Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Junk spam, or: No thanks, my package is big enough

But my Inbox isn't.

Well, it seemed like a good idea. Email spam is like fax spam, so why not charge the email spammers $500 per incident just as we do for fax?

Pity that a committee of the California legislature killed a bill, SB 12, that would do just this.

So what else to try? I've been using spamassassin for some time, and while it filters out a bunch of crap I still need to spend more time than I care to in turfing junk email.

Spammers of course say this is a free speech issue, but I'm reminded of that quip about freedom of the press belonging to he who owns the [printing] press.

I'm starting to think I should declare my mail server private property and charge these jerks with trespassing.

Or just charging them. I heard of a technique that works with phone solicitors. Keep a record of all calls (call number display can help), and when a new solicitor calls inform him that this is a business line and your business is evaluating telephone solicitation. On a subsequent call just listen as a consumer would, write up a report, and send it to them with a bill for as much as you think your time is worth, perhaps $500. This has apparently succeeded in small clains court, a fact not lost on the solicitors who view being informed that you will do this as somewhat more interesting than even the recent US federal Do Not Call list.

I wonder if this will work for email as well? It'd be a bit more work to track down the sender ... I might have to charge them more for my report.

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