Best way to stop spammers? Make them pay!

Monday, 5 May 2003, 3:45 PM EST

I spent last week at the Federal Trade Commission's three-day spam summit, where hundreds of people, fed up with the skyrocketing amount of unsolicited bulk e-mail, gathered to figure out how to stop it.

The suggestions were predictable: As they have each year since 1997, with nothing to show for it so far, members of Congress vowed to enact a law restricting spam. People selling spam blockers touted their products, and so-called e-mail marketers complained that their bulk messages were being unfairly tossed in the trash. Poor things.

On Friday morning, though, FTC commissioner Orson Swindle said something that made a lot of sense. "I don't care if it's commercial, religious or entertainment (spam). It's all pollution," he said.

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