Stupid Government Watch: Canada's Useless Freezer
By Ken Magill
From the it-won’t-accomplish-a-thing-but-sure-makes-us-feel-better file comes news of a spam reporting center being set up by the Canadian government.
Reports the Montreal Gazette: “Dubbed ‘The Freezer,’ the new centre will accept unsolicited electronic messages forwarded by individuals, businesses and organizations in Canada, including spam, malware (malicious software), spyware, short message services (SMS), and false and misleading representations involving the use of any means of telecommunications, according to Industry Canada.”
The funding for this useless endeavor? A whopping $700,000 a year.
So, taking pay, benefits, office rent, cleaning and maintenance—oh, and equipment; let’s not forget equipment here—into account, Canada will task two low-level bureaucrats and an over-paid janitor with eliminating unwanted email messages from Romania.
Oh, they’ll bust somebody. Of that I have no doubt. My money’s on Adam Guerbuez.
But the Freezer will accomplish nothing—absolutely nothing—in the fight against mass, unsolicited commercial email.
Even the name evokes a certain amount of idiocy. SPAM doesn’t need a freezer, remember? That’s why it became so popular during WWII. One hundred thousand years after this civilization ends, the only trace of us alien archeologists will find will be unopened, perfectly preserved cans of SPAM.
Oh, but the Freezer isn’t just aimed at fighting spam. It’s also aimed at fighting malware, spyware, short message services (SMS), and false and misleading representations involving the use of any means of telecommunications, remember?
Why stop there? If a government agency is going to attempt to tackle a laughably impossible task, why not call it “The Everything Any Foreign or Domestic Business Does that You Don’t Like” task force.
That way, the Canadian government can say it is doing everything it can to eliminate everything annoying about capitalism without actually accomplishing anything—just as is the case with the Freezer.
And correct me if I’m wrong, but when Canadian consumers forward their spam emails to the folks running the Freezer, won’t all the important sourcing information be gone? How are they going to track the spammers? Through their sure-to-be-accurate postal addresses supplied in the messages?
Oh, that’s right. They won’t be going after senders who try and hide their location. They’ll go after those who honestly think they’re within the law—maybe some American firms whose executives they think they have only U.S.-based address holders—but have unwittingly run afoul of Canada’s new permission-based law while supplying accurate contact information.
And when the Freezer is clearly a flop, proponents will claim it’s because it wasn’t well funded enough. Then Ottawa will toss $1.4 million at the program to pay four low-level bureaucrats and a janitor to continue to accomplish absolutely nothing beyond making some people feel good about themselves.
Author’s note: This is nothing against Canada itself. I love Canada. I grew up just south of the U.S./Canadian border in Buffalo, NY. I spent many July Fourth holidays in Canada as a child—you know, that holiday every year where we celebrate the day we began driving loyalists so far up north their butt hairs would freeze off.