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Stopping The Scourge Requires Internet Citizenship

In her column, MailFrontier CEO Anne Bonaparte calls on Internet messaging industry leaders to drop their ego-centric agendas and cooperate in the war against spam, viruses and phishing, by implementing both Sender ID and DKIM authentication systems, as well as some sort of sender accreditation system on a cooperative basis. I'd take it a step further and call on everyone to also work with the ISPs to help them throttle the attacks sent from Zombie networks implemented on home-based PCs. Please note that I didn't say anything about money--that's because this is about Internet citizenship, not corporate profit.The Internet is a community, not an entity, and as such its people live and work in a society. If that society is to work, it requires citizenship on the part of all of its members. That means they have to put out their hands to help each other. That's how it works. Just look around you in your regular life. People help each other do their jobs, and deflect harm from coming their way by everything from helping children and the elderly cross the street to just behaving in legal ways.

In his inaugural speech some 45 years ago, President John F. Kennedy called on U.S. Citizens to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." That led to the greatest outbreak of citizenship this country has seen in modern times, including such things as the Civil Rights Movement, and the citizen-driven efforts by protesters to stop the carnage of the Viet Nam War.

We don't have as much of that sort of citizenship today. Greed has taken over everything from the housing market to corporate life, and obscene profits have become the order of the day. But that does not mean greed should take over the Internet community. Sure, the Internet is often described as "outlaw" country, but it doesn't have to stay that way.

And it won't if we all band together to stop the scourge of spam, virus transmission, and phishing attacks. But that's just not going to happen if all we depend on is the profitability of one company or another and its technology, so let's not do that. Let's get together and be Internet Citizens.