The CAN-SPAM bill examined
Posted Dec 4, 2003 21:06 UTC (Thu) by gswoods
Parent article: The CAN-SPAM bill examined
The idea that government interference won't solve the problem is not new, it is rather obvious. You don't have to look any further than the War on Politically Incorrect Drugs and the Civil Rights of the Innocent ("War on Drugs", for short). Has this approach solved the drug problem? I would argue that it's made it worse, since addicts now have to admit to being criminals before they can get help, and we have thousands of people incarcerated for drug crimes who have never directly harmed anyone else. Keep in mind that drug dealers, unless they use force to make their clients use their product (or target children), aren't the ones doing harm, those who choose to take drugs are responsible for whatever harm is done to them. There are already laws against things that addicts might do while high or in order to obtain drugs that cause harm to others.
I am not trying to make a direct analogy between drugs and spam, but the point is that trying to control a social problem by making it illegal rarely works, almost always has side effects that are worse than the original problem, and it gives people a false sense of security. I believe that technical solutions can eventually make it unprofitable to spam, which is the ONLY thing that can effectively end it. As long as it's profitable, spammers (who already don't much care what laws they violate) will continue to spam.
I personally like the idea of SPF (Sender Permitted From), where sites can indicate in their DNS records which IP addresses are allowed to initiate mail that purports to be from that domain. If this spreads netwide, it can put a virtual end to e-mail forgery, which will go farther than any law in getting rid of spam. I could block 99% of all unsolicited spam if I could reject any mail whose sender address either doesn't exist or doesn't come from one of the real mail servers for that domain.
to post comments)