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Will Legislation Can Spam?

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Will legislation be able to can spam? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Legislative efforts in Washington to curb unwanted email or spam have been supported by some big technology companies like Microsoft and Time Warner's America Online. But at Symantec, the world's largest maker of software aimed at the problem, CEO John Thompson says... .anti-spam laws are a waste of time...

"I just don't think it's enforceable. And I think it provides a hollow, false promise to consumers. How do you enforce it? How does the U.S. enforce spam? I mean it's illogical. Just totally illogical." What's the best solution? "The best solution is for the technology infrastructure providers to fix it. It's a nuisance and they can fix it. Because technology will allow you to address the problem. But they need to change their business models. And if they're unwilling to change their business models, it will never get fixed. It won't get fixed through regulation, period."

The Symantec CEO argues the way to reduce spam... is to make those who send it pay... the way direct mail advertisers have to pay for postal deliveries...

"Do you think people would willy nilly send bulk mail if it was too expensive for what they thought the return would be?"

Thompson says charging for bulk email... would weed out the junk and allow legitimate advertising... using email... to survive. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.