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"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.


The preceding is another edition of an accumulating collection of "Dear Friends" letters addressed to subscribers to the Freedom Digital Library distribution list. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or contribute commentary, send an e-mail stating your wish to [address obfuscated], and I will add your e-mail address to, or subtract it from, the current distribution list, or respond accordingly.

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Love, Peace, Joy, Now,
Harmon

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