Fighting Spam for Dummies

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By John R. Levine, Margaret Levine Young and Ray Everett-Church.
January 2004, 222 cute little pages, US$14.99. C$21.99, £9.99, ISBN 0-7645-5965-6.

Spam -- unsolicited bulk and commercial e-mail -- may be killing e-mail. Spam is making causing people to cancel their Internet accounts (or at least stop reading their e-mail), because e-mail has become just plain tooan unpleasant and too big a waste of time. E-mail has also become unreliable, because spam filters sometimes accidentally throw away good messages with the spam. Spam wastes thousands of hours of our time, as we scan skim subject lines and press the Delete key, trying to guess which messages aren't even worth opening. Luckily, we e-mail users can do something about spam, both on both the small scale and on the grand scale. On the small scale, we can use spam filters so that we don't have to seeto junk most of the spam that's addressed to us, and we can report spam to network managers. On the grand scale, we can lobby for effective anti-spam laws to make it possible for us to sue the rip-off artists who don't see anything wrong with paying nothing to fill our inboxes that we pay for with their advertising. You've probably figured out that we have some strong feelings about spam! You probably have strong feelings too. This book is talks about how you can get rid of most or all of the spam in your mailbox. We also cover where spam comes from, how it came about, whom to report it to, and whether anti-spam laws would be effective. We can assure you that after reading this book, you'll know how to have an almost spam-free Internet experience.


  • Chapter 3: As of January 2004 the US has the new CAN SPAM act. The good news is that it's a law about spam. The bad news is that it leaves most kinds of spam legal (the kinds that aren't egregiously fraudulent) and provides little recourse against violators, since the Federal Trade Commission and state Attorneys General can sue but get no new funding, mail providers can sue but only in Federal court which is very expensive, and individual recipients have no recourse at all. See the copy of the bill and the comments on the CAUCE website.


  • Flawless so far.

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