A Bounty on Spammers
Spam is a blight on our high-tech civilization. Lawrence Lessig has an idea: force spammers who don't label their junk e-mail to pay $10,000 to the first recipient who finds them.According to Merriam-Websters dictionary, a vigilante is "a member of a volunteer committee organized to suppress and punish crime summarily (as when the processes of law appear inadequate)." He or she is "a self-appointed doer of justice." The Internet has had a long history of digital vigilantism, the most common being spam vigilantes. These well-meaning souls fight to rid the Net of unsolicited commercial e-mail, sent mostly by direct marketers eager to get your attention, whether you want it or not, at work and at home. Such groups attempt to fight these intrusions by building lists of sites that dont obey "proper" e-mail etiquette and then by organizing automated boycotts of the sites on the list. If your companys e-mail server finds itself on one of these lists, then a significant number of your e-mails will be routed into a virtual black hole.
If California Congressman Howard Berman has his way, soon these spam vigilantes will be joined by a new rank of lawless law enforcerscopyright vigilantes. In July, Berman, a Democrat, introduced a bill to deputize the recording industry and other copyright holders to help fight copyright violations. Through his bill, these vigilantes would be granted immunity from liability as they deployed tools to hack peer-to-peer systems that they "reasonably believe" violate copyright laws. Run a Morpheus server with content that recording industry executives think is theirs, and you may find your machine doesnt run much content at all.