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Throwing Down the Gauntlet

Posted by Rick · November 26th, 2003 · No Comments

Spammers have long been the scourge of the Internet. It’s hard to say whether they started first with email or with USENET’s NNTP-protocol-based newsgroups. The newsgroups are now virtually an historical artifact, due in no small part to spammers. And I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what spammers have done to email. The company for which I’m the Director of Information Systems screens spam as well as we can; on any given day, there are 1500 to 2000 messages caught in the spam filters. On Mondays, we can literally walk in to find between 5000 and 7000 such trapped junk. Geoff Duncan, technical editor, subscriptions manager and developer for TidBITS, spending time blocking spamsays,

In short, we’re starting to see signs that e-mail, often hailed as the Internet’s killer app, is in danger of becoming an unreliable, arbitrarily censored medium.

Of late, spammers are targeting blogs, like The Unspun Zone™. I’ve written about my run-ins with them already.

Personally, I think — and I’m most emphatically not joking about this — that we need to send quite serious and quite-well-publicized messages to spammers. And the only way I really know to do this is to catch 5 or 10 and execute them on national television. Perhaps Fox “News” would carry it, since they’re more into entertainment than news anyway. And since they appeal to low-lifes and rednecks so well, the message would spread like wildfire. Two or three weeks of that should significantly reduce spam — especially if the United States, having already shown its willingness to invade other countries in order to provide contracts to Halliburton and others of the President’s (or Vice-President’s) men, went out and caught a few foreign spammers and brought them to Fox.

If public executions seem extreme to you, consider that spam costs literally billions of dollars per year. These costs are the result of everything from the bandwidth that is wasted to the time spent trying to stop spam to the disk storage space used (you didn’t think spam just floated out there in the ether until you read it, did you?) to the fact that spam not only sometimes carries vermin (e.g., viruses), but makes it harder for email administrators to stop more serious threats. After all, if your administrator is spending time blocking spam, that’s time not spent blocking viruses. Spammers are, quite simply, the lowest form of life on our planet; they’re something like a cross between pond scum and the fast-spreading ebola virus.

At the very least, well-publicized sentences — if we can’t actually do a few public executions — should run up to and include life-in-prison terms.

Categories: Blogs & Blogging


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