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Re: Economics of SPAM [Was: Micorsoft's Sender ID Authentication......?]

  • From: John Levine
  • Date: Sat Jun 11 16:35:07 2005

>I therefore assert there is no technical solution to spam.

I think you're preaching to the choir here.

>What will stop it is some sort of new economic model, billing for
>e-mail (yeah yeah some reasonable amt "included"),

Unfortunately, that's a technical solution, because it requires that
we invent some sort of technology that can track all the mail, assign
responsibility for postage, and do the settlements.  As I've been
saying for quite a while, it doesn't exist and it's not likely to,
ever, because mantaining large rapidly updated databases with
authentication on the updates is a fundamentally hard problem.

> along with vigorous enforcement of that model against theft of
> service etc. Miscreants of the sort we're dealing with only
> understand jail time.

If it's OK with you, I'd rather skip the epostage vaporware and move
directly to the enforcement.  Most spammers are breaking multiple
laws, even the inane CAN-SPAM act, now.  

Where I think technology can help is to make it easier to build cases
against spammers that will stand up in court.  I was the
Commonwealth's technical expert in the criminal case against Jeremy
Jaynes, and it was clear that kind of prosecution is much too
expensive to work against any but the very largest spammers who are
targeting recipients that are motivated to spend their own money to
help prepare the case.

John R. Levine, IECC, POB 727, Trumansburg NY 14886 +1 607 330 5711
[email protected], Mayor,, 
Member, Provisional board, Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail