Spam is theft

The original dutch text-version below has been sent to all political parties (in the NL)

Email is a system which, unlike `ordinary' paper mail, which is paid for by the sender (postage stamps), spreads the costs of transport and delivery across sender recipient and everyone in between. One thing that electronic and conventional mail have in common is that the costs increase with the amount of mail (eg number of pages) and the physical distance between sender and recipient.

An other difference, is the ability to copy mail. If you send identical email's to john@xs4all.nl, peter@xs4all.nl and nick@xs4all.nl, you are in fact sending ONE message with three recipients. The xs4all.nl mailserver will then copy the mail sending a copy to each recipient. So it's more or less a combined post office and copy service. The latter makes that most of the costs are paid by the recipient instead of the sender.

Email related costs are:

  1. Transport
  2. Storage
  3. Processing

1

If you dial in to your provider using a modem and a telephone line, more data implies a higher telephone bill.
This doesn't mean that if there are no telephone costs, the whole thing is free. People who use permanent internet connections are often charged per megabyte of data. If a network transports more data it needs more and faster glassfiber links and more and more powerful network equipment to process all this data.

2

Data has to be stored (temporarily). This applies to both ISP's and their customers. Though harddisk are relatively cheap, the total cost of storing large amounts of spam can be astronomical. Costs which ultimately will be payed for by the subscribers.

3

Sorting and delivering mail is a lot of work. Just like the mailcompanies have to hire extra hands during the Christmas season to cope with the extra mail, ISP's need more and more powerful computers to deal with all the spam. The cost of which is payed for by the subscribers.

The properties of email imply a special responsibility on the account of the sender;
You only send something to someone if you can reasonably assume that there is a big chance that the recipient is actually interested in your mail.
You do not send needlessly large files.
You do not send attachments unless you are absolutely sure that the recipient has the software required to read your attachment.

Email is by definition a system where the receiver bares most of the cost. Unlike conventional mail however, there is no way that you can refuse mail. So you always pay.
Who whoever is advertising via email only makes one original brochure and has all printing and distribution costs payed for by the receivers, even when they didn't ask for this publication.

This can only lead to one conclusion. Spam is a legalised form of theft.
Normally, it is illegal to cause damage. Spam seems to be an exception.

Most people who use the internet, consider this to be a major injustice. An injustice which, in spite of terror campaigns from spammers against people who fight spam, has been fought against for years. The fact that some governments are incapable or unwilling to do anything about spam, is a failure of those governments. The same applies to political parties who are not prepared to fight this form of organised crime.

A government who, under the pretext of 'It's international, so we can't do anything about it', refuses to do anything about spam, it's worth anything. International legislation is usually preceded by national legislation. Besides, the more national governments outlaw spam, the more difficult get for spammers. Good anti spam laws also set an example to other legislators.

The various versions of proposed legislation are roughly as follows;

  1. Opt-In
  2. Opt-Out
What all these have in common is that it is not allowed to hide your identity.

1

You only get the spam you specificly asked for.

2

There are 2 versions;
A Centralised
B Decentralised

A

There is ONE central international database where you store your preference. This of course only really works if consulting such a database is mandatory. Failing to properly use this database should be a criminal offence.

B

This is what most companies want; Anyone can send junkmail to anyone. The email should provide the unsubscription method for JUST THIS COMPANY. This of course means that they can spam you again, provided that they use a different company name or trademark. In other words; a never ending story.