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Home > Privacy and Business > Online Privacy > Spam


Spam, or unsolicited commercial e-mail, is an important concern for many users of e-mail and the Internet. Though spam is often referred to as a privacy problem, it has little to do with privacy as that concept is generally understood.

Spam is probably better conceived as an inconvenience and annoyance than as a threat to online privacy. In fact, the most annoying spam randomly sent messages with "spoofed" (faked) return addresses is the electronic equivalent of postal mail addressed to "occupant." It is annoying and wasteful, but it goes out as it does precisely because the sender does not know anything about the recipient.

For all that is bad about spam, there are many ways to defend against it and minimize its effects. Spam probably can not rise to the level of invading privacy.


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[updated 12/29/00]

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