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EFF Email Debate: Should the Sender Pay?

Posted in GETV Episode by ekai on the April 22nd, 2006

GETV was present for the fancy & contentious EFF sponsored debate & fundraiser over the future of email. In the ring we have Danny O’Brien, EFF’s Activist Coordinator duking it out with Esther Dyson, internet luminary and editor of Release 1.0. This verbal smackdown is moderated by Mitch Kapor, EFF co-founder and well known supplier of the 80’s warez scene with its reddest meat, Lotus 1-2-3. We can’t reveal who walked away the winner, but Irina does get the scoop in her post-debate interviews with the players. Episode links: email: should the sender pay?, eff, mitch kapor, danny o’brien, esther dyson, soul of the internet, betsy, trish

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    “Should the Sender Pay?” sounds like kind of a leading question. I hope they’ll avoid the common pitfalls that have hampered this debate thus far, and actually look at what’s been proposed insetad of what they’re scared might be proposed in some dark evil future where corporations (and Esther) rule the world.

  • MikeCrabe

    I think that this was an interesting debate.

  • HIPS

    To prejudge this approach before it can play out in the market — as in the DearAOL campaign letter — is a tactic more befitting the reactionary RIAA than the progressive EFF.

    Without some novel and effective approaches, spam is killing email. Many alternatives — whitelist-only acceptance, star chamber blacklists, and often arbitrary content filters — can be far worse than a transparent, non-discriminatory delivery fee.

    A spot in my inbox is not anyone else's entitlement, so a two-tiered Internet is *exactly* what I want: one cheap tier for small-volume mail from desired correspondents, and another costly tier for bulk and spam emailers.

    I'd rather have my mailbox filled by the affluent than the effluent.


    Internet users have the power to make a difference and make the Internet a better place. As a long time user of Blue Security’s Blue Frog (, I am confident that the company’s proactive and community-based approach is not only the right thing to do, but it is also very effective one.



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