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Spam United States Your Rights Online

No Federal Do-Not-Spam Registry For Now 324

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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  • There is a lack of proper legislation. The fundamental property of the Do-Not-Call list is that violators will be prosecuted by the FCC and can be held accountable with serious punishments. Quite frankly the current state of things leaves much to be desired in terms of punishment for spammers.

    Fist I want to see some good national anti-spam legislation; then I'll ask for a national Do-Not-Spam list.

  • A good point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Foofoobar ( 318279 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @02:42PM (#9432830)
    They actually have reason for the rejection of a do not psam list; How would they enforce it?

    How can you say who spammed you? Is it the email referrer who spammed you, the zombie machine that used the referrer or the person from Russia?

    And how would they enact vengeance upon said spammer? We have to have a system in place first so that even the slickest lawyer couldn't wiggle through a loophole.
  • total waste of time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mabu ( 178417 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @02:46PM (#9432890)
    For the zillionth time, can we put an end to boneheaded ideas like this?

    Almost all spammers are violating Federal law right now. A do-not-email list would be the most ridiculous thing ever heard of, and would more likely serve as a great source of addresses for spammers.

    The problem is there is no enforcement of existing laws in this area. We don't need more laws; we don't need more goofy schemes. We need resources dedicated towards educating and funding law enforcement authorities on how to catch and prosecute spammers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @02:52PM (#9432967)
    you need not give out the addresses to would-be non-spammers, giving out MD5 hashes would be enough to check for non-spamming without revealing the addresses.
  • Why not vice versa (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dexter77 ( 442723 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:07PM (#9433172)
    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?
  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:08PM (#9433178)
    If you create a list of email addresses and attach to it an American law governing their use, then someone from China isn't going to care one bit. The global nature of the Internet (which defies censorship) is also the same thing that allows for spam.

    This isn't really true, however. Research has shown that almost all spam actually comes from America. Much, if not most, of it is routed through either Chinese servers or worm-hijacked PCs, but the origin is still American.

    The problem with this whole idea is enforcement. I think a "do not spam" list would be great if there were serious investigation into tracing who sends spam to addresses on this list, and then extremely harsh penalties for sending spam to people on this list (like a public execution). If there's no serious penalty when a spammer misuses this list, then it will only serve to help them by providing them with more email addresses.

    And yes, I really do advocate public executions of spammers. Back in the colonial days, public executions were commonplace for serious criminals, and surprise, surprise, they didn't have a serious problem with crime.
  • Re:Not yet ready.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pilgrim23 ( 716938 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:14PM (#9433255)
    I keep Saying this and seriously I think this idea may work: Instead of a Spam tax to Microsoft, we pay a penny or so to a numbered Swiss account that is charged with paying for a dedicated band of mercenaries. After some well publicized cases of kneecapping of identified Spammers, I do believe the volume will finally subside...nad the cheers world wide will be deafening!
  • Re:But wait (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:18PM (#9433312)
    So you want to hear these lame proposals so you can scoff at them and feel superior?

    If it can play any role in keeping them from being implimented -- yes.

  • by jkabbe ( 631234 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:19PM (#9433325)
    To do it right, they'd either distribute a list of MD5 hashes, or setup a system where the spammers sent their list and the feds told them which ones were ok to spam.

    True. But if the latter were implemented wouldn't a spammer just send a file containing millions of *possible* email addresses? Then the US government would send them a list of the addresses not in their records. Taking the difference between the two lists would provide you with a list of the valid addresses.
  • Re:Also que... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vainglorious Coward ( 267452 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:54PM (#9433838) Journal

    SPF is the answer. Unfortunately, nobody's discovered what the question is to go with that answer

    I'll take Spam Solutions [] for one hundred, please. Question : what FUSSP is an anti-forgery technique that doesn't address the underlying problem, breaks forwarding and is simply defeated anyway by using the null envelope sender? []

    Ironically, these and other reasons may be an argument that SPF should be adopted []

  • by TomRC ( 231027 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:55PM (#9433851)

    If we shift to email that is nothing but a link back to a content server, and delete anything that doesn't match that, we'll have a means of tracking back to a responsible party and enforcing Don't-Spam.

    International spam can be filtered out by blocking email linked to servers in countries that don't enforce Don't-Spam. Also block any email that links using a straight IP address (or simply don't support that in the email linking protocol).

    If an email content server can turn over the spammer who violated Don't-Spam, the spammer gets fined. If someone lets their server get hijacked for spam (or claims that is what happened), they deserve a fine.
  • On a Related Note (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jazman_777 ( 44742 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @03:58PM (#9433894) Homepage
    I took a chance and signed up to be on the FCC's Do-Not-Call list. All the telemarketer calls just dried up. So the telemarketers are toeing the line. For now.
  • Slow but Steady (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DynaSoar ( 714234 ) * on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @05:28PM (#9434981) Journal
    All my respect to the FTC and their spam efforts, and especially Commissioner Orson "What we need is a few good old fashioned hangings" Swindell. Hopefully it's merely having to work within the beltway mentality that caused this conclusion to be reached and announced at this late time, because this is precisely what everyone (except the few spammers present) told them at the spam conference 15 months ago.

    Ensconsed in Commissioner Swindell's colorful words is a hint of the real problem: The problem is a social one, not a technological one.

    The means of execution (no pun intended, but I'll take it) may be technological, but not the cause. Trying to solve it technologically will be equivalent to allopathic medicine where the symptoms are treated instead of the cause. Sure, you can kill the tumor, but if you don't remove the cause of the cancer, the problem remains.

    Stop treating spam as though it came forth by breaking the vaccuum symmetry and existed suddenly where nothing had before. It's a new face on an old problem and could easily be treated as such, if it weren't for the mentality that still thinks that anything printed in dot matrix on green and white line tractor feed paper is more real and authoritive than handwriting.

    The TCPA works for junk faxes. Rewrite it so as not to be strictly telecom.

    When people hijack machines as spam drones, catch their ass and prosecute them under computer crimes laws.

    There are STILL cops who refuse to handle stalking cases where email is involved because they're allowed to claim their ignorance prevents them from acting, when the fact is the stalking laws say nothing like "unless it's in email".

    Stop treating it as if it's all new and different. It's all just new ways of doing the same old things, and the old ways of stopping it would still work.
  • So easy. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @06:45PM (#9436010)
    1) Buy whatever they are selling.
    2) Subpoena the bank that cached the check or processed the credit card.
    3) Arrest the spammer and jail them.
    4) ....
    5) End of spam

VMS must die!