North American Network Operators Group|
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RE: EFF whitepaper
Well-written or not, this piece has a vague odor of blaming the victim for the crime. To cite the specific example quoted below, if cash-hungry spam havens like China, Korea and others took action locally to reduce the "spam-friendly" nature of many of their online providers, the filtering fickle middle finger of fate would not be pointed at them as a geographical entity. I mean, if 40% of my spam comes from or through China, then of course I will be more wary of accepting mail from there. Profiling isn't a problem of free speech, it is a simple matter of statistics. It's a bad craftsman that blames his tools. These utilities are specifically designed to operate in the online environment we find ourselves in. Perhaps it is the environment that needs changing, not the way we protect ourselves from it. - Mark ------------------------------------ Spam Assassin, a popular program that does ad hoc pattern matching, assigns "points" to various features of an email to determine whether it is spam. The higher the number of points, the more likely it will be sent to the spam folder or discarded. Points can be assigned for everything from country of origin to certain words or subject headers. One of the major problems with this system is that messages from certain countries - like China, for example - can be blocked purely on the basis of where they come from and what language they're in The implications for free speech here are very troubling indeed: a human rights group communicating with people in China may find that their bulk email is blocked, and thus anti-spam technology unintentionally works as a political censorship mechanism. Of course, this is only a problem when end users are not given control over how points are assigned, and what will be done with messages that get "high" or "low" marks. Spam Assassin and programs like it can be configured to give users more control.