Monthly Archives: September 2021

There needs to be a law!

I have had it. I am getting over a hundred spam emails every day claiming they can help me with my prostate, my blood pressure, tinnitus, weight problems, medicare, car warranty, cheaper gas, home insurance, auto insurance, windows, tech goodies…you name it, I’m getting it.

Over 90% of these end up in my “suspected spam” folder where I need to vet them all because sometimes legitimate email ends up there, too, thanks to AOL’s fairly crummy spam detection algorithm. Any spam that I detect as spam, I highlight the sender’s email address and select “block sender” and then delete. But spam from clearly-labeled blocked senders keeps showing up anyway. At least they are now highlighted in blue so I don’t need to vet, just delete.

What’s the use?

Plus, the blocked senders then also send more of the same, identical spam messages using a different email sender’s address.

Responsible email marketers always include a way to “unsubscribe.” Spammers never do.

We need a law that requires all email marketers to include an unsubscribe option and it needs to STICK. Violators should be subject to $500 per omission fines. The FCC should be empowered to prosecute repeat offenders, ban them from sending any email, and have the discretion to levy jail time.

ISPs should be required to develop screening algorithms that would automatically prevent any such spam from being delivered, period. And spam that slips through and is labeled “block sender” by the recipient should be flagged so it never ends up in anyone’s in box or spam folder again.

Legislators at ALL levels need to respond to this. If California can pass a privacy law, they can pass this law too. What do you think?

Seth Godin’s Comment about the Media

I’ve been getting marketing superstar Seth Godin’s posts daily for over 10 years now and they are something I always look forward to reading. This morning he made an observation about how the media tend to think of us, their audience. It struck me as especially relevant to what’s goiinng on these days and I am reproducing it here for your edification and enlightenment.

We are not astronomers 

Unlike most of the sciences, astronomy is always done at a distance. You can see the stars, but you can’t do anything about them.

Sometimes the media would like us to believe that we’re all astronomers, simply passive witnesses in a world out of our control.

But the world is never out of our influence.

Remembrance, connection, possibility, invention, empathy, insight, correction, care and justice are all up to us.

We not only observe, but we make changes happen. Our participation (or apathy) leads to a different future.

The ocean is made of drops. And the drops are up to us. Who else is going to care enough to make an impact?

—Seth Godin

Will China’s Online Gaming Restrictions Actually Work?

Is there anyone out there who does not know that China’s rulers have declared that those who are 18 years old or younger may not engage with online gaming more than three hours a week, something that the country’s rigorous user-identity-registration infrastructure certainly has the technical capability to police. One question that remains to be answered is how effective enforcement of the edict will prove to be.

According to Statista, a little over 5% of China’s total population is 15 to 19 years old and almost 5.5% are 10 to 14 years old. These young people are the primary target that China’s rulers have in mind. Given China’s current population of roughly 1.4 billion people, that means 147 million or so young people to monitor and to sanction if found to be disobedient.

If China’s overall national culture were more like America’s, I would not hold much hope for enforcement to be effective. However, as we know from research done by Dutch sociologist Geert Hofstede and colleagues, China’s national culture is (a) much more willing to go along with authority and (b) much less likely to engage in non-normative social practices. On the whole, due in no small part to its Confucian heritage, China is much more collectivist than we are.

But might these strictures have come too late? The influence of exposure to content on the world wide web on China’s people has been being felt for well over 20 years already and was well entrenched prior to the Xi regime coming to power. And as we are sometimes only too painfully aware, China has some of the most talented hackers around.

Perhaps what we will see is an ongoing episode of “whack-a-mole” as young hackers continue to deploy workarounds to authoritarian software, which is then countered with more centrally dictated tech mods.

Knowing what we know about networking theory and analytics, perhaps there will be a sufficient number of young rebels already culturally “infected” by Western thought and practice, who will act relatively independently and with loose ties and who are able to constantly frustrate the authoritarian and highly centralized network of government enforcers with close ties.

It will be interesting to see how this all turns out over the next two or three years.

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