Toward a spam-free future

Wednesday, 25 June 2003, 10:59 AM EST

E-mail's popularity has produced one very troubling side effect: spam. Unsolicited commercial email is a spreading plague that feeds off the unique power of the Internet to connect hundreds of millions of computer users around the world, at virtually no cost. Generally unwanted and often pornographic or with fraudulent intent spam is a nuisance and a distraction. Like almost everyone, I receive a lot of spam every day, much of it offering to help me get out of debt or get rich quick. It's ridiculous.

What's more, spam is a drain on productivity, an increasingly costly waste of time and resources for Internet service providers and for businesses large and small. It clogs corporate networks, and is sometimes a vehicle for viruses that can cause serious damage.

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