Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Newsflash: People want Less Spam!

In yet another "dog bites man" photo opportunity for New York's grandstanding politicos (this time its Senator Charles Schumer), your tax dollars organized a press conference to announce that people don't like spam (the email stuff, not the mystery meat). As reported by CNet ("Study: Do-not-spam plan winning support"), "...79 percent said they want laws to ban or limit spam." Well, duh. Only 79%? Senator Chuck proposes a "Do Not Spam" list akin to the current "Do Not Call" list. Since we don't know whether the Do Not Call list is effective or not just yet (and won't, really, for at least six months) its hard to work up the enthusiasm - at least on my part - to expand the "do not" lists (anybody else want a "do not knock on my door" list?).

As any email consultant who's being truthful will tell you, though, its not a question of outlawing spam but of enforcing those laws. What we usually end up with are proposals for "solutions" which are so draconian that the cure is worse than the disease. Vipul Ved Prakash, founder and chief scientist for Cloudmark, has an interesting piece in MIT Technology Insider which demonstrates why improved filtering technology (admittedly, the product Cloudmark wants to push) is a much better solution than others suggested because it doesn't require fundamental changes in the way we create, send and read email. Don't Break E-Mail To Save It is a thoughtful and thought provoking look at an admitted problem without the hysteria Chuckie Schumer is trying to incite.

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