To switch on your e-mail and not see at least half of it filled with spam (including a lot of pornography) seems like an impossible dream. But the Anti-Spam Research Group is determined to stamp out spam. One of the major problems is defining exactly what spam is. Anti-spammer Paul Judge says, “Spam is a problem of unwanted messages and we believe that you as an individual or organization should be able to decide the messages that you want and the messages that you don’t want.” Steve Atkins of says, “Fifty per cent of all e-mail is spam. It’s costing an estimated eight to nine billion dollars in lost productivity in America alone. Worldwide, 628 million users find spam annoying and today people are getting 200 pieces of spam a day.”

Businesses who rely on e-mail ads say spammers are discrediting legitimate advertisers. Hans Peter Brondmo of Digital Impact, says, “It is our view that you have to change the architecture, the way the internet works by introducing authentication standards so you can ” This would be a problem for the many spammers who survive by using deceptive subject headings.

Possible solutions include making it harder or impossible to use a false return address on e-mail, as many spammers do, as well as charging a quarter of a cent to send messages, so spammers can?t afford to send millions of messages a day. Brondmo says, “I think if you look in a mailbox in two years, spam will be more or less gone.”

Is spam another symptom of the way our system works for those who can afford it?

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