North American Network Operators Group

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Re: spammers will move offshore?

  • From: David Charlap
  • Date: Thu Aug 10 11:23:08 2000

Morgan Dollard wrote:
> Im confuesed about the origin of this discussion, since i mised the
> kick off, but i see way too much concern over spam, we've all been
> receiving junk mail in our Mailboxes (paper plastic stuff) for years,
> and has any1 ever been sued or banned from the US postal service for
> it?

There's a difference.  When someone physically mails you an ad, you
suffer no damages.  The sender pays for the ad.  It costs you nothing to
receive it.

Similarly when someone tries to phone an ad to you.  The sender pays for
the call.  (I have yet to see an advertiser try to make collect calls. 
But even then, you have the option to refuse the call before it costs
you anything.)

Now, if someone sends you an ad via a fax, that's different.  You have
to pay for the received fax.  Your paper and toner are being consumed,
and you don't have the option to refuse (other than blocking specific
incoming phone numbers).  For this reason, it is illegal to send
unsolicited ads to fax machines.

E-mail is similar to fax machines.  The sender pays little or nothing. 
The recipient pays for the ad in the form of network bandwidth consumed,
disk storage used, and CPU cycles used.  Like faxes, you can't choose to
refuse the ad without blocking all mail from that source.

While these costs incurred by a spam recipient may not be much for an
individual on a fast network line, they can be very substantial for an
ISP with thousands of customers.  (How much storage on a mail server is
consumed if 10,000 customers each receive a 2K spam?  How about if each
one receives 5 a day?)  In order to avoid server meltdown, most ISPs
have had to upgrade their mail servers and hire full-time abuse staff. 
This costs real money, which gets passed along to their customers in the
form of higher subscription rates.

> SPAM, typically unsolicited mail, is no differnet from having jehova
> witnesses knock at your door, or one of them salesman try to sell u
> insurance a house a boat, the moon, hell his underwear even.

If I was forced to pay for these people's advertising, I would be just
as angry with them.

If you can figure out a way to make the senders (and not the recipients)
bear the entire cost of spam, we'd all love to hear it.  Until then,
they are stealing my money to fund their advertising campaigns.

-- David