TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Spam Hits Us Hard Today - Message Losses

Re: Spam Hits Us Hard Today - Message Losses
15 Apr 2005 07:38:20 -0700

TELECOM Digest Editor wrote:

> There *has to be* a better way of sorting out the spam.

There have been several efforts to outlaw it, but none have passed.

Do the 'spam interest groups' have that powerful of a lobby to keep
such bills from passing? Or are there other Internet activists who,
for their own reasons, are opposed to such laws and regulation?

Are there technical reasons of the Internet itself that prevents
restricting spam?

P.S. The real "Spam" is a pork luncheon meat made by the Hormell
Company. Been around for years. During the WW II it was given to
soldiers who complained about it. The problem was not with the food
itself -- people liked it -- but rather than monotony of the same food
served over and over again.

We take long lasting packaged food for granted these days, but during
WW II it was a difficult challenge for the army Quartermaster Corp to
preserve food made in the U.S. to withstand long sea voyage to Europe
or Asia, keep in all sorts of climatic conditions, and be tasty. The
official US Army history series ('green books') admit it was tough for
them to do. Cooking stoves used gasoline, but required unleaded
because the lead would clog the gear. BUT, leaded gas was needed for
vehicles and they didn't want to have to ship both leaded and unleaded
gasoline. The logistics of supplying millions of men overseas were
incredible. Take a look at the Quartermaster Corp WW II history
'green book'.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: To address your postscript first, even
the Hormell Company likes to poke fun at what happened to their
product 'Spam' when the internet people got done with it. Have you
seen those various commercials playing on TVLand? There are
variations on the theme but always with the same results. In one, a
houseguest is complimenting the family cook on the meal which has been
served, which consists of some spam. As the cook describes how she
prepared the meal, each time she speaks the word 'spam' we see her
mouth up close, speaking the word deliberatly. The houseguest asks if
a second serving might be available, whereupon the cook says. "oh
certainly, we always have more _spam_"; a very large delivery truck
crashes through the wall and dumps thousands of cans of the canned
meat product all over the table where they sit eating.

In a second one, the family is sitting at the table eating dinner,
but one family member is sitting at the family computer typing
something (appears to be the 'erase' key) with an angry, hateful look
on his face as he brays loud enough for everyone to hear him, "**M O R E
S P A M!!**, and the very same truck crashes the wall of the house and
dumps its load (several thousand cans of spam) all over the table and
the computer, completely burying the computer and the man who had been
doing the complaining. A very brief message at the end of both tells
us it came from Hormell Company.

Now the first part of your message, summed up thusly: Can't *they* do
anything about it? I can tell you that much of the software used in
email was constructed thirty years ago when spam was unheard of; it is
not easily adaptable for modern times. I can also tell you there was a
time many years ago when the very notion of censoring email and/or
Usenet messages was unthinkable. And some of us, myself at least, put
messages on Usenet saying, "when it eventually gets to the point that
the cesspool has to be cleaned out and censoring of email and Usenet
news becomes 'thinkable' by then it will be too late." And just think,
in the middle/late 1980's around here, we were shocked and offended by
that guy on Staten Island who sold magazine subscriptions on the net
posing as a foreign exchange female college student, and then 'Spam
King' if anyone still remembers him. But ... as offended as we were,
the idea of 'outing' them and violating _their_ privacy was still
considered 'unthinkable'. And for those of us who had all our wits
about us (yes, I used to be that way prior to the advent of my
diseased brain) to say it was 'thinkable' and proceeded to do
everything in our power to expose those a==holes with highly personal
messages giving their home addresses, home phone numbers, Social
Security Numbers and even (in one instance) their State of New York
Driver's Records (and yes, unnamed reader, I _do_ remember when you
graciously forwarded me the files on the internet magazine salesman)
all _we_ got for our efforts to expose these creatures was grief.

The magazine salesman and Spam King put tremendous heat on the
Trustees of Northwestern University, and in their horror that the
unthinkable had occurred, and one of the creatures had been (a)
censored and (b) had their 'privacy invaded' in turn put the heat on
the sysadmin at Northwestern to get my Unix accounts killed. Trouble
with that was, that like any good pre-ISP-days netter, I was a
'university Unix system account collector', between Boston University,
MIT, Harvard, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of
California at Berkeley and a few other places, I had more unix
accounts than you could number -- and still have a couple of them
around, even despite my brain disease, so the loss of Northwestern
only put a slight crimp in my schedule. The magazine salesman and his
friend Spam King did not put TELECOM Digest out of business as they

So Lisa, to further elaborate on your question "can't anything be
done", there are some politics involved with spam even today. There
are still some netters, that though they bitch and moan about all the
spam still don't want to get down to the real business of putting them
all to sleep once and for all. Thankfully, more and more people on the
net are getting to the point of 'thinking' about it. PAT]

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