This eWEEK: May 5, 2003
Congratulations, spammers. You've just superseded smokers as the most universally loathed social outcasts.Congratulations, spammers. Youve just superseded smokers as the most universally loathed social outcasts. Worse, you could soon be on the receiving end of more lawsuits than the tobacco companies. And if youre ever taken to court, you may have a hell of time finding a lawyer willing to take on your case. Its rare when there is such unanimity about anythingwhich may in itself be cause for worry: Shouldnt we care about defending the rights of unpopular minorities? But even though most of us are justifiably angered by spam messages, what to do about them is not obvious. Unleashing 18-year-old bounty hunters, as U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., proposes, might launch a "spam-witch" hunt of greedy teens that could prove a far worse scourge than the original rogue e-mails.
As Caron Carlson and Dennis Callaghan report, first a suitable definition of spam is needed. Is it all unsolicited commercial messages, or must it be sent fraudulently to qualify? Thats a debate that will get louder this year. Unless something is done, Ferris Research predicts that the typical North American business user will receive 41 spam messages per day in 2008. Many people are surely at that level now.