Sunday, July 05, 2009

State abduction of children and spam (Or unsolicited commercial email)

This may be two subjects where you can see absolutely no connection what so ever. Fair enough. There is though, and I will get to it.

I read in today's Sunday Telegraph, of the case of a man who because he had security concerns about his circumstances asked to pick up his daughter from inside the school gates. This led to social workers turning up, refusing to show ID, and then him getting arrested and for a while sectioned.

Read the article, I really suggest you do. You can also read this from Manwiddicombe from whom I have got the link.

Right. Read those?

Now cast your mind back to baby P, or rather baby Peter. I wrote at the time that knee jerk reactions were no good.

The problem seems to be this: That if children die at the hands of parents then social services need to be harsher or if children are taken into care unreasonably they need to be easier.

This is where the link to spam comes in. One of the things the company for which I work sell is an anti spam solution. I personally do a lot of work on it.

We can move the goal posts in terms of score at which emails are considered spam or not one way or the other, catching more or less spam as spam and generating more or less false positives as a result.

Surprisingly* this is frankly not good enough. The customer who does not want spam does not want to lose an important email because it now score high enough. What the customer actually wants is more discrimination between what is unsolicited commercial email and what is not, rather than some individual binning their email on an arbitrary rule change.

Our response has to be raising our game to write better spam busting rules. The question then is, why can't the state? The case of baby Peter is instructive. He had half a finger missing. All you need is a medic or social worker who can count to 10 and do fractions and they would have noticed something amis. No need for harsher rules, just better discrimination between those that need intervention and those that do not.

*Actually, it is not that surprising at all really.


manwiddicombe said...

As always a well argued point sir and, I think, the first to draw the two cases together for balanced reasoning.

How does one know which boxes to tick to show one has acted properly if the form does not contain a "used common sense" bullet point?

Steve said...

Counting to 10? Hmm, could be a difficult recruiting problem. This is Britain you know.

Anonymous said...

The first to draw the two cases together for balanced reasoning.

Naton wide cash is easy and fast

Unknown said...

The first to draw the two cases together for balanced reasoning.
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