This isn’t something that I normally might write about, but one of the members of the Antispam community – J.D. Falk – recently died of cancer.

If you don’t know who he is, J.D. worked on email, anti-spam systems and policies for more than fifteen years including collaboration with influential companies such as the original Mail Abuse Prevention System, Microsoft, and Yahoo! as well as anti-abuse non-profits such as MAAWG, CAUCE, and the IETF.

I had him on my list of Facebook friends so I knew him a little bit and spoke with him a few times at some industry conferences.  There are two specific interactions that I recall about him:

  1. In July 2010, I spoke at the Conference on Email and Antispam (CEAS, now since renamed).  I gave a talk about the integration between geopolitical events and cybercrime, and how different cultures view cybercrime differently.

    After the presentation, he sent me an email saying (I’m paraphrasing) “Good talk.  It’s helpful to be reminded of the larger context, especially when are usually focused on technical issues.”

  2. The first time I got to speak at MAAWG, for some reason I had to contact the chair of the conference. I couldn’t get a hold of him, so instead I contacted JD and he passed along my message.  Everything worked out okay.

I know that’s not really a lot and the stories don’t go very deep, but I still remember both of them very clearly.  I’ve checked out some discussion boards and his memorial pages, and all I can say is that I hope that other people say the same good things about me when I die as they are saying about JD.

JD Falk Memorial

CAUCE page on JD Falk

ReturnPath CEO Matt Blumberg’s article on CircleID

Memorial page on MAAWG