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spam control again

On Mon, 14 Jul 2003, Jerry Feldman wrote:

> On Sun, 13 Jul 2003 01:05:38 -0400 (EDT)
> "Rich Braun" <richb at> wrote:
> > Spam needs to made at least as illegal, and as aggressively enforced,
> > as small-time drug dealing.
> As I was preparing for my talk on Wednesday, I thought a bit about SPAM.
> Making something illegal, and enforcing it are two very different
> things. 
> You brought up some things yesterday. One thought I had was to require
> every email message to have a valid digital signature. (Personally I
> prefer using OpenPGP, but there are other valid methods). With a digital
> signature much of the SPAM could be blocked early in the chain. And,
> those legitimate vendors could still send out bulk email. 
> The downside of this is that just about every email client would need to
> verify and produce a digital signature. We already have the standards
> for this in place and most email clients have the capability built in or
> available as plugins. 
> I think the enforcement of any anti-SPAM measure must be implementable
> on the Internet. While this requirement would take some time to
> implement it would provide a mechanism that we already posess. 
> While I was not able to locate the specific article, I recall the
> Microsoft and Yahoo are partnering to find ways to block SPAM. However,
> I think that state laws against SPAM are not enough. We need as a
> minimum a national law or even an international legal agreement.
While I hate SPAM as much as the next person, I think laws restricting or 
banning it do more harm then good. While it's easy to support and agree 
with laws that stop SPAM and child pornography, we can't lose sight of the 
fact that this is censorship. Companies have come along in the last few 
years and begun to use the Internet for their own benefit, we must be 
careful not to allow government to do the same.

Today, SPAM is outlawed "in the public interest". What next? Encrypted 
e-mails? e-mails criticizing the administration? e-mails destined to a 
person living in one the "axis of evil" countries?

I'm not a paranoid anti-gov't Michigan millitia type person. But as of 
late, I have really started to appreciate the LACK of governement 
influence on the Internet, and I think it would be a disaster if this 

SPAM is NOT so big a problem that we need the governemnt to step in and 
I've had the same e-mail address for almost a decade, and have used it on 
usenet and the web alike. But with proper filterring the amount of SPAM in 
my e-mail box is comparable to the amount in the mailbox in front of my 

If you leave your front door wide open, then perhaps you should consider 
locking it before calling the police and complaining that people are 
stealing from you.

SPAM can be fought successfully at the community level.


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