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Rep. Bob Barr (Georgia) in full support of Spam
May 11, 2001 7:39 AM   Subscribe

Rep. Bob Barr (Georgia) in full support of Spam The title says it all. But read his reasoning. He would rid us of Clinton but protect the right of business to annoy us with spam.
posted by Postroad (25 comments total)

 
I don't actually see any reasoning in the article, except this one sentence:

"Legislation should be narrowly targeted to provide law enforcement with the tools they need to combat abuses without opening the floodgates to frivolous litigation or interfering with legitimate uses of e-mail for marketing purposes," said [a competing] bill's sponsor, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

The only quotes from Barr are about "full-court presses" and "taking off the gloves". I wish this article had a little more substance.

(p.s. spam sux)
posted by jpoulos at 7:51 AM on May 11, 2001


Whoa! That fetus killer sure can talk tough! This bill goes well with his "legalize assassination" bill.
Scene:
Barr: Has the spammer contributed to the party?
Freeper: NO SIR!
Barr: End transmissions of the infidels with extreme prejudice then.
posted by nofundy at 8:27 AM on May 11, 2001


Wow. Metro better watch its back...

Barr: Has Metro finished putting Ronald Regan Washington National Airport signs everywhere?
FReeper: SIR, NO SIR!
Barr: Release the hounds.
posted by terrapin at 8:42 AM on May 11, 2001


legitimate uses of e-mail for marketing purposes

What a wonderful contradiction.

One of the purposes in my using email is not so that marketing people have a cheap and easy way to advertise at me. I want junk email filling my inbox as much as I want junk mail coming through my door, or salesmen constantly ringing my phone.

In my opinion, marketing is not a legitimate use of email.
posted by timbooker at 9:14 AM on May 11, 2001


I don't find spam exciting, in fact, it often annoys the hell out of me. However, I don't believe it's fair to censor the use of email without examining the other forms of delivery (i.e. the Postal Service). When it comes down to it, I'd rather see Congress attack the unsolicited mail that arrives in my mailbox on a daily basis and continually gets tossed. At least it would save a few trees!

And while I agree with timbooker that marketing is not a valid use of email, I believe the true problem lies in the exchange of private information. Quite frankly, I'm tired of the telephone calls at 9:00 in the morning from some company that's true motive is of doubtful credibility. If Congress is going to go as far as to fine a company $500 for unsolicited email, perhaps they could broaden their perspective to examine why this problem occurs.
posted by Oddsea at 9:26 AM on May 11, 2001


I saw this in a few places last night and it got me thinking. Since, Mr. Barr feel's that there's an inalienable right for every American to send e-mail to others, we could exercise that right by selecting a day and forwarding any unsolicited e-mail we receive in that 24 hour period to Mr. Barr. I nominate May 15, and suggest we call the event "Spam Over America".

Unfortunately, while Mr. Barr feels obligated to make decisions for all American's, he'll only talk to people from his congressional district. Anyone know his e-mail?
posted by dchase at 9:29 AM on May 11, 2001


Legitimate Uses of E-Mail... I don't mind if buy.com sends me an e-mail once and a while telling me their newest deals... I don't mind CNET e-mailing me their news overview, or download.com newsletter... Or the vendors that I use telling me about changes or new products they may have, since I know them...

What I do mind is my inbox filling up with offers for casinos, pyramid schemes, viagra, penis enlargement procedures, and the ilk. Do these people actually thing there are that many men with small penises that don't go up that are addicted to gambling. I know I'm not one of them.
posted by benjh at 9:33 AM on May 11, 2001


Barr's address is barr.ga@mail.house.gov, according to Yahoo.

Hey, maybe some spammers' robots will discover his address here. That would be nice.
posted by Aaaugh! at 9:35 AM on May 11, 2001


"However, I don't believe it's fair to censor the use of email without examining the other forms of delivery (i.e. the Postal Service)."

There's a fundamental difference between email marketing and mail/phone marketing, though. Making telephone calls and sending out fliers costs the company a significant amount of money. Sending out email, however, costs just a couple hundred for a list of addresses and the software to send it. Instead of costing the company, costs are moved to consumers and their ISPs, who must pay for the bandwidth and storage that the email takes up.

And yes, those costs can add up. A 100kb email (not too uncommon for some porn spammers who beef up the message with all sorts of HTML) sent to every AOL member (over 26 million of them) would take up 2,400 gigabytes of storage space and bandwidth. And since a mail can be sent once with hundreds of recipients listed, the (bandwidth) cost to the spammer would be significantly less.
posted by CrayDrygu at 9:44 AM on May 11, 2001


I suggest you bundle up all your spam emails, and forward them immediately to the Honorable Mr. Barr, House of Representatives.
posted by crunchland at 9:48 AM on May 11, 2001


The acts in question:

Wilson's HR 718

Goodlatte's HR 1017
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:48 AM on May 11, 2001


Barr's address is barr.ga@mail.house.gov, according to Yahoo.
Hey, maybe some spammers' robots will discover his address here. That would be nice.... I suggest you bundle up all your spam emails, and forward them immediately to the Honorable Mr. Barr, House of Representatives


Better yet, let's start a campaign to have every website on the Internet insert Psycho Bob's email in their sourcecode. My hope is that Bob Barr-ella would get 400,000 versions of the same spam pitch.

Bob also showed he's the stupidest Congressmen ever to hold the post by ranting last week about a local city's decision to use cameras to catch stop-sign runners. He railed about Big Brother and regurgitated all the usual paranoid survivialist black-helicopter claptrap.

Man, is this guy a nut and a hypocrite. I live near his district, but thank God not in it.
posted by darren at 10:22 AM on May 11, 2001


And yes, those costs can add up.

What rarely gets to the popular media is the real cost of spam. To a spammer, they rely on open ports and software written to both abuse other servers and abuse the protocols.

When they find a server, they start the spam cannon. A lot of the messages are sent to non-existent accounts, and a receiving mail server has to send an error message back. These open SMTP machines then get innundated with error messages as they continue sending out spam. It's lots of wasted network traffic, wasted processing by receiving mail servers, and usually cripples the machines used to send out the mail. It often requires hours of IT programmer hours to clean up.

But the spammer doesn't see any of these costs, so there is zero financial reason for them to stop.

This is precisely why a bill like this should pass, so it's too expensive to send out spam.
posted by mathowie at 10:43 AM on May 11, 2001


Question: are there existing laws about sending out unsolicited faxes? If there are, is there any reason they couldn't be adapted for e-mail?
posted by Aaaugh! at 10:50 AM on May 11, 2001


There are laws against faxes, with stiff penalties, but if you looked at my last job's fax machine, you'd see how pointless that law was.
posted by mathowie at 11:01 AM on May 11, 2001


I don't find spam exciting, in fact, it often annoys the hell out of me. However, I don't believe it's fair to censor the use of email without examining the other forms of delivery (i.e. the Postal Service).

I disagree. Just because there's also a problem with the USPS doesn't mean that you shouldn't solve the email spam problem independently. Solving one problem is better than solving none, and there's a lot more political and popular support for eliminating spam. I know lots of people who enjoy all that junk mail (God only knows why, but there they are); I don't know anyone who likes spam.

Besides, I understand that there's a service that you can write to that will, in time, eliminate junk mail from your snail mail box. You can't do that with spam.

Flooding Barr's emailbox sounds like a good plan to me. Maybe those of you with spam filters can have everything that it catches redirected to Mr. Barr.

As for faxes, at my firm we still get an occasional junk fax, but the problem is nowhere near as bad as it was a few years ago. So maybe the laws helped.
posted by anapestic at 11:13 AM on May 11, 2001


you can send a letter to these addresses to stop some of it --

Mail Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 1I735-9008

Telephone Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 9014
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9014

the other thing i did was to change my phone number to private/unlisted. i get very few, if any, phone silicitation calls.

problably the most effective thing you can do is call EVERYONE that sends you a bill and tell them you want to be removed from their solicitation list. this includes calling your credit card companies, bank, city utility company, phone company, long distance company and any other place that sends you a monthly statement. it won't eliminate your statement (bummer) but you can have them remove the insert solicitations that accompany it.

as for the "resident" mail and coupon books and junk like that... i'm not totally sure how to get rid of them but you can check out services like http://www.junkbusters.com for more tips.
posted by ggggarret at 11:43 AM on May 11, 2001


my god! i'll never post again without using the spellchecker first.
posted by ggggarret at 11:48 AM on May 11, 2001


Almost every legislator and witness present for the House Judiciary Committee hearing said they had problems with the bill, which previously passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Yet only Bob Barr gets the headline and the big mention. Quelle suprise.
posted by aaron at 12:26 PM on May 11, 2001



Yet only Bob Barr gets the headline and the big mention. Quelle suprise.

And that's probably just the way he wants it. Sure it's a little cheeky to put it that way, but this guy is a serious seeker of the spotlight. This is the same guy that brought us the "impeach Clinton" webpage... in 1993! The more attention he gets, the more he seems to like it, and the louder he seems to get. (Or maybe I am just hypersensitive to his shenanigans since I live just southeast of his congressional district.)
posted by trox at 12:39 PM on May 11, 2001


Am I the only one who thinks Bob Barr doesn't check his own email?
posted by Doug at 1:43 PM on May 11, 2001


he prolly doesn't check his own email, but at least we can irritate an aide or two.
posted by tolkhan at 1:57 PM on May 11, 2001


Aaron: Are we supposed to feel sorry for Bob Barr because those big meanies in the liberal media are letting him hog some spotlight?
posted by rcade at 2:11 PM on May 11, 2001


You guys don't get it. The point is not endorsing spam.

1.) There's the loophole issue.

What about Crank Boy who tries to to collect $500 a pop because he won't uncheck an opt-in box?

What if you send a complaint or a flame or even an innocent comment to someone and he wants to sue you because he says you're spamming?

What if Crank Boy tries to sue you because you run a mailing list and he can't figure out the "unsubscribe" command?

2.) There's the definition of spam. If e-mail can be spam, what about Javascripts, banner ads and popup windows? Or the ad footers on free-email accounts? Anti-spam policy evolved from junk fax policy with evolved from junk snail-mail policy, so the precedent is there.

3.) There's also the definition of "unsolicited" and "commercial," which any creative lawyer can have lots of fun with.
posted by Erendadus at 8:13 PM on May 11, 2001


Users should never have to uncheck an opt-in box for e-mail. Setting defaults that way is poor netiquette on the part of the list operators. Mailing lists should all be opt-in and should employ a double-blind system. Hopefully, any anti-spam law would include those provisions (I really should read the proposed legislation). I don't think it's too much to ask.
posted by Aaaugh! at 10:20 PM on May 11, 2001


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