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Spam keeps screwing up communication

What a mess
Wed Jun 09 2004, 10:42
UNWANTED EMAILS arriving in our inboxes is worse than it ever was, judging by recent reports.

Recent statistics from Brightmail say that of 100 billion email messages they intercepted in May 2004, 64% were identified as spam. Messagelabs report that of 909 million emails scanned by their service, 76% were spam.

Earlier this week, Nuclear Research reported that 82 of the Fortune 500 companies believed they were able to filter only 20% of spam emails and that employees of these companies receive an average of almost 7,500 spam emails per year.

The number of spam emails has increased in the last twelve months and legislation against spam appears to be ineffective. Few US spammers have been charged and, in general, legislation is ineffective across national borders.

On top of that, we have seen the appearance of emails which offer "bulk email" services out of China. "We have millions of e-mail addresses in a wide variety of categories." they declare.

In the meantime the anti-spam industry is fragmented by different ideas rather than adopt a co-ordinated approach or several co-ordinated methods. Several ideas have been mooted but many require software changes to mail servers and that will be no small task. Let's also hope that no-one takes out a software patent on any of these approaches!

Earlier this year Esther Dyson revived the notion of putting a price on each email in an attempt to force spammers out of business. She argued that economic sanctions could be used against countries that failed to impose a charge. "Not so fast!" said India, "We want to spread the use of the Internet among millions of people who really don't have the money to pay for emails."

It's all a bit of a mess really... µ


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