Friday, March 7, 2008

It's protein-rich and conveniently packaged. What's not to love?

Can I ask a stupid question?

What's so bad about spam?

CNet reports that "Google says spam is [a] huge corporate headache," but I have my doubts. I'm a big email user. I have a few different Gmail accounts for various purposes, and I believe that a grand total of three unwanted messages have made it through the default spam filter. Not a single message has been sent to the spam folder in error - I do check. Before Gmail I used Hotmail with their mid-level spam filter and again, it was extremely rare for a spam message to make it to my inbox.

At work we use a terrible webmail system that is almost more trouble than it's worth. The attachment size limit is ridiculously small, at around 3 megabytes, and the total inbox limit is laughable at 20 megabytes. I believe it costs us a lot of money as well. It would have been an inappropriate and outdated system in 1995. Yet for all of its problems, I have received maybe five spam emails.

These are public email addresses, I don't take many precautions to avoid spam, all of my addresses are out in the open in plain text and hyperlinks all over the Internet. All I use is the most basic default spam filters, and spam is so far down my list of concerns I wouldn't bother to flick a switch to magically end it, if such a device existed.

According to Google,

The average "unprotected user" would have received 36,000 spam messages in the year.

Stopping spam and other malware is the top priority for the government, legal, manufacturing and, for the most part the tech industry.
Who are these people? Is it at all useful to imagine some hypothetical "unprotected user"? That's like saying the average unvaccinated, unmedicated, Leukopenic person with no skin will get X number of diseases and infections this year. And since when do the priorities of government have any bearing on reality?

I call bullshit on anti-spam hysteria.

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