FTC Says Do Not Spam Is Difficult, But Fascinated By P2P Potential

from the good-news dept

A very short, but still quite interesting, interview with Federal Trade Commissioner Orson Swindle. He discusses how incredibly popular the "Do Not Call" list has been with people (a staffer wearing an FTC t-shirt was stopped in the street and thanked), while pointing out that a "Do Not Spam" list would be much more difficult to set up and maintain (if not impossible). Actually, it's a bit amusing to see the language he chooses in discussing a "Do Not Spam" list. He is careful to say that he cannot fathom a way to set up such a list, but is required to look seriously at it by the CAN-SPAM act. Swindle seems to really understand the deeper issues behind this, and last year we quoted him pointing out the difficulty in dealing with spam, because the true definition of spam is "anything I don't like" - which is difficult to put into law. Even more interesting, though, is Swindle's very brief discussion of P2P technology at the end of the interview. While plenty in the entertainment industry insists there are no benefits to any kind of P2P technology, Swindle says: "I'm fascinated by the possibilities of the peer-to-peer technology used in transferring files from one person to another. The potential there for productivity efficiencies in other uses, that's just incredible."
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  • identicon
    slim, 4 May 2004 @ 2:14pm

    Why it's so difficult

    It's difficult to define SPAM because SPAM doesn't have anything to do with email. SPAM is a pork product made by the Hormel company.

    The reason these MORONS can't figure out what to do about Spam is that they ARE TRYING to define it in the first place... when instead, what they SHOULD BE DOING is stopping the "automated sending of unsolicited commercial email."

    I am an email administrator, and so I can tell you with some degree of confidence that of the email messages that we currently classify as "spam," (60% of the total email we receive) fully 90% of it is not "SPAM, but "SAUCE" (Seriously Automated Unsolicited Commercial Email). The remaining 10% is 419, virus-infected mail and other nuicances that, along with the SAUCE, we call SPAM.

    Defining spam IS difficult ... hell, it may even be impossible! So, here's a stupid question: Why are we trying to do that?

    SAUCE is 90% of the problem, so let's define SAUCE:

    Serioulsy-Automated (a human did not send it)
    Unsolicited (I didn't specifically request it)
    Commercial (it promotes a product or service)
    Email (hey, it came in my inbox)

    A reasoned thinker should be able to agree to this definition. (That's right, if you disagree, then you are, of course, a MORON and you shouldn't be allowed to participate in this discussion. Please provide me with the IP address of all your mail servers so I can block ALL YOUR MAIL - legitimate AND spam.)

    If the IT community would quit comlaining about SPAM and start complaining about SAUCE, the problem would be 90% solved already.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    oregonnerd, 17 Apr 2008 @ 5:24am

    just one problem

    As a would be philosopher [philosophia="love of knowledge"]...just what is "A reasoned thinker"?

    Primary problem is probably just that; primary. Before programming. Having to do with logic of a type and on a scale that isn't formally approved. The primary statement of the e-mail part of the internet is "An e-mail is an e-mail" [which would seem true; it's an electronically-transmitted piece of information following protocols over a defined system]--sorting comes afterward (even if by IP address, server or routing). And at this point implementing a three-valued (rather than on/off) system would seem indeed to be problematic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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