June 30, 2003


Spam has grabbed general public attention over the last few weeks. There may be an SCL member somewhere whose life has been improved by the opportunity to refinance, renew his sceptic tank or enlarge his penis but I think I will risk little controversy by staking my colours to the mast and stating boldly: Spam is a bad thing.

But we all know it is not easy to make it go away. If you have found a method which works or a technique for getting back at the spammers, we would very much like to hear about it. I will also happily co-operate with any supplier who thinks that they have a solution by arranging a “road test” for their software.

I still favour the view that any answer is likely to be economic. If the clients of spammers find that they are hit in the pocket by the refusal of the credit card companies to deal with them, then the spammers will sharp notice a drop in demand for their services. But any solution is probably going to depend on people “bothering”, either by tracing the spammer (see Glen Davis’s article on the Web site on this) or by informing your ISP about the receipt of particular spam. I confess that I have hardly ever bothered to report spam but I have resolved to make an effort to do so. Unless the mechanisms put in place by ISPs are merely cosmetic, they presumably need some co-operation to tackle the problem. Given that the “Blocking Pop-ups” sign on my screen is so often blocked by pop-ups from sellers of pop-up blocking software, it would seem that even a multi-millionaire dollar enterprise like AOL is struggling to keep pace with the technological competence and sheer bloody-mindedness of the Internet marketers. We might need to match the bloody-mindedness if we cannot find an effective technical solution.

New Ventures

The magazine welcomes the latest incarnation of Neil Cameron Consulting. Neil started his new venture on 18 June and at the launch declared that their aim was “to be a source of high quality, business orientated, and independent advice on all issues relating to the improvement in the way that legal businesses are run and managed”. Other members of the group are Jill Bazalgette, Mike Fisher, Clive Morris and Tim Travers. I would hope that we will get the benefit of some of that high quality advice in these pages soon.

My other welcome is to a new set of chambers, Templis Chambers. Founded by Kelvin Jones, Templis “aims to establish a position at the forefront in providing legal services on Intellectual Property, Entertainment, Media, the Arts and Broadcasting, Computer and e-commerce, Competition, Science & Technology and Sports law”. I wish them well and hope that they too will be regular contributors to these pages.

NEW SSCL Vice President

The magazine is also delighted to see that the tireless work of John Sibbald has been rewarded with his election by the SSCL as an honorary Vice President. Having been an enthusiastic member of the Society for many years, he successfully steered the Scottish Committee to its devolved status in 2000 and was the SSCL representative to the Council of the SCL, as well as being the Scottish Consulting Editor of this magazine.

Museum of Computing

One perk of a job such as this is that one is invited to launches and events – and I was delighted to go to the latest exhibition, covering home computing, at the Museum of Computing (http://www.digitalhistory.org.uk/). It was great relief to me to discover that the Museum featured none of my current equipment (although if ever they start a Museum of Fax Machines, I think I may have a donation) but it certainly gave me a jolt to see how far we have moved in such a short time. It strikes me that here is a project which has relied on the enthusiasm of a few committed individuals and support from a handful of firms and the University of Bath. It cries out for more support and it would be great to see it attract sufficient funds to be able to take its exhibitions on the road. I wonder if an enterprising legal software supplier might not see an opportunity to benefit the Museum and get guaranteed bums on seats at an associated seminar.