Monday, June 09, 2003

Spam: Politicians need issues. Spam is just the latest one to be their meat. And since politicians are in the business of making laws, they tend to assume that making a law solves a problem. Chris Caldwell has a funny opinion on the flurry of solutions -- which seem to increase proportionally to the amount of spam. But as Caldwell admits, it's still a new problem:
As the size of the problem changes, so does its nature. Two years ago spam was a joke. A year ago it was an annoyance. And a few weeks ago, Earthlink executive David Baker told a reporter that spam "has the potential to render the Net virtually unusable."
So let's give the market some time, okay? Let's be willing to pay a little more to our ISPs to improve the situation. And let's not bitch about all spam; a lot of what looks like spam is stuff that you get from shopping online, getting "free" newsletters, or performing some other transaction that requires you to opt out of future e-mails from a company and all its friends. Most of the unwanted mail can be cut off with a few minutes of opt-out requests.

The spam thing reminds me of a conversation with my grandfather. He had been receiving what he thought were porn spams, and he was utterly offended. After asking him to recall what they said, I realized that they were advertisements for a concert in a nearby city: Barenaked Ladies.

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