[thelist] The Spam Argument [long] (was: Hiveware email addressencoder)

Steve Lewis nepolon at worlddomination.net
Fri Jul 25 14:26:25 CDT 2003

bruce wrote:

>your friend has arguments that are pretty much based on the fact that the
>costs of email are pretty much borne by someone else... when you or i or
>others send a moderate amoutn of email, it's not a big deal... you're
>willing to take the time to clean out your box, etc... there's a cost, but
>it's realtively small, so you don't complain....
>however, when someone starts to send massive (above some threshold) amounts
>of mail, the cost rises... and someone is still paying.. your friend is only
>able to do what she does, because part of her cost of doing business is
>being paid by someone else..
You hit the nail on the head, spammers can spam because the true costs 
are passed along to the public... in the US most advertising is 
subsidised one way or another, but spammers in particular pay very 
little of the cost of doing business and that is why it is cost 
effective.  They can buy address lists inexpensively, they can get 
access to an SMTP agent inexpensively, and the costs don't scale up 
quickly as there is no per-piece cost, little effectuve bandwidth 
limitation, and no target audience premium for every 5 seconds it takes 
to read the email and reach for the delete key.

So quit yapping and do something about it Bruce!  Write a replacement 
protocol for SMTP that requires senders to authenticate. It has to be a 
lightweight protocol because even without the weight of spam, email is a 
very important network service.  It has to allow authentication against 
an administrator's prefered user base (LDAP, SQL, PAM, BDB, whatever)

Then write an easy to install and administer piece of software for 
Windows and *nix that uses this protocol.  Make this software also 
accept plug-ins:
- virus scanning
- accounting (so that ISPs can regulate the amount of email traffic 
their users can generate, and potentially charge them per email)
- distributed black-listing service so that ISPs can identify and refuse 
incoming mail from problematic hosts

We need a better protocol and MTA to do some of this, and you know you 
cannot replace SMTP completely so build it with that in mind.

>allow you to "own" your email address... and allow you to sign up for a do
>not spam list. make it illegal for anyone to send "spam" to an address you
>"legally own"..make it leagal for companies to sue spammers based upon them
you are kidding right?  check some mail headers, most spam *I* receive 
comes from Hungary, China, etc... international laws against spam would 
be a joke even if you could get them.

>raise the cost of doing email....by some 10000%..however, have a mechanism
>in place that says if yousend less than x/month..you don't pay...
you can do that among reputable and major ISPs in some countries, but 
getting China onboard will be difficult.  Better have a server-blacklist 
to refuse connections from.


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