Not just a cruel food joke

I suppose that there are people on Earth who eat Spam. That the material is sold, and people buy it, is a good indicator that this is so.

Spam, by another definition, is an annoyance. It was interesting to be reminded in this week’s Economist that in 2004 Bill Gates made the rather extravagant prediction that within two years it would be no more. As with so many things, sadly, he was wrong. Spam has not ended; filters to trap and remove unwanted emails have merely got better. And the spammers have changed tactics but not their strategies. Unsolicited emails are not about the means of delivery: they are, and always will be, about getting recipients to click on a link.

Sometimes the link is to dodgy pills; sometimes it generates a malicious infection. Always the aim is to extract money from you by false pretences. And now the con men have infiltrated Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and other social media with a vengeance. They merely have to hi-jack one account to have access to millions. Your friends and their friends are simply one-click-away targets, and you’re the gate-opener.

Nine out of ten of us are suckers for ‘good deals’. Of course this is nonsense; merely idle and wishful thinking. Good deals are a myth; free lunches are never free, and if something looks too good to be true, it always is.

We still treat the internet “like a village” says the Economist. “A better analogy would be a railway station in a big city, where hustlers gather to prey on the credulity of new arrivals. Wise behaviour in such places is to walk fast, avoid eye contact and be brusque with strangers.” This is a sensible way to behave online as well.

It’s also probably best to avoid ham unless it is recognisably derived from a pig, however much spice may have been added to alter its flavour.

(Read more on how spam is infiltrating social networks here)

This is John Blauth’s editorial, which features in every issue of Media Digest. John Blauth is the big boss of Immediate Network, which publishes Media Digest.

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“Before we all sink into a slough of digital dystopian despair, it might be worth considering this: is this a sign of the strength, not weakness, of revelatory journalism in the digital age?”


Charlie Beckett, director of POLIS at the London School of Economics, reacts to news that the UK government forced the Guardian into destroying hard drives that contained information leaked by Edward Snowden.


(Source: POLIS)

 

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