A Million Spam Emails from the wilfully worthless

It’s not beyond the wit of man to fix. It’s beyond the will of those with the wit and beyond the wit of those with the will.

As I sat in Gatwick airport, fighting with the WiFi, my CTO sat opposite me, making sure my Outlook Exchange gets into the office systems  properly, so I can be dealing with my Emails while on the plane to Pubcon. I had some Viagra emails amongst the 159 downloaded over the weekend, but the majority were things I signed up to, and the occasional one was even a real human discussing real business. Well – out of the 159 I have now answered the 12 or so that were human related or required human replies. That leaves me to ponder the comment Andy made when he saw the Viagra emails… namely that although those got through, my spam filters passed the 1 million blocked some time ago.

1 Million – that’s quite a lot I thought! Apparently we don’t even have our filter settings set as high as they can be, as we are happy to let a few of the cleverer ones get through instead of a false positive on a client email. We do use more than one system to filter the emails – but overall I think this tells me three things:

1)  That maybe the Viagra ones are actually now quite well targeted now that I am in my forties

2)  That Andy has pretty well got email spam under control but mostly…

3)  The amount of spam is far from decreasing! When is it going to get fixed???

In a world gone mad with behavioural targeting getting down to whether I prefer chess over cars, the same clever boffins can’t work out how to stop spam. Oh – wait – the guys that are developing behavioural targeting systems to the nth degree are marketers… as are the spammers. The boffins have been bought up by the free market economy. That means it’s up to the governments to fix this.  

Well, nobody else is going to do it are they?

Me – I’m going to go into rocket science marketing in my next incarnation.

What’s That Microsoft?

how often do you find yourself getting to a website these days and something is asking you to install ActiveX or something else? What is happening and why is it necessary?

(Yes – I’ve changed this entry. I dug a bit and it got more interesting.)

I’ve been on my hobby horse recently about the majors (and indeed web users oursleves) paying lip serving to “taking privacy seriously” but then going through a wholesale move in the other direction, I have been getting more and more concerned about little messages when reading web pages that ask me to install extra bits of software.

The most common is “ActiveX” at the moment, but others seem to be coming out of the woodwork all over the place. Microsoft seem to be behind most of them… “Silverlight” is a new alternative to flash – but since it requires me loading software, who’s checking that  the software is protecting my rights? But at least I know what “Silverlight” is. Yesterday I downloaded a web page and found Microsoft installing new stuff . What does Microsoft think I should do when something called “data access services” is requesting access to my computer?

.Microsoft Installing New stuff

My suspicions that all the players are paying lip-service to privacy is more than a little reinforced when we hear that W3C had to publish its Platform for Privacy Policy (PP3P) recommendations without Browser support. The P3P Specification Working Group took this step as there was insufficient support from current Browser implementers for the implementation of P3P 1.1. That is an appalling state of affairs. W3C’s members (the ones that refused to back the policy) include Google, Yahoo, Apple and Microsoft.