The current characteristics of e-mail, corporate hostility toward customer privacy, and an industry insistence on computer user ignorance complete the witches brew. We are now served a huge daily helping of spam from this cauldron. By its nature, the bulk of the cost of spam is borne by the recipient and it is easy to obfuscate header information that might be used to effectively filter legitimate messages from spam spew.Any company with a Web presence should immediately change course and move in the direction of fiercely, jealously, passionately, unswervingly and with no strings attached protecting private, personal user information. Furthermore, give consumers exclusive control (even if this is complete relinquishment) over how personal information is used. Starting today, we should begin educating children on how to make choices in the way they use Internet resources. Aside from giving them access to the Internet, we need to help them value and protect their personal identity. We should encourage them to critically assess Web sites so they can determine if the information provided is valid, biased, correct or complete. Laws and litigation are one way to approach spam, but enabling users to control their personal information is a better option. Senior Analyst Cameron Sturdevant can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Much of the legislative effort is focused on pushing spam costs back on the sender, mostly through litigation. As Ive said before, this might get rid of one form of spam while leaving "legitimate" spam untouched.