Users to be held Accountable?

Via James Robertson: Unplug Spam-Sending PCs

Consumers who allow their infected computers to send out millions of “spam” messages could be unplugged from the Internet under a proposal released on Tuesday by six large e-mail providers. … But the group also suggested consumers be held accountable if their machines are exploited by spammers.

+1 for the spam bot take down.

But I have misgivings about holding consumers accountable if their machines are exploited by spammers. The consumer buys the right to use some software. Security holes in that software allow spammers to exploit their machines. There is no obvious way for the consumer to know that their machine has been hacked. And this is the consumer’s fault?

What proportion of the blame lies with the company that provided the security holes in the first place? The company that sold computers without virus protection? The company whose anti-virus software stops working? Let’s not make the consumer the fall guy for bad decisions all the way around.

Try thinking more along the lines of a paid housecall to disinfect the machine and install anti-virus software before reconnection. I suspect that annual home computer checkups could provide a pretty nice boost to broadband revenues.