• United States

Mailbag: spam laws

May 20, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMalwareMessaging Apps

* Readers weigh in on antispam legislation

Many thanks to those who expressed their opinions on my article discussing spam laws’ potentially unintended consequences. Here is a sampling of what I received from readers:

* “Folks that are sending e-mail and forging the ‘from’ address and/or headers in an attempt to disguise the origin are probably not too concerned about any laws they may be breaking.”

* “I would love to see some legislation in place where these spammers are held accountable for the ultimate financial impact they have on companies. I’m looking at spending upwards of 50 grand to address this (a perimeter solution).”

* “The issue with spam is not to regulate it, but for the marketplace to exercise its muscle, both on the technology side by eliminating it and on the market side by [not] supporting those companies that send it. I think the irony is that many people who get spam hate it, but every now and then they jump at a bargain and thereby encourage it.”

* “Some spammer has used my name and apparent e-mail address to send out his porn spam. Although the IP address that issued the mail is not one that belongs to my company, the spammer made it appear as though the mail legitimately came from me. How did I find out about this? One day I suddenly started getting dozens of out-of-office replies as well as invalid e-mail address returns coming back to my legitimate business e-mail address. I’m glad to see aggressive legislation being discussed and drafted against spam. I’d like to see criminal penalties for [this] type of impersonation.”

* “At the very least, it needs to be illegal to fake e-mail sender and header information. It doesn’t make sense for this to be OK, when it is obviously not OK for someone to send me a flyer with pornographic pictures, and the return address says it’s from my Grandma.”

* “I don’t believe that the government will go too far on this. It should be fairly straightforward to arrive at a definition that would identify 90%+ of all spam which would exclude all legitimate business mail. I do not believe, however, that it will be very effective unless tons of money is dedicated to it.”