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Spam United States Your Rights Online

No Federal Do-Not-Spam Registry For Now 324

Posted by michael
from the what-me-worry dept.
Decaffeinated Jedi writes "The AP reports today that the U.S. government has no plans to create a do-not-spam registry in the immediate future. Why not? They argue that the proper technology is not yet in place. 'A national do-not-e-mail registry, without a system in place to authenticate the origin of e-mail messages, would fail to reduce the burden of spam and may even increase the amount of spam received by consumers,' said the commission." The moral of the story is: never try. See the FTC's press release or their report (pdf).
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No Federal Do-Not-Spam Registry For Now

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  • Re:Not yet ready.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by CommanderData (782739) * <.moc.oohay. .ta. .ihnivek.> on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @02:47PM (#9432908)
    Sorry to reply to myself, but I figured I should point out for the people who might not already be aware that SPF and Caller ID for e-mail have become a merged plan in the last several weeks. Missed the announcement myself :)
  • by Badam (222642) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @02:54PM (#9432995) Homepage
    I don't think there should be any government do-not-spam list.

    Among other reasons, it intrudes on the right of people to advertise their political opinions, which is crucial to a democracy.

    It's pretty easy to filter out spam. Bayesian filters block nearly all spam, and have the benefit of being tailored to the user's interests, not the spam definitions of the government (which will inevitably hurt those who oppose government policies).

    Use Mozilla's mail application: It has excellent spam filtering built right in. If you don't want to use Mozilla, than use Popfile or Spambayes to accomplish the exact same thing: Bayesian Filtering that will nearly eliminate your spam headache.
  • by jfengel (409917) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @02:57PM (#9433030) Homepage Journal
    There is a key difference between telemarketing and spamming. Even if you had a prerecorded voice message (which is illegal) these phone calls cost money, tune the tune of a several cents a call and up. Adding an operator costs more, even with the scams they play on their own operators. So it's actually in the best interests of the telemarketers to have some sort of don't-waste-your-time list.

    Spammers, on the other hand, can pay as little as $0 (0 for you foreigners) by using open relays, zombies, etc. So it's in their best interests to hit everybody, even if they're not interested. Rather than miss somebody, they'll hit everybody. A do-not-spam list would only provide a list of verified addresses.

    So "never try" is definitely the right response here, at least at the moment, since it will be ignored by the spammers in a way that the do-not-call list avoids. The only question at this point is, who hasn't signed up for the do-not-call list:

    * Very lonely people
    * Very ignorant people
    * People with a higher tolerance for telemarketing than me

    Unfortunately, this probably just thrills the telemarketers. They can't call your grandma (since you signed her up) but it means that people who haven't signed up for the list are more likely to be scammable. (No offense to your grandma or anything. I'm sure she's a sweet lady but statistically speaking the elderly are more suceptible to scams, and less likely to take advantage of technological solutions.)
  • by Jtheletter (686279) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @02:58PM (#9433045)
    That's odd, toothless [ftc.gov] legislative [spamlaws.com] spam fixes [ft.com] never got vetoed in the past just because they'd do nothing to stop the problem [theregister.co.uk] - or make it worse. Wonder what makes this one so special?
  • by Cheerio Boy (82178) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:13PM (#9433245) Homepage Journal
    Why does it have to be do-not-spam registry. Why not please-spam-me-registry. Just make spamming illegal to all addresses, but those that are in the registry.

    Wouldn't it be a lot easier to make a law that would condemn spamming, period. I bet about 90% of voters don't like to receive spam. Why we have to make the effort to block spammers, when lawmakers should be on our side?


    Two words: Big Business.
  • by jkabbe (631234) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:22PM (#9433363)
    No one has a right to advertise their political opinions, products, etc. by sending me email about them. The fact that filtering solutions exist doesn't confer that right upon anyone, either.

    Well, right now they do have that right. They have the right to do it by speaking (shouting), sending physical mail, or sending electronic mails.

    Did you notice that the federal do-not-call phone system excludes certain things that were on your list?
  • by Saucepan (12098) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:24PM (#9433396)
    PDF. Why not have a look at it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:33PM (#9433539)
    Why do so many primary Slashdot posters get the story all wrong? You'd think those responsible for approving the posting would check to see if the remarks actually fit the news source?

    In this case, the feds had a very good reason for not setting up a No-Spam registry. Spammers would simply use it to get our email addresses. Here's how the AP story actually begins:

    WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration said Tuesday it will not create a national do-not-spam registry to discourage unwanted e-mail, fearing it could backfire and become a target list for new victims.

    The Federal Trade Commission told Congress that senders of unwanted sales pitches might mine such a registry for names. Its chairman, Timothy Muris, quipped that consumers "will be spammed if we do a registry and spammed if we do not."

    That sensible decision hardly deserves the snide remark, "The moral of the story is: never try."

    The real moral is to read the article before you post.

    --Mike Perry, Inkling blog [inklingbooks.com], Seattle

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