Sunday, 06 July, 2003

Spam as a form of "terrorism"

Back in April I mentioned the possibility that some spam messages are encoded communications sent to millions of people in order to mask the identity of the receiver and possibly the sender.  Here's another possibility:  spam as a method of destabilizing society.  As more people get email and everybody gets more spam, we're wasting huge amounts of time and effort deleting it, blocking it, and bitching about it.  The cyber terrorists who have hatched this evil plot are smart enough not to bomb the system with unmanageable amounts of spam right off, but rather are slowly increasing the amount.

Dropped in a pan of boiling water, a frog will do whatever it can to get out.  But if you put the frog in a pan of warm water and slowly increase the heat, the frog will stay there and die.  The spam terrorists are using the same technique—slowly increasing the amount of spam until it makes a serious dent in our productivity.  They know that if they bombed our systems with unmanageable amounts of spam right off, we'd do something right now to prevent it.  But by starting light and slowly increasing the amount of spam, they can disrupt us for a long time, and make it very difficult for people to agree on when enough is enough.

I just have to come up with reasonable (even if far-fetched) reasons for the increase in spam.  There just can't be enough stupid people buying penis enlargement pills or human growth hormone to make even the low cost of spam worthwhile.  Can there?