Saturday, October 23, 2004

Less Spam?

It's about time. I don't need any of the things people are trying to sell me, especially the Viagra or the hair growing goop or the "lose-50lbs-while-snacking-on-chocolates-every-day". If you count up the seconds per day you spend erasing this crap and then multiply the time with the number of days you spend at your keyboard it adds up to a lot of lost life. Life that you could have used by reading my immortal words, for example (never ignore a chance to advertize!).

The reason for all the spam and spyware is twofold: the cheap price for advertizers and the absence of proper laws and legal enforcement of any that exist. If an advertizer sends a million Viagra e-mails and one person buys the product the costs of the campaing are probably covered. This ignores the costs to all the other 999,999 people who get angry and who have to spend time erasing the messages, who then go home with achy fingers and yell at their partners or children or dogs, who then eat too fast and get an ulcer and end up costing all of us millions in intensive care. It could happen.

That's why I was pleased to read that at least one spyware company has been taken to court:

U.S. District Judge Joseph DiClerico issued a temporary restraining order Thursday against Stanford Wallace and his companies, Inc. of Richboro, Pa., and Seismic Entertainment Productions Inc. of Rochester. SmartBot's principal place of business is Barrington.
Prosecutors sought the injunction on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission, which targeted Wallace in its first anti-spyware action.
The judge ordered Wallace to remove software code that exploits security holes in computer operating systems and Web browsers, then tracks people's Internet use to bombard them with pop-up ads.
Wallace also is accused of trying to sell computer users $30 remedies called "Spy Wiper" and "Spy Deleter" that the FTC says don't work.

This is not strong enough. Wallace needs to come and clean my computer every day. While he is at it he could also do the dishes and walk the dogs. Then he can do the same to you, and to you, and to you. And so on.