Can Legislation Solve The Spam Problem?

Wow. Can't tell whether Davis is posturing to take attention away from the Total Recall campaign and the short lived stall for the October 7th election. Maybe he's trying to make a mark. Some kinda mark.

But Davis signed a bill yesterday that calls for a hard no-tolerance stance toward that pesky unsolicited email we all seem to get every five minutes. And while I'm typically against such broad-reaching legislation, I guess I've been numbed and beaten up by the amount of spam that gets through my filters — let alone the stuff the winds up in the cesspool called Junk Mail on my Mac.

[…] “We are saying that unsolicited e-mail cannot be sent and there are no loopholes,” said Kevin Murray, the Democratic state senator from Los Angeles who sponsored the bill. […] The law would fine spammers $1,000 for each unsolicited message sent up to $1 million for each campaign

And while the industry where I earn my living is up in arms about the bill's restrictive measures, I welcome the effort but worry about what it will cost to enforce it. Frankly, I'm one of those odd internet users who feel that the best way to end spam and the pour excuses for communication incubated by the simplicity and low effort of pushing “send” on your email app, is to simply charge per email. Remember those silly petition hoaxes you received over the last few years calling for immediate measures to stop “the government” from taxing or charging “postage” per email? I think I earned more than a few second looks or even enemies when I sent the petition back with alterations suggesting we support per email charges. I believe that most of us would think a bit more about the content of our email, the volume we send and the mindless mode of “cc'ing” everyone in your address book.

But the chances of my fantasy becoming reality are nil. So in the meantime, I'll support this legislation and hope that a cost-effective method for enforcement is implemented. And while other states have passed or are considering similar legislation, California will lead the way and as a result email boxes nationwide would be reduced.

[…] “California represents up to 20 percent of the e-mail that is sent or received,” said J. Trevor Hughes, the executive director, of the Network Advertising Initiative, a group of technology companies that send e-mail for marketers. “Instead of trying to segregate the California e-mail addresses, many of our members are going to make the California standard the lowest common denominator.”

How many unsolicited messages did you receive today? Leave your answer in the comments section below.