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Sorting Out Spam

Sorting Out Spam (excerpt)
Reid Kanaley, Philadelphia Inquirer, July 10 1997

A disgusted Dan Birchall, systems administrator for a Web-site design company in Mount Laurel, N.J., reviewed the scores of junk e-mail messages he had received in a week. Among them:

--"I Mail Your Ad to 30 Million People for Pennys!!!''
--"PROFITS''
--"Do Not Open If You're Under 18''
--"It Works ... So We're Doing It Again!!''

And on and on.

"Repulsive,'' said Birchall, 25. "Annoying and repulsive.'' To see the list, he said, "is the same kind of feeling you would get if you walked out the front door and saw that someone has sprayed graffiti on your wall.''

..."If I post to a Usenet group about my favorite band, some person will be running a piece of software that runs through the newsgroups and grabs all the e-mail addresses, and they'll send a message to all the addresses they got,'' said Birchall. "Within a day or two, I start getting things about get-rich-quick schemes and pornography, never anything about my favorite band.''

Birchall has written his own bozo filters to block junk e-mail for himself as well as his company, 16 Straight Communications, and its clients.

But because the mailers frequently change or fake return addresses, and new mailers are constantly appearing, a lot of spam still gets through, he said.

"Since the technological solutions aren't truly bulletproof, I would like to see some sort of legislative solution, but one as unobtrusive as possible,'' Birchall said.

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