Friday, June 21, 2013

Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet [Excerpt, Part 3]

Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet [Excerpt, Part 3]:
If the Internet survives a nuclear conflagration, messages exchanged to check on the survival of friends and relatives will probably intersperse with spam missives as soon as power returns to servers once the shock waves subside. The infinite variety and persistence of junk content makes it the equivalent of an electronic microbial population that reproduces at an exponential rate. Witness the mass production of content farms--purveying tips on the best way to wear sweater vests along with reviews of deodorant containers--a flood of inanely irrelevant human-penned word dumps that blur the indistinct borderline between spam and actual content. The 19th-century satanic mill quality of the content farms contrasts with the insensate machines that rid spamming of the human element. Botnets, it can be argued, are the ultimate spam--machines that take what they want (less than a nickel for a compromised computer) rather than asking whether you want to buy undesired goods. Follow all this in our third installment of a chapter from Finn Brunton’s remarkable spam opus.