No More Free Spam

We, meaning industry and society, are overlooking the most obvious and effective solution to e-mail spam, as discussed in your recent article "Mounting Volume of Junk Defies Filters, Delete Keys" (ENR 2/25 p. 33). Our current approach is a losing battle for several reasons.

First, we'll never keep spam at bay with technology. The spammers will match any technological breakthrough with their own technological answers. Second, as long as spammers have free access to hundreds of millions of business and consumer e-mails, they have an extraordinarily powerful incentive to keep up. Third, the resolution of the Cold War you used as an analogy was not technological, it was economically based.

So, let's learn from that. Let's make it expensive for spammers by levying a nominal charge for sending e-mail, say 5¢ or 10¢ per piece in the form of either a legislatively mandated fee, or as a tax.

This solution has several benefits. First, we consumers could spend considerably less on firewalls, filtering software, and IT fees to install, service, and maintain them. Second, the considerable "traffic" revenue generated could allow ISPs to reduce basic ISP fees. Finally, why should we give a free ride to these inconsiderate jerks? Let them shoulder the cost, instead of the recipients.

Key Coverage

Thank you for the editorial call-ing the industry’s attention to Owners and Contractors Protective Liability (OCP) insurance (ENR 2/4 p. 48.) Broad and intermediate form indemnity provisions and additional insured requirements in subcontracts have saddled subcontractors with liability for other’s negligence. An OCP empowers subcontractors with the ability to insure the risks and pass the cost back to those parties who wish to be indemnified for their own negligence and activities.

OCP insures the supervisory risks that many subcontractors have been brokering and insuring on their own insurance policies through "additional insured" and indemnity provisions. When the subcontractor pays for OCP policy, the cost of insuring supervisory activities are explicit and can be priced accordingly in the subcontract. In contrast, when typical blanket "additional insured" provisions are used, such recognition of costs is rarely made. OCP forces the subcontractor to consider what it is willing to absorb in its bottom line and makes the customer aware of its responsibilities. The AIA A201-1997 document does not require additional insured language, provides for limited indemnity and permits the owner to require a "Project Management Protective Liability" policy which is very similar to OCP.

The industry is long overdue for an overhaul with regard to risk shifting. ENR is to be commended for its support to OCP.

President 2001-2
American Subcontractors Association
Alexandria, Va