I am confused (as Americans often say when they are about to be nasty in a very unconfused way – but I really am rather confused) by this BBC report about a scheme to make spammers wish that their parents had been further into birth control than they were, at about the time when they, the spammers, were actually born.
Here is the first paragraph:
A plan to bump up the bandwidth bills of spammers seems to be getting out of control.
But from what I can grasp of the rest of the article, what the BBC calls “getting out of control” is what the rest of use would describe as “working extremely well”.
Earlier this week Lycos Europe released a screensaver that bombards spam websites with data to try to increase the cost of running such sites.
…which seems an odd word to use here. I would have gone with “And”…
…analysis shows that, in some cases, spam websites are being completely overwhelmed by the traffic being directed their way.
As that Sergeant Major (played by Windsor Davies) in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum used to say; “Oh dear. How tragic.”
But monitoring firm Netcraft has analysed response times for three of the sites the screensaver targets and has found that the campaign is being too successful.
What was that? Too successful?
Two of the sites being bombarded by data have been completely knocked offline. One other site has been responding to requests only intermittently as it struggles to cope with the traffic the screensaver is pointing its way.
Too successful. Too successful!!! Sounds like for once the punishment has fitted the crime perfectly.
The campaign has come under fire from some corners of the web.
Many discussion groups have said that it set a dangerous precedent and could incite vigilantism.
“If you do manage to swamp the spammers then you set yourself up for more attacks in return,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at anti-virus firm Sophos.
Which, I suppose, would make this Cluley man a Sophist, twice over. This is like saying that if you use force against a burglar, he might get angry and burgle you even more ferociously in the future. As he might, I suppose. Best roll over and surrender. But I reckon that Cluley does not understand economics. I mean, if you were a spamster, would you make a point of picking a fight with people clever enough to have swamped your entire site?
This corner of the web (the corner that consists of me) is extremely attracted by the whole idea of what Lycos is doing here, and wonders what the downside of it is, if any. This corner of the web is in favour of what other corners of the web call “vigilantism”. To this corner of the web, this all sounds absolutely splendid.
But is this corner of the web missing something? What does this discussion group think?
The only real problem in what Lycos is doing seems, to this corner of the web, to be that the state, in all its various geographical manifestations, is minded to make it illegal. What is that thing that Perry keeps saying?
But so what? Even if this process is declared illegal, something resembling it could still proceed, could it not? If enough people wanted that? No? But at this point I really am rather confused.