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

ken bbrow07 at
Thu Mar 3 03:52:59 PST 2005

> My view - as controversial as ever - is that the problem
> is unfixable, and mail will eventually fade away.  That
> which will take its place is p2p / IM / chat / SMS based.

Which are easier to spam and less secure than smtp.

SMTP is p2p by definition, though you can use servers if you want.

SMS  *IS* email , just a different kind of email - and a less 
secure, more expensive kind, in which the infrastructure is more 
in the hands of the large companies that run it and less 
accessible to users installing their own protections.

> In that world, it is still reasonable to build ones own IM
> system for the needs of ones own community, and not
> to have to worry about standards.  Which means one can
> build in the defences that are needed, when they are
> needed.

as we can for smtp

> Chat is already higher volume (I read somewhere) in
> raw quantity of messages sent than email.

I suspect you don't get much traffic. The beauty of a 
non-real-time store-and-forward system like smtp (or SMS, or 
oldstyle conferencing systems with off-line readers) is precisely 
that  it can be automated. I don't have to see mail I don't want.

> A fate for email is that as spam grows to take over more
> of the share of the shrinking pie, but consumes more of
> the bandwidth

A higher proportion of the snail-mail I get is junk than the 
email. In fact almost all of it is (& most of what isn't is bills 
:-( - usually already paid by the bank)  I throw more than half of 
my incoming paper mail in the bin unopened, and about half of what 
is left is just put in a cupboard in case I get into some dispute 
tithe the bank or the electric company or whoever.

A higher proportion of the landline phone calls I get are junk. At 
least 4 out of 5 calls, maybe 9 out of 10. Email is doing quite well.

 > the ISPs will start to charge people for
> email, and not for IM. 

Why should they charge more for qa service which is not only 
cheaper for them to run, but has more competition and is harder to 
subvert? A serious proportion of the rootkits and so on that have 
been plaguing us for the last few years involves chat & instant 
messaging & so on.  I'd block it at the boundary firewall. People 
who use it should just learn how to use mail.  They'd get through 
more. Chat is for functional illiterates. Learn to read at adult 
speed and you'll prefer mail. Why should they put up with being 
limited to someone else's typing speed?

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