Can Spam Be Canned?

Quite possibly, YES, say researchers at University of California. The key turns out to be regulatory interference with payment by credit card, in turn made easier by the concentration in payment processing for spammed products in a small handful of foreign banks, coupled with the high cost of a vendor’s changing banks and the ease of regulators in detecting any new banks supporting payments to spammers.

Will this work? I guess it probably would. It doesn’t quite deal with spammers not interested in actual direct transactions but interested instead in social engineering designed to acquire, say, credit card numbers from naive elderly people in response to unsolicited emails. But anything to curtail spam is better than nothing, and I agree that taking the profit out of spamming is about the only way it can ever be reduced.

You say you never respond to spam? Well, of course you don’t… but it costs you plenty anyway: the NYT article linked above says that “about 90 percent of all e-mail is spam.” Think for a moment about the burden that places on the internet as a whole. And you’re paying for that burden through your ISP.

(H/T Mustang Bobby.)

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  • Kay Dennison  On Saturday May 21, 2011 at 10:05 am

    I hate spam. It seems to me that there should be some sort of way to control it better.

    • Steve  On Saturday May 21, 2011 at 10:34 am

      Kay, unless we want to change the wide-open nature of the ‘net (and believe me, there are people… and corporations… trying very hard to do just that), the only way to control spam is to reduce the motivation for sending it. In most cases, this means somehow making spam less profitable. The technique described may do that, though it probably requires government cooperation. Time will tell whether it can be tried.

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