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Items Of INterest
Time For The Courts
By Rowdy Rhodes
October, 2007, 07:59

It's time the justice system in Canada took a hard stance against the spam onslaught.
Canada has become one of the world's havens for spammers, and in this writer's opinion, it's time for our government either to send these yahoos packing or to toss their sorry butts into the courts. As a Canadian myself, I find this intolerable.

Across the world, countries like the United States, Germany, Russia, Japan, and China have implemented strong and even severe measures to stop spammers in their tracks. Jail terms, hefty fines, and other detriments have been legislated by these governments, yet Canada sits back meekly allowing itself to become one of the worst international refuges for these trash masters.

According to Richard Cox, chief information officer for the European-based Spamhaus Project that monitors the outpouring of global spam, Canada is talking the talk but not walking the walk when it comes to prosecuting these slime bags. Industry Canada states that Canada doesn't even appear on the Top Ten List of Countries allowing spam to slip through into our mailboxes; however, Spamhaus ranks us as number eight on their list. Who's to say? Well, me for one. The volume of spam being received through this site has tripled in the past year and continues to rise.

Over one 48-hour period I left the system to collect all the incoming mail. Disregarding our normal flow of queries, requests, link exchanges, ad inquiries, and FAQs, the total number of Canadian spam emails (we can tell by the header's country code) was an enormous 785!

Canada, after two years of political lip service is the only G8 country without any anti-spam legislation in place, and personally, I am ashamed. Why? Not only because it inconveniences millions, but it costs the global economy approximately 40-50 BILLION dollars per year in wasted time and productivity. This tarnishes not only our national reputation, but also that of our legitimate corporations, and it generally jeopardizes public faith in e-commerce.

Now we have been informed that the Canadian federal government, in order to deal with their own levels of spam and junk mail, has taken positive steps to help resolve the by adding more bandwidth to their servers to accommodate it! Unbelievable!

According to Caroline Grondin, spokesperson for Industry Canada, in a recent Toronto Sun interview, "Yes, spam is a problem it congests the Internet and other communications networks, thereby increasing cost to business and consumers."

Hey, darlin'! No kidding!

She tells us that our government will not commit to taking solid steps to combat spammers, such as following global initiatives. However, she added, "At the present time, based on other countries' experience, the government is considering what remains to be done in terms of legislation and enhancing law enforcement."

What's to consider? Nail these fiends! At this juncture in the development and rapid expansion of Internet commerce, online banking, communication, and business technology, it is imperative that our government gets involved, gets tough, and gets motivated in taking out the slime of cyberspace.

Spam is not only a nuisance, it's also dangerous. The ability to copy websites allows spammers to create exact duplicates of legitimate sites and use alternate URLs to collect information from unsuspecting readers. A spokesperson for Symantec Canada estimated that 60% of all email is spam, while international experts record the number at almost 90%. I have to agree with the later based on statistics gathered at this site.

So what can we as writers do to stop the email phishing, harvesting, crime, and junk when even the best of spam filtering and blocking cannot stop it all? In a nutshell, complain loudly and unrelentingly force legislative change. We need to paralyze spammers, stopping them before thinking of breaking the law. Stop them from even considering getting involved in the spamming industry. We also need to establish legislation to shut down operations that release mailing lists or sell harvesting software.

Whether you live in Canada or elsewhere, one thing as a writer that you can do is take a moment of your time (it'll be a lot less time than dealing with junk mail) and send an email to Industry Canada. I'm sure you'll figure out what to say.

Industry Canada Contact Information
Online: info@ic.gc.ca
Telephone: 613-954-5031
Toll-free: 1-800-328-6189 (Canada)
TTY (for hearing-impaired only): 1-866-694-8389 (toll-free)
Fax: 613-954-2340

Or if you want to go after some of the senior officials, visit:
http://www.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/ic1.nsf/en/h_00019e.html

Canada is a beautiful country, with a vast multicultural population, gorgeous natural resources. Born and raised here, I'm darn proud of what we have accomplished and maintain. However, when it comes to cyberspace crime I'm dumbfounded at the head-in-the-sand attitude of our politicians and bureaucrats who are doing next to nothing to resolve the issue of Canada-originated spam. It would be greatly appreciated if you would take the time to send your opinion to the above.

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Rowdy Rhodes is the Site Manager of The Freelance Writing Organization International and General Manager of Inkwell Newswatch (IN). He is also known to freelance an article or two when the fancy strikes him. If you are looking for written content for your website, ezine, or print publication, drop him a line at rowdyrhodes@fwointl.com. He'll get back to you as soon as possible.



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