Cindy Cohn at the EFF gave an interesting [IP] Report from FTC Spam Conference spelling out several problems with the way that current anti-spam initiatives work:
“a. Lack of transparency. It was telling that none of the Blacklists on the panel would reveal which ISPs use them and only one ISP in the audience spoke up that he used a Blacklists.
b. Overbreadth — the techniques block more than just spam. The worst problem here, after just plain errors in anti-spam tools, is the blocking of other customers of an ISP because one of the customers is accused of spamming.
c. Lack of due process for those accused of spamming. Few anti-spam measures give any warning beforehand and there seems to be a general failure to respond quickly to mistakes.
d. Misuse of anti-spam processes for non-spam related purposes. I mentioned Moveon.org’s suspicion that their messages are being marked as spam by those who disagree with their political message and the well-publicized incidents of anti-spam folks blocking each other due to competitive and personal disputes.
e. “Whack a mole” problem. The current situation has an everchanging number of individuals and groups acting as decisionmakers. This has happened to EFF many times — we just get removed from the Razor database to learn that somehow we’ve ended up on someone else’s bad list. It often takes serious investigative time even to figure out who has blocked us, much less why (see transparency, above). This situation makes it very difficult for small listowners.”
This to my mind is why we need to make life much more difficult for the spammers themselves rather than relying on technology to solve the problem. Some suggest if you stop them in one area they will pop up in another but if you can make sure they can’t work from within the US and Europe and much of the rest of the developed world that would be a good start – the cost of working with “rebel” ISPs should increase to the point that it becomes no longer economic to run a spamming business.
Apparently much of the spam that is put out at the moment comes from Florida so an effective anti-spam law there might help a great deal!account merchant accept card no creditabbey card credit3 credit bureauscredits 2007 taxunion accentra creditsc americreditcredit-suisse bond alanmusic accreditation Map