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Spam: It Isn’t Just E Mail Anymore

2438 words - 10 pages

Spam: It Isn’t Just E-Mail Anymore

Introduction

The digital information age has most certainly changed the face of our world. No matter where one looks, the effects of technological evolution can be seen. As recent as ten years ago, merchant companies were accustomed to using mass mailings, ad campaigns, and television commercials as their main form of advertising. Now, with e-commerce flourishing as strongly as ever over the Internet, these same merchants have a more powerful medium to utilize in advertising their products. In theory, there is nothing wrong with advertising fairly, honestly, and with the sole intent of selling products. Today, many of the advertisements on the Internet are not geared towards selling consumers honest and fair products. There are thousands of people who prey on the ignorant and computer illiterate. These advertisements are not always simply just on the Web, but they are in fact spread like wildfire to consumers through mass e-mailings.

In an ideal world, technologies like e-mail would be used for the common good; to promote a higher sense of community and to further the development of mankind. The ability to send electronic mail is a powerful tool. Unfortunately, good cannot exist without the presence of evil. So it would seem that for the time being we are stuck with e-mail spammers. I would ask, is the use of such e-mail messages ethical? Are they providing a service of any value? There are several ethical implications that I wish to take a look at regarding the use of such e-mail messages, as well as the ethical analysis of suppressing such activities in the United States and in the United Kingdom.

USA and the UK Crack Down on Spam

The United States has already begun cracking down on e-mail spammers who send messages of an obscene nature. The United Kingdom has also followed suit, in that they have also voiced their opinion in opposition to e-mail spammers. (BritainUsa.com) The rationale is simply this: not everybody wants to have their e-mail boxes bombarded with electronic ads for sexual enhancement drugs or get-rich-quick schemes. The United States has actually implemented rules such that e-mail messages must have a valid subject line in order to be sent as an advertisement message to a consumer. It is for this very reason that I, along with many other American citizens feel that e-mail advertising has lost its value in the marketplace. American and British policies seem to be in accordance with this sentiment. The world’s software industry has made many developments in creating software to help filter out spam e-mails from consumers’ mailboxes. This is a direct indicator of a problem being present. If time and money is being spent in developing proactive solutions to dealing with spam e-mails, there is an obvious supply of consumers who want to have spam e-mails reduced in their lives. Spam e-mail not only consumes the e-mail resources, but it takes the consumers’...

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