I missed posting a reference to the FTC bounty on spammers this week.

The FTC says a bounty is about the only thing that will work. In other news, the Pope is still Catholic.You can make spam illegal all you want, but the problem is tracking the people down. They’ve had years to practice concealing their origins. If you and I can’t track them down, then chances are law enforcement can’t track them down all that easily either.

Without inside information, you won’t track them down, at least not without going 1984 on everybody. And if there’s one thing that makes people scream louder than spam, it’s encroaching on their rights, whether those rights are perceived or real.

But the people with inside information don’t have much incentive to turn spammers in.

The question is where the funding comes from. Hopefully the fines levied against the lawbreakers will be enough to pay the whistleblowers. To me, it’s a very legitimate use of the money.

Of course, the direct marketing people are screaming and hollering that too much power is going to anti-spam groups. They would have less problem if they had taken a strong stand against spam in the first place.

I don’t think they’ll get much sympathy. At least I hope not. A few local business owners made headlines when they ignored Missouri’s Don’t-Call list and then were sued out of business. I didn’t have any sympathy for them. They knew the law was coming and what they had to do in order to comply. Besides, if I need my windshield fixed, do you think I’m going to wait for a telemarketer to call me in the middle of dinner?

Additionally, many of these spammers are breaking other laws as well. Since when is it legal to sell me Valium without a prescription? And if bigoea@yahoo.com is a licensed pharmacist, why is he resorting to spamming people at random to get customers? If you know of a pharmacy that’s hurting for business, I’d sure like to know about it because I’ll go there and so will everyone else I know who’s tired of waiting 30 minutes to get a prescription.

More than likely, the person hiding behind theat Yahoo address is either misrepresenting what he’s selling (fraud) or selling prescription drugs without a license (drug trafficking), and he may very well be guilty of breaking numerous other laws and needs to be put away anyway.

Tell me again why direct marketers haven’t done everything they possibly can to distance themselves from these people?

Giving the insider who turns the spammer in enough money to take a year (or five, depending on lifestyle) off work seems the best way to eliminate some of these lowlives who continue to clog our inboxes and our Internet connections.