Oh No! First SPAM, now SPIM!

As if SPAM weren't bad enough, a new plague is spreading in the world of instant messaging: SPIM -- unsolicited commercial instant messages.  About a third of all adults in the US who use IM -- 17 million Americans -- say they've gotten SPIM during their real-time online conversations, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Yes, now you get instant messages about mortgages, pharmaceuticals and free cruises via IM.  IM is hugely popular with kids, and now corporations have been turning to instant messaging as a way to avoid spam.  Radicati Group Inc., a technology research company in Palo Alto, CA, predicts instant messaging will grow 85 percent through 2008, spurred mainly by rising corporate use.

In regular emails, SPAM makes up a repellent 75 to 85 percent of all messages.  This is a hideous, sickening statistic.  But SPIM is worse, because it can transmit viruses, worms and spyware.  How would you like to have a virus on your Blackberry?  As if couldn't get worse, there are filters for SPAM, but not for SPIM.  SPIM will flood you IM messages lists, bog down your cell phone and compromise your security.

This month, the police arrested an 18-year-old jerk in New York for sending more than a million pieces of SPIM to members of myspace.com.  Astonishingly, he was charged with violating the federal Can-Spam act, one of the most ineffective laws ever enacted.  This dorkwad runs a business that pays spammers to send spam about porn sties.  He tried to blackmail myspace.com by threatening to post the computer code for sending SPIM on a public Web site.  Note to the New York Authorities: please find a cold, dark, bug-infested hole for this guy's cell.

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