We Don’t Need The Government’s “Help” Fixing Spam

We Don’t Need The Government’s “Help” Fixing Spam: Ronald Reagan once said, ‘The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”‘ That’s particularly true when it comes to spam. Take it from someone who works for an ISP wholesaler, you don’t want the government to try to legislate spam away.

Most of the people in government — heck, let’s be honest — the majority of people on the net don’t have a good understanding of how their own computer works, much less how the net works. I can say that with complete certainly because I spent thousands of hours in tech support talking to people who thought I could see their screens or wondered if it was OK to turn their computer back on since it had been a year since they got an “illegal operation” error on the FBI website (yes, I really did get that call). Now, I’ll grant you that Congress makes laws all the time without having enough knowledge to make a decision, but I don’t want them doing that when it comes to spam.

I say that because there’s no law that Congress can pass that is going to even make a dent in amount of spam coming into your inbox. That’s because it’s a global problem and even if we pass a “spam and we shoot you” law, it’s not something that spammers in other countries are going to have to worry about. I talk to multiple ISPs & people who deal with mail servers and spam every day, so believe me when I tell you that the solution to the spamming problem is technological, not legislative.

That’s why you should be very wary when you hear our Congress discuss ways to “help” us deal with spam. Some of the things they’re coming up with are largely ineffective, yet relatively harmless things like targeting US based spammers or coming up with “do not email” lists. If they want to bust a few spammers and get good press by suggesting things like that, that’s fine, but no one should actually expect it to cut into the amount of spam we’re receiving.

However, not everyone who claims that they, “only want to help” has a benign agenda. For example, Senator Mark Dayton (D-Minnesota) suggested that we tax email to help stop spam. It also wouldn’t surprise me to see people who want the government to tightly monitor and control the net claim that they only want to fight spam. After all, it’s a lot easier to sell, “We just want to find out who the spammers are so we can stop them” than, “WE ARE WATCHING YOU!” In any case, there’s very little good that is going to come out of having Congress trying to wipe out spam.

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