TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: How to Stop Junk E-Mail: Charge for the Stamp

How to Stop Junk E-Mail: Charge for the Stamp

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 13 Feb 2005 23:57:42 -0500


Published: February 13, 2005

COMPARE our e-mail system today with the British General Post Office
in 1839, and ours wins. Compare it with the British postal system in
1840, however, and ours loses.

In that year, the British introduced the Penny Black, the first
postage stamp. It simplified postage -- yes, to a penny -- and shifted
the cost from the recipient to the sender, who had to prepay. We look
back with wonder that it could have ever been otherwise. Recipient
pays? Why should the person who had not initiated the transaction be
forced to pay for a message with unseen contents? What a perverse

Today, however, we meekly assume that the recipient of e-mail must
bear the costs. It is nominally free, of course, but it arrives in
polluted form. Cleaning out the stuff once it reaches our in-box, or
our Internet service provider's, is irritating beyond words, costly
even without per-message postage. This muck -- Hotmail alone catches
about 3.2 billion unsolicited messages a day -- is a bane of modern

Even the best filters address the problem too late, after this sludge
has been discharged without cost to the polluter. In my case,
desperation has driven me to send all my messages sequentially through
three separate filter systems. Then I must remember to check the three
junk folders to see what failed to get through that should
have. Recipient pays.

NOTE: To read the New York Times on line daily here, with no login or
registration requirements, go to: About a hundred new
headlines daily, constantly refreshing 24/7. Just find the desired
headline, click on it and read the article.

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Monty Solomon: "Break-In At SAIC Risks ID Theft"
Go to Previous message: "Re: Old Party-Line Arrangements"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page