More SPAM Messages Could Be Canned in 2004

DECEMBER 29, 2003 -- Posted at 11:00pm

JONESBORO, AR - By the end of 2004, some experts estimate that 9 out of 10 messages in your e-mail in-box will be SPAM; the nickname given to the mass e-mails that arrive in your in-box. Mostly from fake addresses, which makes it hard to track down senders.

"It's in some cases rendered in-boxes useless for a lot of our customers," said K. Rex Mayfield, of Ritter Communications providers of Ritternet -- an internet company. "I'm sure it's quadrupled in the last year, year and a half."

For more than two years, Ritternet customers have had the option of selecting a filtering tool.

"Well it was customer driven. No doubt about it," explained Mayfield.

Not only is unwanted e-mail annoying to consumers, it's expensive for businesses. Before you download SPAM to your machine, it has to be stored somewhere. Ritternet managers are often enlarging hard drive space in a satellite data storage room in order to hold it all.

"It has an impact on all the hardware; our network connections," added K. Rex Mayfield.

A study released in July of this year shows that cleaning out junk e-mail carries a price tag of $874 per employee per year for companies. Relief may be here soon in the form of the "Can-SPAM Act of 2003". The law authorizes the Federal Trade Commission to set up a list of e-mail addresses similar to its 'do not call' telephone list. The FTC and state attorney generals are supposed to enforce the guidelines. Civil and criminal penalties could be filed against spam senders including a SPAM year prison sentence.

Mayfield commented about the new law, "I'm not sure if the legislation is going to be enforced like it needs to be enforced, and I'm really not sure what value it is."

The act should go into effect on January 1, 2004.