Volume 96, Issue 99
Friday, April 4, 2003

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Wham, SPAM, no thank you man

By Chris Webden
Gazette Staff

Everyone hates SPAM. Not only does it look, taste and smell horrible, it also sucks to get it in your inbox.

In a move contrary to the Acceptable Use Policy of Western's Information Technology Services, several students recently used Western mailing lists to advertise their sublets, rental availabilities and furniture for sale.

According to Jason Trodd, the ITS postmaster, these unsolicited e-mails are considered SPAM, and the perpetrators of the e-mails risked having their Western e-mail account privileges revoked.

"Using computing resources, particularly electronic mail, Web servers and bulletin boards, to send fraudulent, harassing or obscene messages [is unauthorized]," said an e-mail sent by Trodd to the guilty parties.

The e-mail noted that only messages approved by the Registrar's Office can be sent to Western's mailing lists by students.

"There was a rash of complaints [concerning the e-mails]," Trodd said, adding that, following the complaints, the SPAMs have slowed down.

"I think someone got smart and [used the e-mail lists] and some people saw and decided to do it themselves," Trodd explained.

According to Trodd, media, information and technoculture, computer science and biology students were hit the most. Trodd said it is up to the managers of the lists within those faculties to monitor who maintains and uses the lists, and noted that there are several ways to keep them from being abused.

"I think it is totally inappropriate [for students to be using the lists]," said Andrew O'Hoski, a fourth-year computer science student, who was upset to see the recent slew of advertisements filling his inbox.

O'Hoski said he felt there are other ways to advertise sublets without inconveniencing students, such as hanging posters around campus or advertising in The Gazette.

As a computer science student, O'Hoski explained that sending a SPAM e-mail is not difficult to do, but added he himself would never use such an annoying approach to spread information.

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