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We gave you a chance…

Our formerly feral cat was diagnosed with hyperthyroid disease earlier this year. This week she went in for treatment with radioactive iodine. Now that she’s home, we have some minor safety precautions (mostly around keeping radiation out of landfills and minimizing our exposure) for the next 2 weeks.
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In previous careers, both Steve and I have been licensed to work with radioactivity so we’ve been swapping stories. Today I remembered an incident recounted during training. One lab had ordered some radioisotope and then mistakenly thrown out the isotope with the packaging material. An honest, but very expensive, mistake. Part of the fix was to have all radiation orders go through a central office on campus. This office would handle the opening and recording of the material and then distributing it to the appropriate research lab. As Steve put it, “We trusted you but you messed up, so now we have to institute some controls.”
This actually is how a lot of email compliance is done, too. Companies are allowed to do what they’re going to do. If they do something bad, even by mistake, there is often a lot of expensive cleanup. After the cleanup, the network (either the ESP or ISP) puts in place processes to limit the chance of this kind of mistake in the future.
In the email space the processes usually involves a couple things. First, the sender needs to change their acquisition process. This change limits the bad addresses getting onto a list in the future. Second, the sender needs to address the bad part of their current list. This often involves purging and/or re-engaging non-responsive addresses.
The fixes are painful for everyone involved. But when cleanup is expensive, prevention is important.

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