Spam Becoming Harder to Digest on Information Superhighway

Article excerpt

Byline: Jack Mabley

I don't want to buy a dozen roses for my valentine. I don't want to enlarge my body parts. I don't want to "go behind locked doors to see GIRLZ!"

I have been offered all of these services and products, and hundreds more, in my e-mail. They are called spam -unwanted (and unwelcome) mail trying to sell unwanted and unwelcome products.

E-mail via the Internet has been called the greatest advancement in communication since the telephone.

On the other hand, "spam has become the organized crime of the Internet," one expert said.

On an ordinary day I'll get 50 or so e-mail messages. Twenty- five or 30 will be spam. And it's constantly getting worse.

One reason I'm writing today's column is to apologize to readers who sent me e-mails in the past week.

Systems to try to filter out spam have become a minor industry. My e-mail comes through the Daily Herald. The paper is trying out one of those systems.

It works a little better than expected. It managed to filter out ALL my messages, friend and foe alike.

I answer all my mail, but I have no idea how much was missed in the five days I was out of business.

If you don't own a home computer, you should enjoy this column today. If you do use e-mail, read it and weep.

The people who created the Internet did not anticipate this debacle.

The problem is that anybody can use e-mail and anybody can set up a Web site as a base for peddling merchandise or services. The biggest abusers (and the most profitable) are the sex merchants.

There is literally no limit to the degradation they sell.

Crooks and con men and fools and madmen can flood our home computers with spam. …