Archive for October, 2003

Defense in depth: A strategy to stop spam that actually works

Wednesday, October 29th, 2003

Spam is killing off email and threatening the very future of the internet. Surveys are showing that current net users are switching off to get away from unsolicited commercial email. Millions more are reluctant to get online for fear of being deluged with offers of pornography, viagra, money scams and so on. As trade unionists and social change activists, this is a worrying development. Email is an enormously powerful and cheap tool for us, particularly for online campaigning, but spammers are making it increasingly difficult for us to get our message through. We need to educate our members and ourselves in order to win the battle against spam. If we don’t win that battle, we lose all the gains of the last decade and return to a world where those with the money can get their messages heard — and where we are effectively silenced.
The only problem is that there is no solution to spam. Let me re-phrase that: there is no solution, but there are solutions, to the problem of spam. For some time now, I have adopted a strategy of defense-in-depth.


Iraqi unions: a new beginning

Monday, October 20th, 2003

I was recently invited to attend the general conference of the International Federation of Workers Education Associations (IFWEA), which was held in Albufeira, Portugal in early October. I knew what the highlight of my two days at the conference was going to be — and I was sure it wasn’t going to be the plenary sessions or workshops. The highlight would be meeting Abdullah.


The problem with Internet Explorer

Friday, October 10th, 2003

A few years ago, when some of us noticed that Microsoft had essentially taken over the Internet, we were worried. Among other worries, we feared that a near-complete monopoly by Microsoft would mean that technological innovation — then proceeding at a brisk pace — would come to a halt. Today, with Internet Explorer having a more than 90% share of the browser market, our fears have come true.
There have been several recent developments which should worry us.


Throw-away websites

Wednesday, October 8th, 2003

They are what the Dutch web activist Oskar van Rijswijk calls “throw-away websites”

Online campaigning and labour education

Monday, October 6th, 2003

The following article was submitted to Workers Education, the quarterly bulletin of the International Federation of Workers Education Associations (IFWEA), at the request of the editor, at the end of June 2003. It did not appear in the June 2003 issue and I am not sure if it was ever published. In any event, it’s published now — on the web.