Waiting For Muris To Opt In

from the going-down-the-wrong-path? dept

Since the recent launch of the national “do not call” list, there has been more and more talk about a corresponding “do not spam” list. Now the Washington Post is taking up the issue, suggesting that it’s all in the hands of the FTC chair who created the “do not call” list, and that he’s receiving so much praise for that list, that he could push through a similar “do not spam” list. The problem, of course, is that he realizes, like so many of us do, that a “do not spam” list would not be even remotely effective, and could backfire. While most telemarketers, while often sneaky and slightly underhanded, have tried to be legit, spammers don’t care at all. Also, it’s much easier to track down a caller than a spammer. With spammers increasingly covering their tracks and moving offshore, a “do not spam” list would become more of a target list for spammers.

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Comments on “Waiting For Muris To Opt In”

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Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

Re: No Subject Given

Actually, if we could get laws passed that require all spam to carry the ‘ADV:’ tag in the subject line, then ISPs could offer their own Do-Not-SPAM listing and apply a filter to all incoming e-mail – if the e-mail recipient is on the list AND the subject line contains ADV: then the message either bounced or dropped.

There could even be a national Do-Not-SPAM registry, but the tricky part is how to make sure the only people who can access the list are ISP mail administrators. Maybe make it a ‘black box’ list that noone can see, but ISPs can run their list of known e-mail addresses through ‘black box’ and see what names fall out the other side and consider those e-mail addresses as not on the list… but I’m sure that SPAMmers would find some way to abuse that as well…

Glenn says:

Another idea

I saw an article recently that had the top 10 web affiliate programs, and one of them was some viagra alternative. Surely these affiliate programs are responsible for a good portion of Spam. An idea would be to put restrictions on any affiliate programs that use U.S. servers to solicit customers. If you spam, you lose the right to have an affiliate program; and it would be enforced with fines. As I think through this, I can see some tactical issues with it… but it’s a start!

Chris Reuter (user link) says:

Not necessarily

With spammers increasingly covering their tracks and moving offshore, a “do not spam” list would become more of a target list for spammers.

I’m fairly certain that cryptographically secure hashing could prevent that from happening. That is, it is possible to distribute the do-not-spam list in a way that lets spammers know if an address of theirs is on it but can’t be used to extract the actual addresses.

Asher Schweigart (user link) says:

Re: Not necessarily

however, they could make list of emails using common domains and some common words and names people use in thier email address, and compare that with the list to see if they were real emails. Now, i know thay could just send emails using the list they create, but think about it; create a HUGE list of possible emails (say 100 million), and yeah it takes a long time to compare all those to the do not spam list, but think about how long it would take to email all those emails! This way, the spammer only uses bandwith to send emails to real emails

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Hello!!! Think about it…

The “Do Not Call” list targets the seller/telemarketer of the good and services and fines for violations will be assessed on the seller/telemarketer.

All of the proposed “Do Not Spam/Anti-spam” legislation targets the spammer, not the seller of the goods and services. If anti-spam legistation targets the advertiser/seller, not the sender of the message, spamming will stop. The spammer can hide, etc. but the seller has to be identified in order to make the sale.

If you applied the anti-spam logic to the Do-Not-Call list, they would be fining the phone company for letting the telemarketer call you.

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