You are here: Home > Participate > Join a Discussion > Mailman Archives
<<< Chronological >>> Author Index    Subject Index <<< Threads >>>

Re: Proposed EU Directive on Electronic Commerce

  • To: Piet Beertema < >
  • From: Dave Wilson < >
  • Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 17:22:51 -0000 (GMT)

> The first and key issue is to outlaw spam worldwide.
> The second issue is to devise a *working* technical
> scheme whereby UCE *can* be sent, but in a controlled
> fashion, i.e. capturable by a "standard" filter under
> the control of individual end users.

I'm not convinced that that's the best route to take. You know spam is bad. I
know spam is bad. But if we insisit on trying to ban all UCE while the spammers,
say, add a near-useless "Click here to be removed" line at the end of their
messages, we may lose out while the spammers are considered champions of

I would suggest that the first and key issue is to present a practical plan for
UCE that is not damaging to ISP's server or budget. If that plan just happens
to make UCE a most unattractive proposition, well and good - but the "let's ban
spam!" call has been turned into a technical effect on a workable plan, and so
much easier for legislators to take seriously.

>     The directive does not require laws to recognise the role of the
>     ISP in filtering spam.
> There's no need for that: if a customer instructs her
> ISP to not deliver mail with certain characterics,
> then the ISP acts as the representative/stand-in of
> the customer and intended recipient in those cases
> where mail is blocked that meets the criteria.

More violent agreement. And, even better, the conditions for joining a
particular ISP may well state that the ISP will not guarantee to deliver
labelled UCE to the customer. This is a very handy shortcut to getting some
of our resources back.

However, the ISP can't do this unless the it can identify the labelled spam.
And the directive only requires laws to ensure that the *customer* can identify
the spam, not the ISP.

As I said, any legal measure is dangerous, partly because it may be seen to
legitimaise spam. This may be a necessary part of any legal measure, and is not
necessarily a bad thing in itself *providing* the end result is neither a
nuisance nor a danger.

I think the directive needs to explicity recognise that the ISP may have a part
to play in the filtering process, by means of a provision that the UCE must be
identifiable to the ISP as well as the customer. Otherwise we may find ourselves
legally obliged to allow our servers be overwhelmed by tagged spam that we
cannot safely discern from legitimate mail.

Meanwhile: we need to decide among ourselves how we want a spam message to be
brought to our attention. I'm open to a combo X-UCE: Yes *plus* Subject:
[UCE] ...?


----------------------------------- dave.wilson@localhost   Dave Wilson, HEA-NOC
HEAnet Limited, Marine House, Clanwilliam Court, Dublin 2   ph.  +353-1-662 3412

  • Post To The List:
<<< Chronological >>> Author    Subject <<< Threads >>>