Technology Review paints the doomsday scenario about spam, quoting John Mozena: “There are 24 million small businesses in the U.S. If just 1 percent got your e-mail address and sent you one message per year, you’d have 657 additional messages in your in-box every day. That is our nuclear-winter scenario.” So, how to fight spam?
The first involves the rapid adoption of spam-blocking-and-filtering software by consumers, corporate networks, and Internet service providers. Anti-spam software is expected to grow into a $2.4 billion industry by 2007, up from about $650 million now, according to a Radicati Group forecast. But that alone won’t win the war. The second, newer approach involves instituting more drastic changes in the way e-mail and the Internet work, perhaps imposing new costs to send messages or developing the ability to trace e-mail messages like phone calls.
The third tactic is a legal one, involving not only better law enforcement and prosecution of spammers but even a ban on all unsolicited commercial e-mail. To beat back the persistent, rising tide of spam, it’s probably necessary to engage on all three fronts at once.