Fighting code by more code will never work. Here’s a minimum of what it will take.
(1) Make it illegal to send unsolicited (non-opt-in/out) messages. Period. This is already the case in many states. Fortunes have been confiscated when possible. But the penalty needs to be that anyone and everyone responsible from programmer to CEO must spend 1 second in prison for every email sent.
NOTE: Many spammers sent out more than a million spam emails PER DAY. 1 Million seconds = just over 22 years. Some spammers would be eligible for parole after the next ice age. It is considered a major crime to take a life. But what if you take away a fraction of everyone’s lives, stealing a second or two from millions of people every day. This is not violence, but being a spammer has unimaginably more collective impact than any mass murderer.
(2) Companies that knowingly used a third part to send spam on their behalf will be liquidated, forfitting all assets. Period. Decision-makers may be liable for above criminal penalty. All assets will go toward hunting down other offenders.
(3) Make it illegal to BUY anything through a spam solicitation. As much as 8% of the population buys crap through spam. Make it illegal to do business that way. Period. The penaly is three times the amount spent or $1000, whichever greater. The consumer must also refrain from using a computer for 1 year. If it is required for their employment or profession, too bad.
(4) Hackers and programmers that develop software to evade spam filters are charged as crimes against humanity — it is massive economic sabotage. Corporate America spent $10 Billion in hardware, software, and staff unecessarily fighting spam in 2004. That’s roughly as devastating to the economy as 911, Katrina, IRaq, and far more than any budget deficit.
By punishing the evil, as well as the stupidity that makes it pay, we MIGHT have a chance to keep the Internet — the new backbone of the economy and heart of communication in the word today — alive and well. Who’s with me?