Thursday, October 30, 2003

Bad News: People are coming to the realization that there really isn't anything anyone can do about e-mail spam. Although Congress has created a "Do Not Call" registry for telemarketers, nothing similar could be created for spam. Many spammers are international, out of reach of U.S. laws. And they usually hijack other people's e-mail addresses, making it nearly impossible to track them down.

Some people have suggested making e-mail fee-based, so you have to pay money to the person you want to receive your e-mail. The theory goes that people could waive the fees for their friends and make a profit off the spammers -- also taking the economic incentive away from bulk e-mail. But people will want to keep their e-mail open. Otherwise we could simply create a list of e-mail addresses from which we would accept messages. That would be too exclusionary for our taste. And if we can't track down spammers, there's no way we could force them to pay any fees.


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