|Received:||3/14/2004 7:34:43 PM|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
A national registry would not work. All it would do is prevent small web sites, who cannot afford to participate in the registry, from sending email messages to their visitors. Moreover, most of the spam that flows through our mail servers comes from foreign sources. True spammers will never use the list. The only advertisers who use the list are the ones who do not spam in the first place. The best, most effective way, to deal with spam would be to spend a bit of money on enforcement. Currently there is the email@example.com address that I suspect gets thousands of emails per day. As spam reports come in, when a certain threshold of UCE is reached advertising one product, then action should be taken. This would involve some time spent by officers tracking down the source of the spam and the company being advertised in the spam. Then, close the company down, if, in fact, they were making use of the spam. If the FTC closes a few companies, makes a few arrests, and makes a big deal out of it, I think there will be a large deterent. Education of Internet users is also essential. People need to be taught to never, ever, under any circumstances purchase something from a spam email message. Finally, what troubles me most with the idea of the national do not spam list, is the ease of which it would be to "frame" somebody. Since it is so cheap to send email out, it would not be too difficult to send out a few million messages advertising a competitor's web site. As soon as a few hundred complaints come in, the company is at risk of being closed down, fined, or have to pay thousands in litigation. Currently, this type of attack is known as a "Joe Job" - It is used, quite effectively, to force ISPs to close down web sites. If you do not like your competitor, just send out a few thousand emails advertising their site. It is very effective. If the goal is really to stop spam, then this can be accomplished without a silly "do not email list." 1. Educate the public to never respond to spam email. 2. Hunt down and prosecute the companies that are paying to have their products and web sites advertised in UCE. 3. Make it known to companies that spamming is not profitable by making a big deal out of these arrests and prosecution. Finally, spam must be sent over wires, and products must be delivered by mail carriers. ISPs must be held accountable for their users. If spam originates from their network, they should be required to close the accounts of the perpetrators or risk large fines. Too often ISPs allow spam to be sent from their networks so long as the price is right. Also, FEDEX and USPS and UPS, etc. are also responsible, in part, for the spam we receive. If products are being mailed, products that were sold via illegal spam, then they should share in the liability. The only way spam will stop is if it becomes unprofitable. The only people that will be hurt by a do not spam registry are legitimate marketers and small businesses. Please do not set up a do not spam registry. It will just be a waste of money.