Educational Questions & Answers

CAUCE - Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail

There's an antispam organization out there that's fighting for you and could use your help. CAUCE, the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail, is an all-volunteer global entity that began as SPAM-LAW, a group brought together for discussion only. They put all their efforts into getting legislation passed that would help stop and penalize spam.

What this antispam tool does is tell your e-mail system to look for designated clue words - sex, nude, porn, for example - and to eliminate the messages that contain these clue words. Of course, there are easy ways to get around these antispam tactics. Did you ever see a message that comes through with the word sex spelled sex? Well, that asterisk method has circumvented your spam filter - or the spam filter of your Internet and e-mail provider. The other problem with this filter is that you could miss legitimate messages. A friend, for instance, who might mail you that she was "sick of porn sites popping up" might have her message deleted because it contained the word porn.

CAUCE makes use of their membership list and each member's individual information in one way only. They give that list to the relevant legislators to further the cause of antispam legislation. The purpose of this is to let these legislators know how many voters in their area are concerned about spam and the need for antispam legislation. To join CAUCE you simple provide them with your full name and e-mail address, your mailing address, your congressional district, and choose a password.

The primary principle for preventing spam is to avoid mailing to a list. We're all tempted to organize our emails into lists - business clients, friends, and so forth. Then we mail them all the same message. Saves time and effort. The problem here is not that you sent out one message but you didn't use the software necessary to hide each person's email from the others.

Not only does this set you up for spam but it's also just plain rude. It's like telling all those folks what your sister-in-law's address and phone number is without first asking her if it's okay to tell the buddy of your best friend's high school teacher where she lives. No, it's not. But where spam is concerned what happens is that a few of those folks are undoubtedly going to add everyone whose address they see to their own list, and send it on and on and on ad infinitum. It snowballs, and sooner or later there's a spammer who receives your name and your e-mail address. Don't sign up with a site that offers you an antispam service. "Sign up with us, they say, and we'll add you to an antispam list." Wrong! They're spammers and you're now on their list.

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CAUCE - Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail