"Of course, that's just my opinion, and I may
be full of shit"
- Dennis Miller -
Since this opinion was considered in great detail,
it will be difficult to change my mind. However, it's not impossible. I
am always open to reason. I welcome well thoughtful, logical, response.
Recorded Nov 8, 1998
Most everyone dislikes Spam (a slang term for Unsolicited Electronic Mail,
the common cases are know as UCE
and Spam). However,
some individuals have a warped attitude about it. Certainly, I am against
and the con, and any mail sent anonymously or
in attempts to defraud recipients (please read this
page I wrote on fraudulent email). On the other hand, legitimate mass mail
serves a purpose and its opponents are extremists.
Society has been through this sort of thing on many occasions, and we
have all agreed that some inconvenience is acceptable for legitimate communication
and commerce. Legitimate Spam is no different than the flyers we subsidize
to be sent to our houses via "bulk permits", and pay to have disposed in
our land fills. The list of precedents goes on, and exemplifies why legitimate
Unsolicited Electronic Mail is acceptable and here to stay, despite its
What bugs me is the recent rash of vigilantes who think that they have
a right to employ any method to thwart legal Spam. These individuals lump
all spam together, harass innocent bystanders by mistaking
the source of spam, harass legitimate senders using mafia
style extortion techniques, and endeavor to mechanically
censor internet email traffic. A more recent article
by CNN talks about these vigilanty issues. This is all quite reminiscent
of the extreme right to life activists who kill doctors, forgetting that
this makes them worse than those they criticize.
In specific, you should be aware that you (yes, you personally) may
be prohibited by these extremists from
exchanging any mail with some Internet users; that means legitimate, regular
mail. This is because the delivery system used on the internet groups unrelated
individuals by association over which they have essentially no control.
In the same way you are associated with all the individuals that live in
your home town, so the internet automatically associates you with other
individuals based on your Internet Service Provider. The commitment to
this censorship technique is stated clearly on
this page: "The MAPS RBL is a system for creating intentional network
outages for the purpose of limiting the transport of known-to-be-unwanted
mass e-mail." Such "network outages" are quite capable of effecting any
email delivery, not just intended "Spam".
But let me not waste my time writing about these extremists again, since
I already I did so recently when I came up against one of these individuals
- a spam complainant that sent me spam! Read our correspondence here,
and let it illustrate my point (it covers both extremists and fraudulent
email in one case).
Equally as distressing, is that large Internet backbone providers like
UUNet have set policies
on Unsolicited Email traffic that is far more stringent than the laws set
by our country. Since these "backbone" Internet providers are used by all
Internet Service Providers (ISP), they are monopolies since we have
no ability to avoid using them. So, despite that fact that our laws allow
legitimate Unsolicited Email, these monopolies are effectively banning
us from engaging in this legal activity. This is no different than price
fixing. These monopolies get away with this since it is not commonly known
what they are doing; and thus I am drawing attention here.
I am not the only one that believes that legitimate Spam has a place,
is here to stay, and that some of its opponents are out of control. Check
out the page Direct Email Advertisers Association
page, if you want to learn more about responsible mass email. Moreover,
there many moderate individuals who are opposed to spam but are fighting
it in a legitimate manor, such as discussed here;
and the page here lists a number
of anti spam sites, many of which make sense. When I compare my recent
readings of anti-spam web sites to those I read a couple months back, there
has been an obvious shift to fighting spam in a legitimate behavior; however,
there are still plenty of vigilantes out there.
So, some of these Spam haters are hypocritical weasels, out out of control.
And they may be blocking YOUR legitimate email. In the name of protecting
you, they have concluded that any measures are acceptable even if they
contradict their own purpose and current laws. You just don't know about
the measures they take. I just wanted to point that out!