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Do Not Call It Windows — Do Not Call Me

I continue to believe that the only way to beat the spam problem is through the use of technology, as I have written before. I don’t think the proposed “Do Not Spam” registry has any chance of working. This is partly because of the complexity of the management and security issues that would have to be addressed and partly because of the “exceptions” that would get baked into the legislation. As a proof point of that concern, take a look at the new National Do Not Call Registry that was launched today. The site says that “Most telemarketers cannot call your telephone number if it is in the Do Not Call Registry”. When you click on “most telemarketers” you quickly see the problem — exceptions.

If you register your number on the National Do Not Call Registry, will it stop all telemarketing calls? No. The exception section of the registry says, “Placing your number on the National Do Not Call Registry will stop most, but not all, telemarketing calls. Some businesses are exempt from the national registry and still can call you even if you place your number on it”. Exempt businesses include the following:

  • Long-distance phone companies
  • Airlines
  • Banks and credit unions
  • The business of insurance, to the extent that it is regulated by state law.
  • Political organizations
  • Charities
  • Telephone surveyors
  • Companies with which you have an existing business relationship

Anybody left out? Detect the influence of any political lobbying on this legislation? Of all the annoying unwanted phone calls I receive, all of them would be exempt. The only beneficiaries that I can see from the new registry are attorneys dealing with the complaints that will flood into the government. A “do not spam” registry would be even worse. As soon as spam gets defined in the legislation, spammers will immediately re-define themselves in ways to fall within the exceptions.

Irony note: the emails from donotcall.gov were flagged and filtered out my inbox by my anti-spam software!

Speaking of spam, take a look at the new LindowsOS 4.0. It uses Bayesian spam filtering technology which learns from what you consider to be “good” mail, as well as what you consider to be “bad,” or spam, and filters accordingly.

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