SPAM is a necessary byproduct of a free market economy and suggests the existence of idiots on the Internet.
Obnoxious? Yes. Does it often times contain offensive material? Yes. Do I personally tolerate SPAM? No! Does it infringe on your rights or cause any kind of individual or group harm? No. Should it be made illegal? No! Do I wish that people who send spam should burn in a fiery place in hell? Absolutely, without a doubt in my mind - let 'em burn!
SPAM does not need a social policy to fix a technological design flaw in an ancient protocol. SPAM needs a technological policy to solve a technical design flaw. Enter SPAM filters, SPF, and domain keys. Just like an individual "tunes in" to certain TV programming or advertisements that are broadcast out to an individual, that same individual has the right to tun into what it is that they want to pay attention to. Because the Internet is a decentralized medium (that should be free of regulation and taxation), it is within the rights of a spammer (for better or worse) to connect to your mail server and send you advertisements (whether or not you like it or not). TV, newspaper, and radio have been doing this for many, many, many years. The Internet should not be an exception to this standing policy. This lack of a central policy is what makes the Internet free and great.
Instead of objecting to SPAM, which is the electronic equivalent of a TV or radio advertisement for the e-mail/Internet (a fundamental concept of capitalism and component of a market driven economy), object to what you object to, and let the computers who manage your email manage the problem. If spammers weren't making any money off of people's idiocy, their line of work wouldn't be lucrative. The incentive to send idiotic blurbs about wealth in Nigeria or penis enlarging pills is directly proportional to idiots putting in their credit card numbers and buying into the misspelled v1agra bullshit.
If your computer systems are incapable of dealing with this, check out a commercial spam filter, build your own using Open Source utilities, or use a mail client that filters SPAM. Don't fix problems that don't need fixing. If you're a consumer, complain to your mail administrators or switch companies that are hosting your email: you are not helpless against SPAM or objectionable e-mail content.
Ultimately solving the SPAM problem requires a market based solution and not a technological one. If SPAM truly does bother you, reduce the demand for SPAM advertised products by removing the demand - go educate the ignorant bastard who buys v1gra shit and helps fuel the SPAM advertising economy. Again, the expense of sending SPAM is propped up by the fact that it's lucrative to the someone sending the email.
Questions are, as always, quite welcome. If you don't believe in free markets, take a hike - but don't attempt to impose on my freedoms or constrain the last true free market system on the planet, the Internet.
For more information, please refer to Wikipedia's SPAM page.
Copyright © 2007 Sean Chittenden <seanc@FreeBSD.org>. All rights reserved.