On Tue, 13 Aug 2002 13:22:20 -0400, Henning Schulzrinne
And it is likely that standard tools, including return routability and
white lists, will work less and less. I've now received spam that had a
valid From address from within my own organization - if you have enough
email addresses, that's easily accomplished.
Just as there isn't only 'one problem', there isn't going to be 'one
solution'. The problem is multifaceted, and much of it is subjective
depending upon one's position in the e-mail space.
The solutions, I think, are across the following areas:
Educational - marketers, network providers, content providers, users
Technical - blacklists, whitelists, routing traceability, others
Political - legislative efforts
and many subsets of those areas.
Until network operators and Mail Content Providers come to agreement on
how to properly format commercial e-mail that isn't spam, there's no way
to differentiate Responsible Commercial E-mail from spam. Until
marketers understand and accept that spam is not a question of content,
rather a question of consent, we'll still have people blasting e-mails
out, but hiding behind the statement "we're not spammers. The people who
send pr0n and herbal viagra e-mails are spammers."
Users need education, as well. Knowing what to do and what not to do in
dealing with the growing onslaught of unsolicited e-mail is a start -
yet most people don't know what to do about it.
We can talk about technical solutions, or cloning the perfectly clueful
e-mail marketer, or getting people to pass laws. But until all of the
possible solutions are used productively, there will always be a lot of
running in place, not getting anywhere. And no number of technical
solutions, political solutions or user education will stop the vast
majority of spam - the stuff that's designed to fool the user into
opening it, get past any number of blacklists, and stay below the radar.
The very most I think we can hope to accomplish at this point is that
the network operator and the user is rapidly able to distinguish between
what they want to receive, and everything else. It's doing this well,
repeatedly, without recipients finding their e-mailed credit card bills
or their airline ticket e-mail receipt /dev/null'ed that has shown to be
Ted Gavin * tedgavin(_at_)newsguy(_dot_)com *
Trustee & Officer, SpamCon Foundation <http://www.spamcon.org>
A California Non-Profit Organization
Protecting email as a medium of communications and commerce