Freedom Digital Library

"Dear Friends"


"Dear Friends"
On Unsolicited Junk E-mail, a/k/a "spam"

12 May 2008
Dear Friends,

I don't know if you are very much bothered by unsolicited junk e-mail, otherwise known as "spam." Myself, I have grown inured to receiving cascades of it, in heaps and drifts, every time I download my e-mail. It's pretty raunchy stuff, mostly, and on principle I would never reply to one, even if it contained an offer that might otherwise interest me – which I have not seen yet. This is what you might call a "minor irritant," which I customarily chalk up to one of the "costs" of the convenience of e-mail; and just shrug, and massively delete (taking care always not to lose the occasional genuine message I actually want to read).

For the second time recently, however, I have had this matter of "spam" pushed directly "in my face" – when I downloaded my e-mail, and was inundated by a flood of hundreds if not thousands of "Postal Notices" to the effect that messages I had sent to e-mail addresses all over the world were for various reasons undeliverable. Some of these automated replies were written in Chinese and Cyrillic, for Pete's sake!

I had never sent any such messages, of course. Some "industrial-strength spammer" had evidently launched a massive distribution, using my e-mail address as the Sender, and so I was receiving hundreds of notifications of failure to deliver to bogus addresses in the unknown spammer's distribution list. As a result, I suddenly became motivated to look into this matter of "spam" a bit more closely than I had before, and I think it may be fruitful to share with you some of what I have learned; which you may read here, if you like.

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Love, Peace, Joy, Now,

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"Dear Friends"