To the editor:
What lies behind Bill Gates' proposal to use "stamps" to control spam on the Internet? This is clearly a strategy not only to control spam but also to convert e-mail into a commodity and place it on the open market. Microsoft Corp. is not interested in controlling spam as an act of kindness nor as an act of civic duty. Microsoft operates on the profit motive. Microsoft wants e-mail to become a commodity -- that is, a product to be purchased.
Bill Gates argues that converting e-mail into a product will stop those who send out spam on a large scale. There is no compelling evidence to suggest that the open market will stop spam. Postage "stamps" used by the U.S. Postal Service certainly have not stopped junk mail. The only certainty is that individual users, such as you and me, will end up paying an e-mail bill to a for-profit corporation.
The question the American public needs to be asking is this: Should for-profit corporations, such as Microsoft, be allowed to put a price on e-mail? If you think spam is irritating, wait until you start getting e-mail bills from Microsoft.