|Spam Although the availability of your private information might be troubling, the consequence for most users is something called spam.
|Spam is Internet “junk mail.” After all, your e-mail address is often included in the personal information that companies collect and share.
|The correct term for spam is unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE). Almost all spam is commercial advertising.
|According to reports filed with Congress in early 2004, about two-thirds of all e-mail traffic was spam messages. In the United States, nearly 80 percent of all e-mail was spam.
|You might think that the answer to spam e-mail is simple: just delete the messages when they arrive.
|But for many computer users, spam is much too big a problem for such a simple solution. Some people receive dozens, even hundreds, of spam messages daily. The problem is huge for businesses, where corporate e-mail
|Servers needlessly store and transfer countless spam messages each month. At the personal level, spam recipients spend time reviewing unwanted messages, in fear they may accidentally delete legitimate mail.
|This alone costs untold hours of wasted time. The real solution to spam, therefore, is to control it before it reaches all the people who don’t want it.
|Defining spam is important to controlling it. One person’s important message, after all, is another person’s spam. This difference makes it hard to establish a legal basis for prevention.
|Since 2003, the legally accepted definition of the characteristics of spam is commercial e-mail, bulk transmitted to millions of people at a time.
|The volume and the fact that each message contains substantially the same content define spam.
|People who send out these endless streams of spam get e-mail addresses in three ways:
|» Purchasing lists of e-mail addresses through brokers.
|» “Harvesting” e-mail addresses from the Internet.
|» Generating random strings of characters in an attempt to match legitimate addresses.