A solution to spam

I am against government intervention for the prevention of spam. I believe the Internet users are completely capable of handling this problem on their own. This means each Internet user has to do some work to prevent this, but the benefit is enormous: there is no government involvement, and you have control over what e-mail you get. I believe the government will not help because government will always cater to the strongest lobby. Perhaps laws that prohibit spam may initially get passed, but eventually I think the consumer will be on the losing side.

This page is limited to people who send e-mail to your e-mail address, not people who post to newsgroups. I believe ethical the way to handle newsgroup spammers would be (i) to forge cancel messages (if you're willing to have your messages canceled by forging), and/or (ii) extensive filtering. I do the latter on a regular basis and have not had much problems with SPAM on USENET (thanks, in no part, I'm sure, to the efforts of the people who do the cancelling for voluminous postings).

Guerilla warfare

If people can send you junk mail, you can send them junk mail too. I plan to collect a list of addresses of people who send unsolicited commercial e-mails and put it up here. To ensure fairness, names will appear on the list only if three different people send me that address. This list will be limited to addresses only and not to providers in general.

What can do you do with this list? The possibilities are endless and I will leave it to your imagination. A nice thing to do is put them on YOUR mailing list. I have a band page and I have a band mailing list. I subscribe anyone who sends me unsolicited commercial e-mail to these lists.

Some of my addresses goto a server which send back scientific data (i.e., huge files) to people who send me mail from these addresses. The purpose of the server is legitimate and scientific and people who wish to use it as that address can.

Tips to avoid unsolicited commercial e-mail

Most importantly, perhaps you don't want to see mail from them anymore. What I do is use the list of spammers in conjunction with filtering software to filter out e-mails from them (I use procmail, in conjunction with spamassassin and bogofilter).

Now, manually adding e-mail addresses is a pain. So what I do is put every piece of junk mail I get into a folder called "spam". I then have a script that takes this folder and operates on it in the following manner:

In addition, I use several filtering rules to sort things out better based on the behaviour of process_spam, and using tools like . spamassassin and bogofilter. Take a look at my .procmailrc for how this all works. Over time, this has resulted in me seeing very little spam.

Filtering software

Pseudointellectual ramblings || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org