1997-05-22 - Re: spam is a good thing (was Re: Spam IS Free Speech)

Header Data

From: Adam Back <aba@dcs.ex.ac.uk>
To: whgiii@amaranth.com
Message Hash: 9522d64f3399e2a7d8290febcd72fd950a1fdda97b5f24b1d9614a19950e327f
Message ID: <199705221633.RAA01999@server.test.net>
Reply To: <199705221414.JAA14267@mailhub.amaranth.com>
UTC Datetime: 1997-05-22 17:25:52 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 23 May 1997 01:25:52 +0800

Raw message

From: Adam Back <aba@dcs.ex.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 23 May 1997 01:25:52 +0800
To: whgiii@amaranth.com
Subject: Re: spam is a good thing (was Re: Spam IS Free Speech)
In-Reply-To: <199705221414.JAA14267@mailhub.amaranth.com>
Message-ID: <199705221633.RAA01999@server.test.net>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

William Geiger <whgiii@amaranth.com> writes:
> >The problem is that you and most of the rest of the internet world are
> >renting your mega phones/accounts out without charging for usage volume. 
> >You are also allowing completely free use of your account as a recipient,
> >and completely free use of your sendmail as a mail hub service.
> >If this causes you grief, you need to start metering, and charging
> >postage to receive mail, and metering mail hub usage.
> Bullshit! No metering of accounts is required. All that needs to be done
> is blocking of all mail from Spamford's sites. He nor anyone else has a
> "right" to use my equipment. If Spamford uses my equipment without my
> permission he can be charged with criminal trespass. I am under no
> contract with Spamford and am under no obligation to provide him so much
> as 1 bit worth of bandwidth.

So why are you leaving your machine configured so that he clearly can
use your bandwidth?

Courts are uneconomical solutions.  It's as if I had said the fact
that you left a $100 bill sat on your doorstep might have something to
do with the fact that you are now $100 worse off, and as if I had
suggested to you that a solution might be to be more careful about
leaving money/resources in easily accessible places, and perhaps it
would be better to store your money in a wallet and it is then as if
you had replied:

William Geiger <whgiii@amaranth.com> writes:
: Bullshit! No wallets are required.  All that needs to be done is for a
: court injunction made stopping this particular thief from picking up
: my money.  He nor anyone else has a "right" to take my money.  If
: Joe Thief picks up my money without my permission he can be charged
: with theft.  I am under no contract with Joe Thief and am under no
: obligation to keep my money in a wallet.

I hope you see the similarity in argument.

Clearly you can only issue injunctions against people you can
identify.  If not you don't get your property back.

Your solution is to require legislation, or court intervention ("he
can be charged with criminal trespass").  So how are you going to get
a reasonable prosecution rate on this one?  Perhaps replace cash with
a traceable form, so that you can trace who it was that took your
money?  Perhaps escrow peoples positions so that the government can
trace the thief.  Perhaps have the government put video cameras up at
intervals of 100m in residential areas?

The costs and unattractiveness of government intervention are even
worse on the net.  

Do you want legislation stating that you can sue people who send more
than a certain number of posts via your sendmail hub?  Consider the
logical consequences... you must be able to identify people to sue
them, therefore:

	- Internet Drivers licenses must be required
	- Remailers will be outlawed
	- Every SMTP session must be authenticated with your True Name

Are you in favour of these?  Realise that these provisions will be in
the 1998 anti-SPAM bill put before congress, and the congress critters
will say that the regulation of anonymity on the net was as a result
of public demand.  In this case, they will probably be right about the

Note that I did not say Spamford had a _right_ to spam you, just that
with government "solutions" to this problem the "cure" is worse than
the problem, at least from a pro-privacy perspective.

> I have no problem with Spamford's free speech rights. He can go out buy a
> bullhorn stand on a street corner and shout to his harts content. He does
> not have the right to kick in my door stand on my coffee table and say a
> word.

Yeah but he didn't kick anything in, he just used something which was
setup to be used for free, in an unmetered fashion, where no contracts
were agreed to before hand.

You might perhaps with some justification argue that there is an
implicit contract to act reasonably, well ok, this is largely the way
the internet used to work 10 years ago, but the problem is still how
are you going to catch him.  What about sendmail forgeries, what about
public access terminals, what about remailers, what about free AOL
disks, etc, etc.  You've got to admit it's worse than hopeless.  The
government "solution" to the problem would attempt to make the net
fully traceable.

By arguing for the use of litigation for spam, you are hastening the
outlawing of remailers.

Have *you* exported RSA today? --> http://www.dcs.ex.ac.uk/~aba/rsa/

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