An ISP is an Internet Service Provider. In today’s world, there aren’t many pure ISPs left – most are huge media companies like Time Warner, Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T. An ISP is supposed to provide you with Internet access. That’s what you’re paying an ISP to provide. Just like you pay the gas company to provide you with natural gas, or the electric company to provide you with electricity, you pay your ISP to provide you with Internet access.
Somehow, somewhere, ISPs decided that besides providing you with Internet access they’s also provide a censoring service – to protect you from spam. In doing so, many ISPs filter incoming mail using not-so-sophisticated software which many times ends up throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Yes, we agree that spam is a problem, but a bigger problem is losing that one important email – an order confirmation, a software registration key, an email from a long-lost friend, an email from your bank or credit card company, our even our InfoAve Premium newsletter.
There’s been a great shift in our society from one of taking care of one’s own responsibilities to allowing others to do everything for us. Of course when you stop taking care of the things you should be responsible for and allow another to do it for you, you give up something very important – control. Allowing your ISP to delete email addressed to you – even if it is spam – is to give your ISP control over what email you’ll receive. Considering that no spam filter even comes close to being 100% accurate (most are well below 80%) giving control to your ISP means you’re going to miss some – maybe many – important emails.
Sure it’s a hassle to deal with spam – there’s a lot of it. But it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to delete spam. It can take you hours – even days to track down a good email that was deleted by your ISP as spam. It will require writing emails to the sender, your ISP and waiting for answers. And even worse, when an important email was sent to you and you have no idea it was sent because you weren’t expecting it and had no idea it was coming. If your ISP deletes it, you’ll never see it because you never even knew it existed. If you order something online and you don’t get a confirming email, don’t assume the merchant didn’t send it. If you order a software program online that requires a registration key to be sent to you via email, don’t assume the vendor didn’t send it. If you subscribe to a newsletter like InfoAve Premium, and you don’t get it on Friday, don’t assume we didn’t send it. If you’re one of the millions of people whose ISP users spam filtering, your first assumption should be your ISP deleted it as spam.
And if you write to your ISP and they tell you that they don’t delete email or don’t use spam filtering take it with a grain of salt. We have copies of letters from ISPs to customers in which the ISP flat-out lied to the customer.
ISPs have no legal right to delete any email addressed to you – but they do. They claim there is so much spam they need to filter email to save money or to save server resources. But that’s just another lie. It takes more server resources to run spam filters and to delete spam than to just send the spam to the addressee. So why do they do it then? Because there’s a certain segment of the population that sees spam filtering as a service. It’s no more a service than if the U. S. Postal Service started tossing mail addressed to you because it looked like junk mail. Not many people would stand for the USPS trashing their mail because the post office didn’t think they’d want it. But somehow people think that ISP’s are doing them a favor by tossing emails they THINK are spam.
If you think your ISP is doing you a favor by deleting spam for you, think again. If your ISP uses spam filtering there is a 100% chance you’re not getting all of your good email because no spam filter is even close to 100% effective. When you stop taking personal responsibility for things you should be responsible for, and you allow someone disinterested third-party to do it for you, you aren’t always going to be happy with the result.
As ISPs get more and more powerful, there may come a day when ISPs will decide to provide a “service” that will scan your downloads for you, or “rate” the Web sites you visit for you and keep you “safe” by preventing you from seeing a site that they deem dangerous. There may come a day when ISPs monitor your connection and prevent you from downloading songs or movies because they are trying to “protect” you from getting into trouble for piracy. And all these things are things ISPs are very capable of doing – and may well do if people allow them to do it. All they have to do is convince you that having big brother watching out for you is a good idea and that they can do a better job of making decisions for you than you can.
But all this is nothing new – it’s been done before – it’s been done a lot. It’s called censorship. Censorship is always sold to the citizenry as a good thing. It’s always sold as a way to protect YOU from what someone else deems inappropriate or dangerous.
ISPs will continue to sell the masses on the advantages of spam filtering. They’ll continue to filter mail and toss good emails out with the bad. And the only reason so many do it today is because people let them do it. And the more you let someone do for you the more they will want to do for you.
Isn’t it time you stood up and took responsibility for your own email and stop letting ISPs control what email you receive and what email you don’t? If you allow you ISP to censor email addressed to you we will guarantee you that you will never get 100% of the good email you want – and you’ll still get some spam.
You’re paying your ISP to provide you with the best connection to the Internet possible and email service – and that’s it. You’re not paying them to delete email. It’s time that ISPs got out of the censorship business and take care of the service for which you’re paying them – a reliable Internet connection and uncensored email.
Give it some thought.