TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: FTC Do Not Call List

Re: FTC Do Not Call List

Mark Crispin (MRC@CAC.Washington.EDU)
Wed, 14 Dec 2005 17:14:45 -0800

On Wed, 14 Dec 2005, wrote:

> Mark Crispin wrote:

>> The general problem is the considerable cost in going after spammers.
>> It is almost impossible to recover more than a fraction of these
>> costs, even when there is complete success in prosecution and seizure
>> of the spammer's ill-gotten gains.

> Could you elaborate on this issue?

I think that you did an excellent job of doing so yourself. In brief:
. criminal prosecution is on the taxpayer's dime
. awards for civil damages have to be collected, which entails locating
hidden assets (which is itself and expensive and difficult
proposition). All too often, a good deal of the assets went up the
bad guy's nose.

> I'm not at all sure it would be as a complex process as you suggest.
> The internet is software driven, not hardware driven; that is, it's
> not like someone going out and physically rewiring every PC and server
> in the world. Rather, it is developing new software and downloading
> it.

Simply put, you greatly underestimate the magnitude of the task.

The task of updating software on commodity PCs (which you refer to) is
nothing compared to that of updating other clients, much less the
servers. There's a whole world out there that you're apparently
unaware exists, and not even Microsoft controls it.

Furthermore, commodity software updates do not depend upon updates
from other vendors. It would take many years (and I do mean *years*)
for all of the vendors involved to agree upon the new design, new
protocols, and set an update program in motion.

Just take a look at how long IPv6 has taken, and is likely to continue
to take.

I am not trying to discourage you from this plan. It would be foolish
for me to do so, as you are effectively waving around a huge chunk of
pork that will have people like me on a feeding frenzy for years to
come. I'll be retired long before it's ever deployed, so that I won't
to worry about fixing the mistakes that will inevitably be made.

If you are deterred, don't fall into the opposite trap of despair and
saying "nothing can be done". Individuals, organizations, and
governments are still actively applying band-aids to the spam problem.
None of these will completely solve the problem, but presently the
economics of spamming will cease to be as attractive and most spammers
will move on.

And who knows, maybe some day whomever ends up managing the Internet
will be foolish^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hfarsighted enough to commission a
complete redesign of Internet email. It would be a nice sinecure for
me and lots of other people.

>> The new email infrastructure will also give the world email postage
>> stamps. And this time, it won't be just governments who get a cut of the
>> profits. The biggest objection to SMTP in the SMTP vs. X.400 wars two
>> decades ago was that SMTP's fundamental design made it impossible to
>> impose email postage stamps. You can bet that the new redesigned Internet
>> email won't have that problem.

> Email and internet use is NOT "free". Someone is paying for the
> servers, routers, and lines and people who install and maintain them.

This is all true. Nevertheless, you misunderstand the purpose of
email postage stamps. It is not for infrastructure cost recovery; you
pay for that in your ISP fees.

Rather, email postage stamps are a *tax*. The ostensible purpose of
the tax would be to pay the government to provide the service of
policing email. As with other taxes, the services provided and the
amount of the taxes you pay will be decided by the government.

As with other taxes, you can bet that when the money starts flowing,
there will be taps put on that flow for other purposes. The
Spanish-American War effort was paid off a long time ago, but we all
still pay the federal excise tax on telephones that was established to
pay it.

Mind you, I personally favor the imposition of email postage stamps!
But my reasons are not the same as yours, and you would not like my

>> Be careful for what you wish. You may get it. And there are plenty of
>> people who are quite happy to provide it to you (*ka-ching*!).

> The costs of spam and fraud and high enough now, the cash register is
> going along quite nicely, except the thieves are getting the money.

You ain't seen nothin' yet.

Crooks have nothing on governments when it comes to the bite.

> How many people, other than myself, are holding back from participating
> in e-commerce and communications because of mistrust of the system?

Do you buy products from catalogs that you receive unsolicited in the
mail? Why or why not?

-- Mark --
Science does not emerge from voting, party politics, or public debate.
Si vis pacem, para bellum.

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