Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forAugust 21st, 2003 | back to home

21 August 2003

Not only is the idea of missile defense unworkable (and irrelevant, since missles are not nearly as worrying as other nuke delivery means, and destabilising if other countries become afraid that it might work) but it is emerging that even the Pentagon admits the program is in trouble according to this article in Slate.

Apparently, the Missile Defense Agency has suspended the space-based kinetic-energy boost-phase interceptor (one of the program’s most crucial components) on the grounds that the technology it involves is “not mature enough” to fund.

Yet Bush’s budget asks for $9.1 billion next year and even more in subsequent years to continue research…authority alabama finance loan department housingk loan interest rate 401mortgage loan 500 scoresupplemental alaska loansapplications 1003 loanloans access and software store accountscash application loan application advance paydayloan conforming 2007 limitsagri loansstated loans 100 subprimesex having amateurs18 eighteenteens 100street 8th analia latinas8teenboy bradley riversnineteen orwell george 1984 eighty-four videophotos sexy alicia keysagainst teen curfews Map

I was wondering when this issue would start receiving some attention. A recent survey discovered that on average 17 percent of “permission-based” marketing messages are “erroneously” tagged as spam by ISP spam filters and are therefore never seen by their intended recipients. I would imagine that at least some of that is due to large numbers of people tagging email as spam that comes to them because of dubious definitions of “permission” (where companies have passed on details of their addresses to other “partners” for example). It’s noteable that 46 percent of email from “catalogers” (whoever they are?) is bounced on average compared to less than 1% of non-profit email so I expect some of the email bounced arguably deserved to be.

Nonetheless this is a serious problem and may become more so over time if spam volumes continue to rise and more people start to rely increasingly on technical “fixes”. The problem is, of course, that people who really do want to receive some bulk-delivered email – notifications of special offers they requested, for example, or even political communications – will end up missing it and won’t even know it happened. That’s why I believe carefully-phrased legal solutions to spam will in the end be better solutions to the problem than technical “fixes”.

Some suggest spammers (who are mostly in the US – and apparently mostly in Florida) will simply move overseas to avoid regulation but I believe only a hard core will be willing to live with the disruption to their lives and businesses that moving overseas to a country without anti-spam laws would cause. Anyway it has to be worth at least trying to lessen irresponsible bulk emailing using the law.

Thanks to this Techdirt thread for the heads-up