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Re: (OT) Fighting spam

by woolfy (Chaplain)
on Nov 17, 2003 at 10:07 UTC ( #307614=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to (OT) Fighting spam

Spammers are not all stupid, even though most of them are. And even the stupid ones, certainly the ones with adequate funding, have enough brains to hire people that are technically in-the-know regarding preventing spam being filtered, one way or the other. Everything that is invented by the antispammers can and will be counteracted by the spammers, sooner or later.

As with many other things it all boils down to human behavior, and sometimes that needs to be supported.

The safety of a nuclear power plant depends not only on technical provisions, rules and training, but mostly on the way humans deal with the techniques, rules and there everyday work. If they behave badly, we have Tchernobyl.

In traffic, safety depends on well-designed and well-built cars, good roads, traffic lights and other traffic regulating objects, and of course rules and training. The hugh number of deaths in traffic show that a lot of humans don't care about safety as much as we could hope for.

In a lot of cases, governments make up a lot of rules to increase safety. People who break those rules can get fined or go to jail (or have to do community service, undergo therapy etc).

The Dutch parliament is working on amandments to the telecommunications bill which will make sending spam illegal, and spammers have to prove for each and every email address they are sending spam to that they have the owner's permission to send spam. The new rules also have to be approved by the Dutch senate. The new rules are not as strict against spam as antispammers wanted or hoped for, but it is an important step in the good direction. The fines for spammers can be high, like over half a million dollars.

If more countries follow this example, and if all countries that have bills like this also work on prosecution of spammers, spamming will no longer be as profitable as it seems to be now. Enter the spam police and spam detectives. Maybe we will see a new profession: the spam bounty hunter. Hunt them down, get hot proof, arrest them, deliver them to justice and "hang" them in public.

On the other hand, we have to be careful with all possible rules and technical innovations: anonimity in many aspects in life can be good and must be protected. I don't want to pay everything with a credit card or bank card, I don't want the government or whoever to know my every move, my every word, my every wish. The world is still not the world depicted in 1984, but in some aspects it already is worse than Orwell every imagined. Please be careful with our freedom of mind, speech and actions, wherein anonimity can be a last resort.

Therefore I insist: the most important aspect is still the human aspect. As long as people react to spam, buy things from spammers, do business with spammers, it is profitable to spam. Just like speeding in traffic or not caring for pressing the right buttons in a nuclear power plant: stupidity and malice on the internet are just human, and rules, technical innovations and provisions, fines and whatever we can think of more, do not improve safety, happiness, quality of life.

But still, we must try. For my part, I'm trying to help myself first. I never react to spam. I've got a lot of email filters, and most of the spam I receive (30 to 100 a day) ends up in the spam bin, unseen and unread by me. I'm working towards a negative mail filter setup: only mail whose sender I know, will be received; all other mail is spam.

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