Robert Stanelle



I have been reading a lot about spam lately and, unfortunately, also experiencing a lot of it, from unwanted e-mails to a horrendous number of those annoying pop-up ads. And is there anybody out there who does not find that annoying? I read a statistic the other day that over 94% of the public found them annoying and want them stopped. Actually I would have suspected 99%. How lonely do you have to be to enjoy these things?

I find the invasion of privacy extremely rude, annoying and criminal in its actions. I feel this is true for both virus manufacturers and spammers. Those anonymous “computer whiz kids” who create these viruses think they are somehow being “cute” and inconveniencing the Microsofts and Bill Gates’ of the world. Maybe they are slightly, but I wish it were that simple. Let’s say that, based on current statistics, 150,000,000 of us use e-mail and the Internet in one way or another. How many of us work for Microsoft or one of these other giant corporations the spammers claim they are trying to go after? A million? Two million? In any case, that means 148,000,000 plus of us are being bombarded and inconvenienced by these viruses for the personal joy and satisfaction of some individual spammer. We are even more inconvenienced than the big corporations because they have experts on their payroll that can respond. What do you and I have? We just struggle or pay more money to the big corporations to buy something to fix the problem because we have no experts on our payroll!

We pay for these people in a myriad of ways. Another example is in our taxes. The FBI has now had to hire computer “sleuths,” experts whose job it is to try to track down the breeders of these malicious viruses. Our tax money at work, spent only because of the strange desires of a few highly intelligent but also highly warped individuals.

The famous worm virus, “Blaster,” was the culprit behind most of us receiving hundreds to thousands of unwanted e-mails just a few months ago. If each of us e-mail users spent a mere thirty minutes (a conservative estimate) deleting and cleaning up the junk caused by this worm, we can calculate that to about 74,000,000 person hours. Based on a forty hour week, that calculates to 1,850,000 weeks or 37,000 years allowing for a two week annual vacation!

If we figure that out at a simple wage of say $7 an hour, that’s 518,000,000 dollars of our time wasted. That strikes me as criminal in any sense of the word – and that leads me directly in spamming.

I have recently read several articles involving interviews with professional spammers and the statistics are horrifying. It seems these people can send out as many as nine million e-mail messages an hour on their best days – and that is 24 hours a day. Figure 200,000,000 messages times the great number of professional spammers out there and the total is staggering. Apparently, however, they only need .00002% response to make a nice profit! No other business can say that.

What happens now? Can these people be stopped? California has recently moved to ban all unsolicited e-mail. Delaware has passed such a law but has not bothered to enforce it. I assume the question really is how do you do that? How do you enforce any law and stop these people? I am all for California in this case, but can only hope they will come up with an effective solution.

I would say the people who do this, viruses or spam e-mail, have no morals or caring in any way about others. Perhaps that goes back to the problems of our society as a whole though. We, meaning us “older” folks, are always writing and talking about the lack of respect shown by each new seceding generation. How respect for others is no longer taught by parents the way it should be. How we pass off the responsibility to others: teachers, social workers, police or anyone we can conveniently blame. We grow up caring about no one but ourselves and that reflects directly in what we do and our attitudes about it.

Think about customer service? Or should I say what passes for customer service today – and that means a very loose interpretation of the words. We deal with phone messages that give us all the choices except the one we want. And if we do get a real person eventually they are unlikely to know the answer you seek.

I have read where your “spending” record is pulled up on the computer when you call and you get service only if the computer shows you are among the top percent of spenders in that companies client base. Even in customer service the rich get richer and the rest of us struggle for answers. Well, one problem at a time and for the moment I feel that virus creators and spammers must be stopped. Place them all in orange jump suits and keep them dressed that way for a long time. For until we stop these people ……………………………