1998-02-19 - Re: Is spam really a problem?

Header Data

From: sunder <sunder@brainlink.com>
To: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
Message Hash: 49b3f9d2deec3f09ca9c4749f184d4f4e5cff935addf21c87b6292ae44e8a699
Message ID: <34EC9489.F44B070B@brainlink.com>
Reply To: <199802181733.SAA26244@basement.replay.com>
UTC Datetime: 1998-02-19 20:34:51 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 04:34:51 +0800

Raw message

From: sunder <sunder@brainlink.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 04:34:51 +0800
To: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
Subject: Re: Is spam really a problem?
In-Reply-To: <199802181733.SAA26244@basement.replay.com>
Message-ID: <34EC9489.F44B070B@brainlink.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Tim May wrote:
> But *many* things eat up our valuable time. Doesn't mean government action
> is the answer.

Show me one place in the email you replied to where I mention that I would
any sort of governmental action in terms of passing anti-spam laws.  I did
contracts between ISP's and subscribers at one point, but did you see anything
about someone passing laws?
> If you use ISDN and pay minute charges to download an article from me, for
> example, and you feel it was a waste of your valuable time, should my
> article be illegal?

If I am forced to pay for something that I don't want to buy, it is a theft
of my money.  If you send me garbage without my asking for it, then you're
wasting my money.  If I subscribe to a mailing list and don't want to see
your messages, it's a different story since I have to take other steps to
not see what you post.  In other words, in one case you are targetting me
with spam, in the other, I want to receive cypherpunks minus one user, but
that user isn't directly targetting me.
> If someone sees your name somewhere and does the same thing (sends you a
> letter), should this be illegal?

Ditto as the response above.  I will accept any non commercial, non moral
pushing message.  i.e. there are those who like my home page and email me
to tell me so.  There are those who hate it and tell me so.  There are
those who ask for help, or offer help.  No problemo there.

But there are those who see the upside down pentagram and send me email
stating I'm in the wrong religion.  Thems I consider spam because they
try to pursuade me to their belief system.
> (I threw this last point in because some have argued that there is an
> implicit agreement that mail on a mail exploder will not be objected to, as
> it fits the charter, blah blah. So I removed this implicitness by speaking
> of someone who writes a letter.)

Makes no difference what you throw in.  A mail exploder that auto subscribes
everyone on the planet without their consent IS a source of spam.  A mail
exploder that sends email to those who wish to receive it is not because there
was consent.
> If _content_ is not a criterion for spam, as Costner and others have noted,
> then "wasting Ray's time" is even less of a criterion for what spam is.

Spam is unsolicited broadcasts.   Pure and simple.  If you spam me with
a scheme to make you money, it's spam.  If you spam me with "Jesus loves you"
it's a spam.  If you spam me with chain letters promising whatever or warning
of great virus plages, it's still spam.  Content is a valid criterion for spam
and so is consent. It's the unwanted content of these messages that makes
them unwanted.  If they were useful to the recipient, they wouldn't be unwanted
hence would not be spam.

Problem is every dickhead who buys into the "Make Money Fast on the Net
By Spamming" theory has dollar signs in his eyes and thinks his message
is the most valuable, most useful, most cuddly lovely bit of info on the
planet and that he's doing everyone a service by shoving it down their 
unwiling throats.
> Look, there's just not going to be a simple government answer to "unwanted
> communications" that doesn't do serious damage to our liberties.

I posted a very nice technological way to deter spam, and you go and read
governmental interfearence in it.  READ the message you reply to before you
respond to it.
> Technological/economic approaches are the only way to go.

No shit.  And that's what I posted earlier.


.+.^.+.|  Ray Arachelian    |Prying open my 3rd eye.  So good to see |./|\.
..\|/..|sunder@sundernet.com|you once again. I thought you were      |/\|/\
<--*-->| ------------------ |hiding, and you thought that I had run  |\/|\/
../|\..| "A toast to Odin,  |away chasing the tail of dogma. I opened|.\|/.
.+.v.+.|God of screwdrivers"|my eye and there we were....            |.....
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