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New Communication Technologies - Spam Emails

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New Communication Technologies

Essay

Spam emails

Email has become one of the leading communication technologies of the 21st Century.

This form of communication allows the user to easily communicate from their

computer quickly and efficiently throughout the world with minimal cost. Whilst this

technology has opened up worldwide communications it also has had many negative

attributes with the constant onslaught of Spam emails to users. Under Australian

Legislation a Spam email is defined as an unsolicited commercial electronic message

(Spam Act 2003 - Frequently Asked Questions - www.acma.gov.au). According to

one market research firm, the Radicati Group there are nearly 15 billion spam

messages sent out each day (Fallows, D - Spam - How it is hurting email and

degrading life on the internet - Page 7). In this essay we will look at the history of

Spam emails and how they degrade the use of this new communication technology

through the time consumed with handling these unsolicited messages, the reduction of

bandwidth and the costs involved to ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and the mistrust

they create for users.

Internet based email was invented by computer engineer Ray Tomlinson in late 1971

when using the ARPAnet. ARPA stands for the Advanced Research Projects Agency,

a branch of the military that developed top-secret systems and weapons during the

Cold War. The network was established for the military to protect the flow of

information between military installations and was the precursor to the Internet and

the World Wide Web. ARPAnet created the TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol

of the Internet Protocol Suite) communications standard, which defines data transfer

on the Internet today. The ARPAnet opened in 1969 and was quickly taken over by

civilians mainly university scholars who utilized this technology to share the few

computers that existed at that time.

Merigan - Page 2

The first Spam message was sent on 3 May 1978. It was sent to addresses taken from

a printed directory of ARPAnet users mostly from universities and corporations.

(Bellis, Mary - www.about.com). Even in 1978, recipients were unhappy with this

unsolicited message and many sent complaints to the sender (Templeton. B -The

reaction to the DEC Spam of 1978 - www.templeton.com/spam).

During the next two decades development of the Internet and the World Wide Web by

Dr Tim Berners-Lee and the availability of cheap hardware and software saw a new

revolution in communication. By the 1990s email usage became as popular as the

telephone and in the last decade most people in the western world now have access to

their own email address. Most people would find it hard to imagine life without this

technology.

With the acceptance of email, users are now being bombarded with Spam emails on a

daily basis. Spam exists because large amounts of it can be sent out for a very low

cost and to computers worldwide. Australia and the USA have legislation against the

generation of Spam - though messages are still received to users in these countries

from overseas servers.

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