ComputerWorld reports that spam security firm Postini “spotted 7 billion spam e-mails in November, up from 2.5 billion in June.” And 80% of it is apparently being generated by 200 criminal gangs worldwide. But that’s not the part I found most interesting. Despite common wisdom that anti-spam legislation can’t work, evidence to the contrary:
She pointed to the Netherlands as an example of how the current legal regime can be used to cut spam. Holland’s spam-busting unit, known by the initials OPTA, has just five full-time staff and $747,000 worth of equipment, but it has succeeded in cutting spam by 85 percent … Finland was also singled out for praise. A filtering system there has cut the amount of spam to 30 percent of all e-mail, from 80 percent two years ago.
Of course there’s more to this than mere laws, which have no teeth against untrackable crime rings. To make that kind of dent, you basically need to firewall a country — to encircle it with spam filtering hardware. And that kind of government intervention in the “free” internet sounds spookily similar to the Great Firewall of China. Kind of the difference between a benevolent dictator and fascism, I suppose. I might be inclined to go with the benevolent dictator in this case.
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