On Line Wales: Forget `Dunk the Junk Day' for Where There's Spam, There's Brass

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Newsam

IT'S Monday morning and I've just gone through the emails I've received since Fri-day afternoon. Thirty-two in all; newsletters, correspondence, messages from colleagues, a couple of jokes and the biggest portion of all - spam.

Nothing unusual there. I check who the sender is, look at the subject and if they are unwanted I delete without opening. Inevitably, I don't recognise some - five today. These I open and four are spam. I delete. This routine has taken me 10 minutes and it will take another 10 minutes later as I'll go through my emails twice more today. It's often worse.

Spam accounts for up to 40% of global emails and is growing rapidly. Some analysts predict that in two or three years 95% of emails will be spam, rendering email communication unusable.

Until now, we've done little but grumble. Next week, however, giant internet portal Yahoo! hosts Europe's first anti-spam day.

It has dubbed Thursday, May 22, as ``Dunk the Junk Day'' in a bid to raise the communal will to do something about it.

It has been joined by AOL and MSN in a crusade against the malevolent serial spammers to liberate the besieged electronic community.

Of course, email is at the heart of their businesses and if it dies a death so too might they. At the moment, AOL says it blocks a tidy two billion emails a day, costing time and money. And costs, as any business knows, are ultimately picked up by the consumer.

Anti-spam measures are developing in other parts of the world. In Virginia, sending spam is now a felony and sending more than 10,000 unsolicited commercial emails in one day could earn you up to five years in the pen.

How much of a deterrent this will be and how easy it will be to police are yet to be proven, but AOL has already filed lawsuits against individuals and companies.

But don't hold your breath. Court cases - especially test cases - aren't cheap and laws in one US state out of 50 won't send shockwaves through the murky world of spammers. …