Internet v1.5

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Larry Seltzer's article, Throw Away the Internet; Start All Over, brings up some approaches to 'fixing' the SMTP protocol and reducing spam. The title is all bark, and the article very little bite. Other than the first paragraph, where Larry proclaims that the creators of the Internet weren't thinking about security and proposes scrapping the current infrastructure and starting from scratch, the article isn't really about starting all over. He mostly talks briefly about how SMTP is inherently insecure and how a certification program for clients and servers would solve all of this. Perhaps a good idea, but the transition to such a system will likely be more difficult than the problem it is solving.

Some numbers Larry throws out seem a little high to me. He figures that if people were limited to 100 emails a second, and major companies to 10,000 emails a second, that spammers would be out of a job with little to no change in habits for everyone else. 100 emails a second? Isn't that still ludicrously high? 100 per second.. 360,000 per hour... 8.64 million per day. It may be that some spammers send a lot more than 8.64 million emails a day, but I doubt they would be that upset with such a cap imposed.

Where Larry is on to something though, is with the idea of making Email more expensive. The only reason your meatspace junkmail isn't as overwhelming as your electronic junk mail is because printing stuff is expensive. The US post office is expensive. If we could increase the cost of email to the point that for your average user it would only be a few dollars a month.. but for you average spammer it would cease to be economically viable, then we'd be in business. Big marketers would still pay.. but your daily dose of "Get Rich Quick" schemes, Inadequacy Pumps, sub-$100 PhDs and hot young vixens in need would be greatly reduced if not obliterated entirely.

How we make email more expensive when it is so ridiculously dirt cheap right now is left as an exercise for the reader.


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This page contains a single entry by Dylan published on April 21, 2003 10:06 PM.

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