am also currently looking for the exact
wording of the bill to see its details.
Current ways to reduce
- Manually delete it from your Inbox
- Write filters in your E-mail client, "Outlook
Express", "Eudora..." that will move suspicious mail
to "SPAM" folders or delete it.
- Use general scripts that compute the probability
of a message being Spam, and dealing with it accordingly
- Have lists of bad senders and move or delete mail from them. Note:
This can be done locally, or by a service, BrightMail, SpamCop, etc.
- Have lists of good senders and keep or don't more mail from them
Proposals to reduce Spam by "law":
- Require Spam to be labeled: ADV, ADV:ADLT, etc. -- The problem is
that it may be hard to enforce as the originators may not be easily
traced, Lessig's proposal tries to approach this problem
- Have an enforced government list of people who do not want to be Spammed.
-- It may be difficult to enforce and prevents any un-requested mail
from being delivered.
- Charge the sender of E-mail for delivering it, possibly $0.01 per
mail, -- The problem is that the sender may be over seas, the procedure
for micro-charging is not developed, and we have not been in the practice
of such charging, so it alters the "ecology" of the Internet.
'Anti-Spam' Bill a Fraud by Dan Gillmor, May 15, 2003 (Washington
- CAUCE Opposes
Burns-Wyden Bill in its current form, May 12, 2003, (CANSPAM
Act of 2002)
that spam -- Here's a look at eight antispam apps and services.
By Daniel Tynan CNET, April 24, 2003
giants take on spam, by BBC news, 28 April, 2003
- A modest proposal
to end spam, By Declan McCullagh, April 28, 2003
- Spam Laws, proposed and enacted, in the United
States and its various
states, and the current
case law. 22 April 2003
- What to do about Spam? Use
smarter mail readers, by: John Gilmore, 28 Feb 2002
- The Spam Problem: Moving
Beyond RBLs, Realtime Blackhole Lists, by: Philip Jacob, 3 January,
- EFF Statement against HR
3888 Spam Bill, July 29, 1998, and against California anti-Spam
1629, Sept. 9, 1998
- Google search: Spam,
Spam programs I have tried or considered
- Challenge-Response (Whitelist/Blacklist)
- Bayes Filter -- Based on SpamAssassin
-- is an automatic mail classification tool (Web interface for training)
-- A Heuristic / Baysen rule proxy -- Doc,
- Spam@Bay -- Future
commertial SpamBayes Implementation (Only Outlook Xp..., not
The-book, Site-map, Mailto:
July 6, 2003 16:17