Spam report

Over the past eight days, I have received 397 pieces of spam. 328 were flagged by Spamassassin and dropped in my spam-box before I ever saw them; one of these was arguably not spam (it was bulk, commercial e-mail that I didn’t particularly want, but I have bought stuff from the sender before, so they had obtained my e-mail address legitimately). Only about ten messages had subject lines that might fool me into thinking they weren’t spam.

I don’t have exact numbers, but spam accounted for well over half the total e-mail I received in this period–possibly over three-quarters.

6 thoughts on “Spam report”

  1. Adam – you been following the news I’ve been blogging on the Texas Spam Bill? If this thing goes into law, get prepared for it to get worse. Spammers throughout the country are going to move to Texas to take advantage of the spammer protections in this bill.

  2. Chip–I have been following your blog (of course I follow your blog!).

    I don’t imagine that I’ll wind up getting more spam even if spammers wind up with a safe haven in Texas–Virginia notwithstanding, spam is neither explicitly legal nor illegal, and spammers already seem to operate without concern for legal repercussions. And any law is going to be more or less unenforceable, IMO.

  3. I still like the simple and elegant idea, proposed by Adam on this blog (if I recall correctly) awhile back, of charging everyone some minuscule amount per message sent. This would have little impact on average citizens but would take a big bite out of spammers’ wallets.

  4. Actually, I refined that idea to be only that you’d pay a miniscule amount for graylist or blacklist mail, and that there would be a simple and universal mechanism for adding names to your whitelist (for which there’d be no charge).

    It actually would not particularly simple or elegant to implement–it would involve a lot of architectural changes to the Internet. But I think we’ve gotten to the point where it would be worthwhile.

    I would also be in favor of branding the mark of Cain on the foreheads of all spammers.

  5. Jenny – The problem is that when you introduce money into the system, you need to be incredibly careful it cannot be gamed or scammed. For instance, I’d hate to see a spammer forge a million emails in my name and I end up with a bill for a couple hundred bucks. It’s tough enough to design a reliable system (hear about this week’s Microsoft incident which exposed the credit cards of all their network users?), let alone convince everybody in the world to deploy it.

  6. Adam – I agree that state laws are largely ineffective. I see two cases where they are helpful.

    The first is where the spam never leaves the state and you can trace it back without difficulty. Then, a state law with a good right to personal action is useful. Just like people have been able to go to small claims court and nail junk faxers for $500 a pop.

    The other value of a state law is that we end up creating this national mess of a patchwork, which creates more pressure for Federal action. Again, this is the sort of scenario that led to the laws against junk fax in TCPA (Federal).

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