Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(December 1997)

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Subject: Re: An alternative to spamming?
From: murr rhame <murr @ vnet . net>
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 1997 10:13:03 -0500 (EST)
To: Manar Hussain <manar @ ivision . co . uk>
Cc: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <E0xdu5y-00057O-00 @ stingray . ivision . co . uk>

On Fri, 5 Dec 1997, Manar Hussain wrote:

> My point was to try and illustrate one end of the spectrum to
> illustrate it's not so cut and dried. You're trying to have your
> cake and eat it here. You agree "that there's a world of difference"
> because one case is clearly acceptable but don't seem to see that
> the two cases are merely two disparate points of the same line - and
> that there must therefore be a grey area in between

[much deleted]

I'm sorry.  I just don't see any grey area here.  Unsolicited
Commercial Email (UCE) is evil, plain and simple.  There is no
redeeming social value to UCE.  

I suspect that most people only see this problem from the perspective
of their personal mail box.  Deleting a couple dozen pieces of spam a
day doesn't take but a few seconds.  Internet service providers have a
different point of view.  Most of the spam being sent today is being
relayed through unsuspecting Internet service providers.  The spammers
hand off the task of delivering millions of emails to any unprotected
mail system they can find in the net.  In many cases, the additional
load shuts down the mail system which has been hijacked.  Legitimate
mail services are lost until the system administrator can set up
appropriate filters to prevent mail from being sent by his system
without permission. 

On the receiving end, at the service provider level, a few dozen
incoming spams times a few thousand subscribers adds up to hundreds of
thousands of unwanted emails daily.  The service provider, and
ultimately the customer, picks up the cost of receiving this unwanted
incoming email.  On a national level, the cost of spam is huge.  I
would be willing to bet that millions of dollars have been spent
processing spam in the US this year.  The money goes for net
bandwidth, disk space, CPU capacity, bigger routers and other
hardware.  Sysadmins, postmasters and customer service reps
are spending thousands of man-hours dealing with spam every week.

Spam is not a trivial problem.  Unsolicited Commercial Email is theft
of services.  As long as commercial spammers don't bear the true cost
of delivering their junk mail, the problem will only get worse.

- murr -

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