no government regulation of the net (was Re: bulk postage fine)

Adam Back aba at
Sun Aug 3 03:40:31 PDT 1997

David Formosa <dformosa at> writes:
> On Sun, 3 Aug 1997, Adam Back wrote:
> > David Formosa <dformosa at> writes:
> [...]
> > > The best soultion given so far is Cause's suggestion of modifying
> > > the fax law so that we can sue the spammers.
> > 
> > Law, and suing and the internet don't mix.
> You got to be jokeing, what about alomost every AOL vs. Cyberpromo or
> Compuserve vs. Cyberpromo or all thouse other ISPs against Cyberpromo.

It happens, but IMO it's an inefficient dumb way to go about business.
The more modern net based enterprises will use more efficient
non-governmental solutions, and their more efficient conflict
resolution mechanisms will allow them to out-price, and eventually
cause the dinosaurs to go bankrupt, or to adopt similarly efficient

Government backed legal systems are inefficient.  A purely anonymous
transaction where both parties identity is well concealed is much more
efficient.  There is no one to sue.  Fighting legal suits is
expensive, especially in the US.

The high rates go to the unproductive members of society, government
court officials, over-priced lawyers, etc.  This drives up all prices
through insurance premiums.  The company has to pass on the cost of
the legal system to their clients.

Mutually negotiated arbitration as part of the contract of sale is
much more efficient.  Third party arbitrators holding with a copy of
the contract, a deposit from each party in escrow, and a reputation as
a fair arbitrator is much more efficient.  Either party breaks the
contract as decided by the arbitrator and they loose their deposit.

Some people are using arbitration services now as an alternative to
the government legal system.  This is a form of automatic
privatisation of the legal system.  The government legal systems are
facing free market competition.

It'll probably help if the arbitration service is anonymous also, else
some idiot will fall back to the government backed legal system and
raise the prices of arbitration through the insurance costs they'll
have to factor in case of being themselves sued in a government court.

> > Eg. Say I spam you via an anonymous remailer.  So now who are you
> > going to sue?
> The spammers if there advertising a servese will need someway for me to
> contact them.  Some way for me to get the goods.  Just anonomising the
> email will not hide there identy.  

True.  But how do you prove to one of these inefficent government
courts that it is indeed the spam beneficiary who posted the spam.

What if he says "I didn't do it"?  He's probably right, he probably
paid Spamford to do it for him.  Or perhaps someone doesn't like the
company and does a spam with their contact information just to cause
them trouble?  I'm sure it's happened before.

I'm not sure it's so easy to identify the spammer.  You can't sue the
person who's number is at the bottom.  What about the politician who's
home phone number got spammed to* as a phone sex number.

So to the government mentality when they bump into this problem, it
means that they will try to prevent anonymity.  They'll want you to
use their new fangled PKI to have either no anonymity, or else
escrowed anonymity, where the government gets to see who everyone is.

> Any way pushing spammer email though most email remailers will cause
> them to crash from sheare volume.

That's also not a good thing.

The danger with using government to attack spammers, is that this is
the net, and we don't want governments involved in regulation of
content, nor in attempting to enforce "identity escrow", "internet
drivers licenses" or anything else.

This is the likely long term or even possibly short term outcome of
calling for help from government to sort out spammers.

We can sort them out ourselves without the need of government
intervention, thanks kindly.

Have *you* exported RSA today? -->

print pack"C*",split/\D+/,`echo "16iII*o\U@{$/=$z;[(pop,pop,unpack"H*",<>

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