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UN Takes Aim At Spam Epidemic 363

Posted by timothy
from the send-in-the-blue-helmets dept.
clester writes "CNN reports 'The United Nations is aiming to bring a "modern day epidemic" of junk e-mail under control within the next two years by standardizing legislation around the world to make it easier to prosecute spammers, a leading expert said Tuesday.' The full story reports that as much as 85 percent of all e-mail may be categorized as spam and that the problem is rapidly spreading to cell phones in the form of text messages..."
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UN Takes Aim At Spam Epidemic

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  • The UN?!? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Samir Gupta (623651) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @07:51PM (#9627420) Homepage
    Even a cursory follower of international affairs probably knows just how, ahem, "effective" the paper tiger that is the UN has been in accomplishing their intended goals and ensuring their resolutions are adhered to in places such as Iraq, Palestine, etc, while not being bogged down in internecine politics...

    Although spam is different from war and peace, I see the same issue here. If one rogue nation chooses to defy UN law, there's not too much they can do...
    • Re:The UN?!? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      the Iraq had no WMD, so the UN resolutions have been ensured and adhered.

      Once the last resisting country (USA) adheres to the UN resolutions as well I think there's a good chance for this to work as well.
      • Re:The UN?!? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You didn't actually read David Kay's report, did you?

        I'll assume not because you've jumped on the mass-media hyped lack of huge stockpiles of WMD and come to the conclusion that Iraq was in compliance with all 18 or 19 UN resolutions.

        Saddam's Iraq was chock full of illegal rockets, weapons research programs, and had never stopped shooting at UN forces enforcing the no-fly zones.

        And if Saddam didn't have stockpiles of WMD when the US and about 20 or 30 other countries invaded, that meant he failed to comply

        • Re:The UN?!? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          It required Iraq to account for the weapons, sure. It permitted the use of force should Iraq fail to comply, yes. But who was to judge this?

          The UN was to decide if Iraq complied, and according to the inspectors, Iraq was. The US decided Iraq failed and took matters into its own hands, defying the UN and even threatening to endager the UN workers who were still there.

          Also, weapons deteriorate. The Iran conflict was when? 1980?

          If you were asked to prove you did not possess something, how could you com
      • Re:The UN?!? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by hazem (472289)
        Once the last resisting country (USA) adheres to the UN resolutions as well I think there's a good chance for this to work as well.

        There's more than one. I can think of Israel off the top of my head.
        • There's more than one. I can think of Israel off the top of my head.

          So, how many Chapter VII resolutions are currently outstanding against the USA or Israel?
    • Re:The UN?!? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by QuantumRiff (120817) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @08:10PM (#9627543)
      Yes, cause who would listen to a part of the UN that is pushing this? the silly ITU.(International Telecommunications Union). These are the guys pushed the standards for telephones, like dialing internationally, and equipment working together.. Bet your local telecom and cell companies all followed the ITU's mandate to the letter, or else they wouldn't interconnect with the rest of the world.. Which is a pretty good idea, if you ask me.
    • Re:The UN?!? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nsayer (86181) <nsayer@kfCOWu.com minus herbivore> on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @08:12PM (#9627555) Homepage
      If one rogue nation chooses to defy UN law, there's not too much they can do...

      That doesn't mean that nothing can be done... I and everyone else with a firewall in front of a mailserver can blackhole those nations that choose to tolerate spam.

      I can't wait for IPv6... It should be even easier to throw away traffic from entire nations than it is now.

      • Re:The UN?!? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by halowolf (692775) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @09:00PM (#9627886)
        But my current Inbox shows that this approach doesn't work effectivly. Has the SPAM epedemic been stopped? No we have SPAM. A country gets blacklisted, the citizens can't send email, there is a momentary lull and the spammers move somewhere else and the whole process starts over again, leaving ruin it is wake. There are now networks of zombies within our own systems sending out SPAM because of these blocades.

        In stead of ostracising countries from communication with email, they should be helped with stopping SPAM traffic from their network and helped back onto the internation email sending stage. If nothing else the UN could at least help with that. Not just punishing a whole country of innocent users with the few bad apples in them.

        Again and again we see examples of the thought process that maintaining a blockade against a country will force that country to comply with international demands, and again and again we see years and sometime decades of suffering by citizens before a resolution is actually reached.

        I may be sounding like I'm taking this a little out of perspective, but how quickly citizens from the so called developed countries with this attitude would cry out that their freedoms are being stepped upon if someone dared to blacklist them.

    • Indeed. With a pinnacle example of failure to abide by the UN's rulings given to us by the good old US of A (when they went ahead and invaded Iraq _without_ UN approvial), without any consequence, I can't say I see the UN being terribly effective at enforcing anything anymore.
      • The UN Security Council did not and could not rule against the US invading Iraq. Failing to pass a resolution calling for an invasion is not the same thing as passing a resolution condemning an invasion. The US went over the UN's head. That is all.
    • Re:The UN?!? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TyrranzzX (617713)
      So long as there's a free and open system for people to use, there'll be those that abuse it. We must, as a people, ensure that nobody destroys that openness, government, terrorists, or morons, lest our freedom will be gone. That freedom; the freedom that makes the entire thing great.
  • by maeltor (679257) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @07:53PM (#9627428)
    How much will legislation actually do though?

    Until a method is found that kills or significantly makes spam nearly impossible to send or makes the profits significantly less than the costs of operating, all legislation will do is drive the spammers further and further underground...
    • by bmw (115903) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @07:59PM (#9627474)
      all legislation will do is drive the spammers further and further underground...

      I agree with you but the article did mention that there are known major spammers that they are unable to prosecute. So maybe we do need a few more laws. I think the key here is to get these anti-spam laws passed in (nearly) all countries so that spammers have fewer places to hide geographically.
      • by lp-habu (734825)

        I think the key here is to get these anti-spam laws passed in (nearly) all countries so that spammers have fewer places to hide geographically.

        "Fewer" doesn't help; all they need is one. Expecting a United Nations sponsored legal solution to help here is equivalent to saying that there wouldn't be any problems in the world "if we could all just get along". There are only two ways to restrain people from doing things we don't like: social ostracism or physical force. Spammers are not likely to respond dire

    • Until a method is found that kills or....

      Active Spam Killer sure kills spam. Does that count as a method?
    • "Until a method is found that kills or significantly makes spam nearly impossible to send or makes the profits significantly less than the costs of operating, all legislation will do is drive the spammers further and further underground..."

      No, a method has to both be found and recognized as such by enough of those who can effectively use the method to make it succeed. That could start by someone doing an actual analysis of the spam problem, not one of those fake analyses that SURPRISE! leads to the concl
  • Shouldn't they... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lukateake (619282) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @07:54PM (#9627440)
    be stopping real travesties like war and disease?
    • by Pharmboy (216950) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @08:00PM (#9627475) Journal
      be stopping real travesties like war and disease?

      That would require courage. Don't hold your breath. They are too busy trying to block investigations into abuse from the "oil for food" program.

      Mod it down or whatever, I don't care, but the UN is working very hard to fulfill GW's statement, that they are irrelevent. They COULD be very powerful and effective, but the individual players (and yes, often us as well) are too busy with their own little power trips and rip offs.
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      Shouldn't they...
      be stopping real travesties like war and disease?


      They can work with more than one thing at once.
  • by calags (12705) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @07:54PM (#9627442)
    ... the chairman of the anti-spam committee will be the representative from Nigeria.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @07:55PM (#9627445)
    I for one was worried about how to stop the spam epidemic. I'm glad the UN has finally stepped in to fix things. I'll bet the spammers are shaking in their boots, and cursing the UN's decision to put an end to their evil ways.

    Not. I don't think the UN will do anything more
    than waste billions of dollars on projects that are not needed. Why not spend the money on AID
    research or prevention?
    • What is worse, the UN will establish a Spam council and invite a few people to sit in who are some of the worlds biggest spammers.

      P.S. If you don't get the analogy, I'm referring to the fact that Syria is on the UN security council to spite the fact that they are one of the biggest state sponsors of terrorism (much more so than Iraq ever was)
      • Re:Thank goodness (Score:3, Informative)

        by hazem (472289)
        Even worse, the US, Russia, and China have permanent seats on that council. More lives have been destroyed and more economic damage has been done by those three than probably all the other terrorist nations/groups/people combined.
  • Unfortunately... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by canadian_widget (794559) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @07:56PM (#9627448)
    ...the UN won't be able to do anything about spam. As hard as they try, the war against spam will not be won with legislation. As more legislation comes around, the spammers move to countries where nobody cares about the legislation and it all starts again.

    The war against spam will be won by smart filters!!
    • by DarkEdgeX (212110) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @08:26PM (#9627635) Journal
      The war against spam will be won by a new mail protocol. Filtering is good and all, but it doesn't catch everything no matter how well trained the filter is. SMTP needs to be replaced with something better, and Spam is just the thing to kick people into working on the problem.
    • by ozmanjusri (601766)
      No, the spammers won't (all) move to other countries, simply because they need to be active where the money is.

      If you make it illegal for them to operate in most of the wealthy countries which buy their services, and prosecute organisations which commission spam in those conuntries, you will be reducing the money available to them and reduce the incentive to spam.
  • oh yea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pharmboy (216950) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @07:56PM (#9627451) Journal
    Oh jesus h. christ, NOW I feel better that the UN is involved. I am sure the spammers are cowering in fear right now. I am sure after a year of debate, the security council will pass a resolution (9-6) that says spam is bad, but only after concessions are made regarding human rights to enough countries to get the full 9 votes....
  • by retro128 (318602) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @07:57PM (#9627455)
    ...They'll pass a resolution against spam and that's the last we'll hear of it.
  • bleh. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by the gnat (153162)
    Intergovernmental cooperation in regulating the Internet is a recipe for disaster. An effective set of world-wide anti-spam policies will simply be a precedent that the US Congress can point to when pushing even more invasive laws like the DMCA. Or, to be fair, the rest of the world can use it as a precedent for pushing their ridiculous censorship rules.

    I'm not a hardcore libertarian, but I just don't think we need a new set of laws to deal with every little annoyance, and I'd rather see the Internet be
    • Re:bleh. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grumbel (592662)
      How do you go after ISPs if spamming is still perfectly legal?
    • Re:bleh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kindbud (90044) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @08:14PM (#9627567) Homepage
      Instead of pushing our leaders to pass more unenforcable laws that will expand government regulatory power, let's go after ISPs (and entire national networks, if need be) that tolerate spammers.

      Go after ISP's using what? New laws? No laws? Vigilante teams? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Just what do you mean by "go after" if it does not involve passing new laws to prosecute violating ISPs with? You do realize that no law prohibits an ISP having a spammer as a customer, don't you?

      So how shall we "go after" ISP's with no new laws?
  • Finally... (Score:5, Funny)

    by thelenm (213782) <mthelen@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @07:58PM (#9627461) Homepage Journal
    Finally!! An organization with a backbone, a clear vision, and a strong determination to do something about the problem... er, what? The UN? Crap.
  • ...the problem is rapidly spreading to cell phones in the form of text messages...

    Freaking AT&T. These bastards have been spamming my phone with their stupid "updates" since I got the service. It's "opt out", of course, even though I never "opted in" and the bastards STILL haven't moved on the request to knock it the hell off. Nothing is more irritating than when I'm doing something, here a text come in, drop what I'm doing to check it, and it turns out to be some stupid sales pitch from AT&T.

    He

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @08:07PM (#9627524)
    > The United Nations is aiming to bring a "modern day epidemic" of junk e-mail under control within the next two years by standardizing legislation around the world to make it easier to prosecute spammers, a leading expert said Tuesday.

    ...and the initial makeup of the UNCOS (U.N. Commission On Spam) are the ambassadors from the Independent Federation of Cyberpromo (S. Wallace), the People's Republic of Optinrealbig (S. Richter), the Neoconfederacy of Telodigm (A. Ralsky), the Principality of Ratsmouth, South Florida (E. Marin) and the Democratic Republic of Horse-Fuckers from Yellowsun (You Don't Wanna Know).

  • Spam Vs. S/Mime (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MacDork (560499)
    Imagine if everyone used encryption. Would spam not then be a relatively small problem? If Bob spams Alice, then he gets his key revoked when Alice forwards it to his certificate authority. Now his key can be blacklisted by email clients. Carol receives Bob's message after Alice had it revoked, and as a result her email client sends the message straight to her junk mail box. Unsigned mail is not broken by this scheme, and a small charge for a signed certificate should be enough to prevent Bob from gene
    • Re:Spam Vs. S/Mime (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ThisNukes4u (752508)
      The problem with paying for the certificate is that then all e-mail certificates are controlled by a central authority. Also, there is no way that the encryption scheme used for the encryption could be open, as if it was, then why pay for the certificate? Good plan, but I don't see how it would work.
      • There are multiple certificate authorities, and there could be more. It's simply a matter of getting your root certificate distributed with the OS and browsers out there. Unless by central authority, you mean Microsoft. And unless they start their own certificate authority and refuse to ship with anyone else's root certificate, I don't see that as a problem. Lack of diversity, I believe, is directly related to lack of use.

        As for the scheme being open, sure it can be. Not everyone has a root certifi

  • 10 bucks says ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by phoxix (161744)
    A) The UN doesn't get it (they never do)

    B) The spammers themselves will be on this panel (ie: Sudan being on the Human Rights board)

    C) The few non-spammers on this panel will have no idea what spam is. They'll be more interested in joining the mindless anti-Isreal propaganda the UN loves to engage in (Somehow anti-Isreali spam will be allowed by the UN, just watch it)

    D) This panel will report to another panel, which in turn will report to some other panel, and thereby getting nothing done (their webs
  • by A_GREER (761429)
    ...If spamming is a criminal act, then only criminals will spam!!!
  • by XavierItzmann (687234) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @08:08PM (#9627536)


    Spammers of the world, begin to shake on your boots!



    Actually, you can start shaking once we hit anti-spam resolution #18. No need to shake before then.



  • UN involvment (Score:4, Interesting)

    by manabadman (589984) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @08:09PM (#9627539)

    I didn't realize that the UN was involved in this kind of thing. It is good though. I wonder if they will have a stronger influence than they have had with other issues (like war).

    Now there is additional unified governmental support. Here [computerworld.com] is another article that talks about governmental cooperation to fight spam. This is in addition to cooperation we read about between Microsoft, Yahoo! and others. It'll be interesting to see how the spammers counter. They are a particularly strong bunch. Like cockroaches I suppose.

    "Now the problem is rapidly spreading to cell phones. Nine of every 10 spam messages in Japan are now directed to mobile phones as text messages, Horton said."

    Thats the scary part. How do we stop spam on phones? They easiest way would probably involve filtering by our service providers. But do we trust them to do that? And would they do that? I don't know about USA or Japan, but here in Jamaica, the majority of unsolicited text messages that I get actually comes from my cellphone providers (I have phones from two telcos).

    J2ME, SMS enabled versions of spamassasin?

  • It's an (Score:2, Funny)

    by Muttonhead (109583)
    engineered U.N. power grab?
  • by Yaa 101 (664725) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @08:19PM (#9627589) Journal
    Is to punish the ones that hire spammers and spammers themself.
    Everybody can read who's advert it is and where the owner of the advert resides.
  • *sigh* (Score:4, Funny)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @08:21PM (#9627609) Journal
    Everyone seem to take aim against spam nowadays, but it doesn't seem like their guns are working.
  • by HaeMaker (221642) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @08:27PM (#9627643) Homepage
    Email savvy people can't come up with a palatable solution. Most non-tech savvy have solutions that throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    I imagine the great minds who make up the UN will support the idea that generates the most money for the lobbists of thier supporting country. So it looks like we are going to get a sender-pays-Microsoft or sender-pays-Verisign antispam solution.
  • by mabu (178417) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @08:27PM (#9627649)
    .. take some time and know what you're talking about [un.org]. Don't dismiss the United Nations because a bunch of right wing idiots on TV like to make it their whipping boy. The UN does a lot of good all around the world. And if anything, the US is more responsible for crippling the UN's effectiveness than anyone else.
  • by servognome (738846) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @08:27PM (#9627653)
    Spammers will just move to places like this [katzglobal.com] or setup a boat that can connect wirelessly [slashdot.org] from international waters.
  • This topic was just on the James (Apache mail server) mailing list. I'm just copying this from the email I sent

    From the article:

    Top priority is "pornographic material ... that may come to the attention of
    children," said Horton, who is chairing the meeting.

    Define pornographic material. There are a lot of countries who would like to
    ban pornographic material altogether, while the US Supreme Court struck down
    the Communications Decency Act because it limits the rights of adults to
    access said material. (http:
    • I know porn when I see it. Sure in theory this is no difference between a naked women used for antinomy demonstrations, and porn, but in practice the difference is usually big. For starters people tend to prefer unrealistic extremes in their porn. Second, the rest of the context enters in.

      I don't have a problem with you enjoying pron in your own house, or even your own country. Most people in my country to have a problem with it, if not themselves, at least when sent to their kids. (perhaps they are

      • I know porn when I see it.

        Only within the context of your worldview.

        One man's porn is another man's everyday activity. Did you know that there is just about a sexual fetish (and thus a porn market) for just about anything? A well known example are images (and video) of a woman wearing high heels stepping on wine glasses. No nudity, just the act alone.

        Some people find this highly erotic, to them images of the act could be considered "pornographic". To the rest of society, it is just "odd". In a similar vei

  • Right on target (Score:4, Insightful)

    by murderlegendre (776042) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @08:35PM (#9627701)

    standardizing legislation around the world to make it easier to prosecute spammers

    Must have been asleep, but I didn't realize that it was within the power of the UN to 'standardize legislation' in any given juristiction upon the planet.

    Bitter sarcasm: This should come as a great relief to the countless vitims of murder, genocide, torture, displacement, starvation, disease, opression and the myriad other insults, which more than half of humanity fears on a regular basis.

    What was the mission of the UN? Ladies and gentlemen, get a real job..

  • "by standardizing legislation around the world to make it easier to prosecute spammers."
    But doesn't a large portion of spam come from compromised Windows machines with broadband? Although lots of spam comes from Russian and Chinese servers I don't see how the UN's approach will be able to handle desktop computers in the US. If Grandma gets a worm that turn her computer into a spam machine are we going to prosecute her in The Hague?
  • by B5_geek (638928)
    Why is this needed? How much spam do most of you actually get?

    My hotmail account: I get maybe 3 spam's per month.

    My "regular" account (at work with no spam filters in place) that I use 99% of the time: I have gotten about 10 Spam's in the last 3 years.

    Are the majority of the people actually getting spam posting your email addys in public message boards for the spam-bots to harvest?

    I have been using the internet since '96 and spam has never really had an impact or effect on my usage.
    • I've gotten a total of (approx) 10-20 spam messages in my 'regular' accounts, over the past 5 years.

      I have a hotmail account which used to get that amount every month, but I don't use it anymore, so it doesn't worry me.

      I did get a nice offer of a bunch of money from a nice man in Nigeria, but strangely, he didn't sent it to me. All I asked for was $419 to cover my banking fees... ;)

      I don't know why people get so much spam?
      Do they sign up for 'free pr0n in your mailbox' offers?
      Do they send messages to Use
  • by JohnsonWax (195390) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @08:58PM (#9627867)
    I'm so glad that the UN is willing to tackle spam rather than some softball issue like the rampant spread of HIV through low-income nations. Maybe Symantec, Microsoft, and Cisco can work on tackling a small thing like that...
  • by Danae's Dad (522802) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @08:58PM (#9627871) Homepage
    The main reason that spam is proliferating and will continue to do so is simple: it is a commercial activity, hence sacrosanct.

    Governments today can make effective law against all sorts of things, but the sacred cow that they must never interfere with is people's and corporations' right to make profit. As soon as they mess with that, they can wave their economy bye bye as all the powerful corporate players jump ship.

    Long-established commercial activity such as farming, mining, agriculture, retail, insurance, medical practice, etc. have equally long-established, effective laws that protect us from the abuses of their worst practictioners. Those laws were made in the days before "free enterprise" ruled the roost. Today, though, new enterprises are free to neglect their social responsibilities, and they will get away scot free because governments no longer dare to make effective law to inhibit them. They will make new law, yes, but not effective law.

    So now the U.N. is picking up the ball. That's not surprising, because all the lost causes get booted to the U.N. eventually anyway, which is why they have gotten a reputation for being ineffective and goody-goody.
  • by stubear (130454) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @09:03PM (#9627908)
    ...but it will end with censorship of many other things. France and Germany already do not allow the schwastika to be sold or displayed in their respective countries. How ling until they pressure the UN to ban this from the internet? What about China and anti-government speech? Letting the UN get involved will only make things worse. Much, much worse.
  • by lp-habu (734825) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @09:10PM (#9627959)
    A more effective solution would be to authorize class-action lawsuits against any company which uses spam -- not sends it, uses it. At the same time, we could sharply restrict all other class-action lawsuits so the lawyers would be hungry and vicious. They could easily bankrupt any company that was foolish enough to allow spam to be sent in their name. Then when all the spammers were out of business, the trial lawyers would starve, and the world would be a better place.

    Of course any solution -- even baying at the moon -- would be more effective than relying on the UN.

  • by vmircea (730382) <vmircea@nOsPAm.tjhsst.edu> on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @09:12PM (#9627970) Homepage
    ...but the UN tends to be generally ignored by lots of countries... especially the US, want an example?

    Bush: Hey UN, can we go to Iraq?
    UN: No
    Bush: Duly noted *promptly invades*

    Even if the UN passes this, the US (which originates a good amount of the world's spam, probably won't want to do this, for lots of reasons, one being that the US likes to be unilateral now, and lots of people in congress and the like don't really like the UN, but this might spur the US to do its own plan which actually does stuff
  • On our network at work, we get over 99% spam. The amount of legit mail that comes from the internet is so miniscule that a spam vs non-spam graph is usless (all you see is spam).
  • by cascadingstylesheet (140919) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @09:24PM (#9628043)

    ... I expect a resolution any day now.

    And if that doesn't work (dramatic pause) the strong statements. They may even condemn spam. Oooohh ....

    Now, if they'd actually condemn spammers (to death), and bring in their enforcement arm (the US military), then we'd be talking ...

  • Two possabilitys (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Felinoid (16872) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @09:24PM (#9628048) Homepage Journal
    Two possable outcomes.

    1. 13 years from now someone other than the UN will get feed up and actually address the problem pissing off the rest of the world who apparently started taking kick backs from spammers.

    Slashdotters seam to think this is the outcome however it appears this only happens when the UN takes on it's ACTUAL mission of world peace and not more trivial matters.
    (I know spam is a big deal but compaired to world hunger (ignore the obveous joke here) disease and war I'd say spam is kinda the same as a cop ignoring a murder to chase after a speeder)

    2. Draconian laws that permit the UN to deside what is or isn't acceptable in e-mail.
    With some lobbying and bribes spammers get to continue to operate BUT other things don't.
    Spam hunter efforts, Linux dev e-mail lists, Slashdot (all of it), Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern.

    The merrits and diffrences between the cenesorship of Limbaugh and censorship of Stern aside the United Nations was founded to premote world peace (hunger and disease intersect this as nations will go to war over the resorces needed to resolve thies issues).

    However as of late the United Nations has abandoned it's cause of world peace in favor of it's own form of world domnation.

    Take a look at the issues the UN has taken on as of late:
    IP law, Hate Speach and now Spam.
    Each of thies issues can be used to craft laws that control what people can say.

    IP law: Copyright law is itself a big buggabo. It's not so much the control of what is said but WHO may say it. Copyright law has already been used to control political speach.
    The "I have a dream" speach should be public domain. It was a public speach and shapes public policy to this very day. However the famaly of the man who originally uttered those words now clame ownership over all his words making political debate on those issues cumbersom or in some cases impossable. IMAO that is the only value to a copyright on public speach.

    Hate Speach: Today political organsiations clame all opposing ideology as "hate speach" (much as Microsoft clames Linux is unamerican) as a means of sillencing opponents.

    Spam: Spam isn't very well defined and it's pritty easy to use the terminology to pick and chouse what is or isn't spam. This could easly be used to sillence political speach.
    I also believe the UN is picking this one up becouse certen political parties are using spam for fundrasing. Obveously even lagit antiSpam laws would have some effect on the political front however thats not really anybodys fault but the spammer politicians themselfs.
  • This will help (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rossz (67331) <`ogre' `at' `geekbiker.net'> on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @10:15PM (#9628355) Homepage Journal
    The UN outlawing spam will work as well as the UN law outlawing genocide.
  • Some solution ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by orangeguru (411012) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @10:30PM (#9628437) Homepage
    Why go after the spammers? We simply need laws to sue companies who sell their products via spamming services. If companies get sued a lot employing spammers - their business practice won't pay off anymore.

    As long as people buy the crap that is advertised and as long as some company can make some decent profit from spamming it will continue.

    Destroy the economical basis of spam - then most companies won't use it.
  • by Lead Butthead (321013) on Tuesday July 06, 2004 @10:33PM (#9628453) Journal
    What can UN do? Threaten spammers with weapons embargo? Economic sanction? In the matter of spam, I can't see what UN has to offer that can possibily be effective.
  • by Warlok (89470) <jfincher42@hotmail.com> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @12:36PM (#9633074) Journal
    I think everyone's missing a key point here. With the cooperation and enforcement from member nations, the UN can and does usurp sovereign power in countries that don't comply. In this case, the UN will be drafting sample legislation for other countries to use - in short, UN delegates (non-elected by any country that I know of) will be drafting bills for other countries to turn into laws. This is standard operating procedure for the UN - draft sample laws to enforce their code of conduct (some call it the "One World Government"), use the weight of diplomacy, brow-beating, sanctions, embargos, and military muscle from other nations to get those laws passed, then stand around and see what a fine, brave, new world they've created. The UN has been doing this for years - normally, Americans only hear about the UN in terms of resolutions our military is dying to enforce.


    What happens when a country is in non-compliance? After sanctions, embargos, and brow-beating don't work, the UN turns to it's muscle, basically the U.S. and European nations military, to drop the hammer. Do we really want to send UN "peacekeepers" into a foreign country to stop someone from sending you e-mail? Anyone here want their nation's military to be a) under command of another nation's general, b) shipped to some far away land, and c) used into battles to protect your right to not have to look at naked breasts when you don't want to? Hell, I don't even want my military in Iraq fighting for someone else's freedom.


    Remember, folks, the UN is just a meeting place for nations to come together to talk through their differences. UN resolutions have no more weight of law than any other verbal or written contract, and since those contracts are between nations, I posit they carry less enforcement power than contracts between natural persons. The power they have is in PR - non-complying nations get some real bad press from major news organizations, which brings out the bleeding heart in all of us, I'm sure. If these agreements had any real power, Americans wouldn't be getting killed to free Iraq - and it's oil.

"Look! There! Evil!.. pure and simple, total evil from the Eighth Dimension!" -- Buckaroo Banzai

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