A few hours of what I do every single day is kill spam. As the CTO of a small (micro) ISP I am the one setting up new filters. As I watch my logs and realize that some nice old lady that has thankfully chosen to be one of my customers is getting (or would be getting save for the filters) 193 spams a day, I know something must be done.
RonBurk recently posted a worthy idea that I think I'll send off to my Senator:
"A very significant percentage of spam meets two criteria: 1) it already breaks some existing state or federal law and 2) it ultimately desires someone to supply a US-based credit card (Visa or Mastercard).
The problem with all our wonderful anti-spam laws is that they are not being enforced, and probably never will be, except erratically for 1 or 2 really, really bad repeat offenders. So, instead of using laws to take bad people to court, use laws to make law-abiding people quit aiding and abetting spammers.
Thus, the weak underbelly of many spammers is that some minion of MC/VISA is letting them process cc transactions.
Solution: the FTC should allocate 3 lawyers and 3 geeks, and (the easy part) demand the cooperation of MC/VISA. The 3 geeks maintain emailboxes in all 50 states and a batch of email addresses designed to gather spam. They essentially provide the 3 lawyers with "quality" spam, that meets the 2 criteria mentioned above.
The 3 lawyers select spam that has broken a law, follow the spam-requested transaction to the point where it requires a cc transaction, and do it. At that point, there is a CC transaction involving a broken law. The lawyers provide MC/VISA with the information on what merchant processor handled the transaction and what laws were broken. MC/VISA shutdown that account, or simply dings them $20,000 for each offense.
Note that, unlike the FTC, MC/VISA can penalize any customer they choose to without due process (and they have a record of doing so). They definitely do not want to participate in illegally advertised transaction if a spotlight is shown on it.
The need to process credit cards is the weak link in much of the spam business, and it is very hard for them to work around an inability to obtain the services of a merchant credit card account. MC/VISA have tightened up the requirements for getting CC services in the past, and they can certainly do so again.
MC/VISA might even elect to make the process more automated by issuing the lawyers some "special" credit cards. When they see a transaction for any "special" number come through, they immediately shutdown that processor. (But you better make sure those special numbers aren't as easy to steal as all other credit card numbers seem to be!)
3 lawyers plus 3 geeks could make a bigger dent in spam than any collective effort to date has produced."
Now that just might work. Worth re-posting in my journal to say the least!
That is all for now, back to checking the filters.