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Steve Marr Blog

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Jan 09
2003

How to Stop the Junk Mail

Posted by: Steve Marr

Tagged in: Untagged 

Our email in boxes fill up with unwanted commercial solicitations-some of them smutty and vulgar-and we shout, "Somebody do something!"

 

In response, California passed a law banning spam or any other form of unsolicited e-mail. However, this and similar legislation misses the mark. It threatens to hamper Internet freedoms, without any guarantee of relief. 


For example, the California law bans all unsolicited email. So you have to ask, "Just what is unsolicited email?" That may sound dumb, but what if a church starts a program by sending email to all its members? Does that violate the new law?


Most hate unsolicited email, but when firms sell 1 million addresses for $1,000 and only a tiny response brings profits to spammers, the incentive to go right on offending us-to make a buck-remains alive and well.
What's going to stop it?

 

  • Many bulk mailers allow customers to hide their true identity. If you cannot discern who sent the mail, you cannot report it as an abuse, nor can it be stopped by junk-filtering systems. Legally, using a false address to hide a sender's identity amounts to fraud. Bulk mailers should voluntarily stop this, or both parties should be prosecuted.
  • Improved mail-server software is a hope, too, as it blocks unwanted solicitations, the new improvements promising a better job of it.
  • More government regulation, however, is not the answer.


The Net prospers because it is free, in the main, from government regulations. Restrictions, even those banning spam, will lead to even more legislation-including laws creating Internet sales taxes, even taxes on commercial email.


Some politicians think if the government fixes the spam problem, then some type of tax should be imposed to pay for this new service.


New technology in the future will block most of the spam, and prosecuting spammers who fraudulently hide their real addresses will help fix the problem faster and better then more government intrusion. As it is to most, spam is annoying to me, and at times offensive. But I don't see government as helping, but getting in the way of solutions. 


Why hamper free commerce in the burgeoning Internet age?

 

Steve Marr, Your Christian Business Coach

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