We can agree on one thing: we all want spam to stop. Unfortunately, that's where the agreement ends. Everyone these days seems to have their own opinion on how to stop spam. Legislators talk about passing anti-spam laws to throw spammers in jail. Technologists work on better and more accurate filters to keep their inboxes clean. But at least eight years into this all-out war, the problem is only getting worse. There have been a pathetic few prosecutions under the myriad of anti-spam laws because they are too difficult to enforce. More troubling still, the economics of spam inevitably create an arms race between spammers and filter writers. You see the results first hand: just as many unwanted messages getting through, and a lot more stress on our networks. It's time to reexamine our approach to the spam problem. Technologists and law makers need to work together and help each other. Only together through a coordinated approach to the problem will we beat back the problem of spam.
Matthew Prince is a leading expert on the law and techniques of fighting spam. Matthew is the CEO and co-founder of Unspam, LLC, a Chicago-based business and government consulting company with the mission of designing effective laws to stop unwanted online messages. Over the last four years, Matthew has consulted with state, federal, and international businesses, governments, and organizations wishing to reduce spam. He helped draft portions of the Federal CAN-SPAM Act, delivered testimony to the Federal Trade Commission on the effectiveness of various spam-fighting proposals, and authored and lobbied for the passage of Utah's 2004 Children's Protection Registry Act. Similar legislation is now pending in Michigan, Illinois, and Georgia with several additional states planning its introduction in the next legislative session.
Earlier this year Matthew served as a featured speaker at the Second Annual MIT Spam Conference. In July 2004, Matthew will keynote and moderate the United Nations conference on spam held in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss the prospect of international cooperation in the anti-spam fight. On that trip he will also deliver a special seminar to the British House of Commons on that country's anti-spam efforts. Matthew teaches as an Adjunct Professor at John Marshall Law School where he is also a Faculty Advisor to the Journal of Computer and Information Law. He is the co-author of the forthcoming law review article "After CAN-SPAM: How States Can Stay Relevant in the Fight Against Spam." Matthew received his J.D. from the University of Chicago and is a member of the Illinois Bar. He studied English and Computer Science at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
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