November 27, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 50  

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EDITORIAL & OPINIONS

Click here to enlarge your penis

On the DL
David Lee

Sports Editor

“re: waisting yur thyme”... I’m getting pretty tired of SPAM.

You’ve probably read these sentiments somewhere else before, penned by someone who has reached his own breaking point. My problems with bulk messages are so bad I’d like to swear off e-mail entirely. That’s an unrealistic goal, admittedly; many businesses, institutions and individuals now communicate primarily through e-mail. Western itself states in its registration handbook that e-mail is the favoured method of contact between the system and students.

What was once considered an odd meat eaten by the British and a Monty Python prop is now the bane of Internet users. I used to think the subject lines of some of the e-mails were funny (i.e. “teenage sluts do it on camera!”) and wondered how long it would be until I saw one that said “Your life is pitiful. Read this message and you’ll become smarter, acquire vast riches and get laid by all of last year’s Playmates at once.”

I don’t think it’s funny anymore. Now I realize the unoriginal subject headers are a) used to draw in the desperate with claims like those made a century ago by tonics, solutions and powders with seemingly incredible properties and b) a source of embarrassment when a passerby sees one of the above statements (standing out in caps, of course) on your computer screen in Weldon.

You’ve probably also heard the statistics about how spam negatively affects productivity. Employees waste vast man-hours when they’re forced to delete a large percentage of their incoming e-mail. Even more time is wasted when a bulk message is mistaken for a genuine one and is given more than a cursory glance at the subject line.

System administrators worldwide will also tell you that the ever-increasing amount of bulk e-mails put a strain on their computer systems. That strain is increased when one of their servers is used as a host computer from which a spammer sends his message.

Temporal and technical burdens aside, there remains the simple fact that for the average user, SPAM is just plain annoying. I’m forced to check my e-mail many times a day for fear that if I don’t, legitimate messages won’t make it to my over-quota inbox.

Internet law has lagged behind the net’s technical development and there are certainly more pressing issues than bulk e-mail — i.e. the sale of weapons, the exploitation of children — that need to be addressed first. Nevertheless, I remain fed up with the current SPAM situation and hope desperately that it is stopped in the not-too-distant future.

So, to quote one piece of SPAM, “The future is now: invest befor its two late (sic).”

 

 

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