Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I had just finished reading Philip Jacob's piece and was preparing my thoughts for a panel on spam that I THINK I'm on in January when I saw this piece by Larry. It's great. It's right on and he's putting his job on the line. I totally agree. We CAN NOT give up the stupid network just to stomp out spamming. I think that the label/punish idea is great. I only worry that the punishment loop is more difficult internationally. Maybe you'll end up with a lot of spam from Japanese, Chinese and Russian spammers. ;-) Larry will still keep his job though, because it will still be siginificantly less spam than you get now.

Lawrence Lessig: putting my job where my mouth is

Lawrence Lessig
A kind-hearted email and a nice analysis of spam have given me an idea:

First the analysis: Philip Jacob has a great piece about spam and RBLs. The essay not only identifies the many problems with RBLs, but it nicely maps a mix of strategies that could be considered in their place. But, alas, missing from the list is one I've pushed: A law requiring simple labeling, and a bounty for anyone who tracks down spammers violating the law.

Then I got an email from a kind soul warning me about my work—"do you know how powerful your enemies are?" this person asked. No, I thought, I don't, but let's see. If I've got such powerful enemies, then I've got a good way to do some good.

Here goes: So (a) if a law like the one I propose is passed on a national level, and (b) it does not substantially reduce the level of spam, then (c) I will resign my job. I get to decide whether (a) is true; Declan can decide whether (b) is true. If (a) and (b) are both true, then I'll do (c) at the end of the following academic year.

So: Is there anyone else advancing a spam solution who would offer this kind of warranty?

PS We've had this discussion on spam on this blog before and my current position considering the technologies we have is that we use local whitelists (I use tmda) instead of central blacklists.

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