RID-Spam, The Grauniad, E-Voting

The RID-Spam Act chugs through Congress. This one’s very much toothless; according to CAUCE, it’s not actually anti-spam really — CAUCE says:

(it is) ‘a gross misnomer to call them ‘anti-spam.’ ‘Anti-consumer,’ sure. ‘Pro-spam,’ even. But not ‘anti-spam.”

Amazingly, DMcC notes that it may even de-fang the stronger state laws if it gets passed. Wow.

And check out this quote from the CNet story:

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., defended the bill’s opt-out approach. Goodlatte said that of the physical junk mail he gets, ‘maybe 10 percent of it is something that I have some interest in. For that reason alone I think an opt-out approach is the best solution here.’

Good for him. The way he’s talking there, he’s looking forward to receiving 700,000 mails per year that ‘he has some interest in’. Earth calling Goodlatte — direct email is not the same as physical junk mail. There’s a fundamental economic difference — with email, the recipient pays. That means you cannot compare the volumes so simplistically. Just say no to One Bite Of The Apple!

US Politics: Rod notes this story: The Guardian coming to the US. Excellent! I think that’s a fantastic idea, and they’ll clean up.

Consider this — the only large-circulation print media that (a) people over here read, and (b) had the nerve to really treat the war in Iraq critically, as far as I know, are those two flaming-red anarchosyndicalist rags, the Economist and the Financial Times. (Not only are they not even written in the US, they’re quite conservative by Euro standards.) The US media needs more liberal voices.

Actually, I’m exagerrating heavily here. As Craig has pointed out before, the Christian Science Monitor is a pretty good paper, with some critical journalism — and one with a great story behind it’s provenance to boot.

But the Guardian has a pretty much wide open field all the same — here’s hoping they can get the distribution side sorted out.

E-Voting: Some good comments on this Slashdot story regarding e-voting systems.

  • The Brazilian legislature mandated a retrofit ‘of 3% (some 12,000 machines) to produce a paper ballot that the voter could peruse and deposit in a box for recount (the first large-scale use of the ‘Mercuri Method’).’

  • Georgia noted that the e-voting systems ‘were all very flashy and glitzy, but all had severe problems with security and/or usability. We eventually decided to run a pilot program in last year’s off-year election and try out 5 of the most promising machines in a real-world election. The final winner will be used across the state in 2004. No more hanging chad, but I think we are going to have a whole new set of problems to deal with.’

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