Legislation we like, spam we don’t
The e-mail in our in-box this morning came from “Nicolas Dejesus” and listed nothing on the subject line. Naturally, we were fooled into opening it.
And, like hundreds we receive at the Nevada Appeal every day, it was for a product in which we are not the least bit interested. It wasted our time. It wasted our computer resources. And, to be frank, it was offensive because the product it was selling is sex-oriented.
Like telemarketers before them, the people sending spam e-mail have forced government to step in to regulate an industry that could have legitimate purposes – except for the abusers who have turned it into an annoying and counterproductive plague on society.
Congress this week approved legislation taking the first national steps to clean up spam. It is aimed primarily at the most misleading and shady of the spamming practices. It creates a “do not spam” list and requires senders of mass e-mails to include a return address so people may insist no more mail be sent to them.
The legislation may not go far enough, but it does put in place penalties for failure to obey the anti-spam rules. That makes it a good start. Some legislation, like California’s, has gone too far by placing unmanageable restrictions on legitimate e-mails and opening the door to fines for innocent infractions.
E-mail is one of the greatest tools of the Internet. It ranks with the Pony Express, telegraph and telephone among inventions which have improved our ability to communicate.
It’s also relatively new, which is why it was important the regulations strike a balance to get rid of the annoyances without stifling its uses.
As for “Nicolas Dejesus,” we don’t want any – of your product or your e-mails.