Efforts Continue to End Junk E-Mail

Bill Yerazunis wants to rid the world of spam. Not the spam that comes in a can but rather the constant stream of unsolicited e-mail messages. Viagra pills, mortgage refinancing, home based business opportunities, vitamin supplements, remedies to enhance body parts, and "as seen on TV" offers are flooding e-mail accounts worldwide.

In the U.S., spam now accounts for 15 to 20 percent of inbound messages on corporate e-mail accounts, according to San Francisco-based Ferris Research. The research firm estimates that lost productivity due to spam will cost U.S. businesses over $10 billion in 2003.

On January 17, nearly 600 spam-haters gathered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the first-ever Spam Conference. One of the presenters at the conference was Yerazunis, a research scientist at Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories.

Yerazunis has created the CRM114, short for Controllable Regex Mutilator, which he says can reach 99 percent accuracy in eliminating spam. The CRM114 becomes a better filtering device over time as it learns to look for patterns in incoming messages. But the mutilator is still in experimental stages and can only run on certain operating systems.

Developing a reliable filter is only one way to combat junk mail, however. Lawmaking is another. Three consumer groups have created the "Ban the Spam" campaign, calling on Congress to pass anti-spam legislation.

The Telecommunications Research & Action Center (TRAC), based in Washington, D.C., along with the National Consumers League and Consumer Action, filed a 14-page petition with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asking that junk mail be considered a deceptive and unfair trade practice that harms consumers. The three organizations contend that sending junk mail violates trade regulation rules and should be subject to a fine.

Examples of spam are "Porn", "Viagra" "Pharmacy Deals" "Sex Enhancement Offers", "Natural Supplements", "Weight Loss Programs", "Life Insurance" etc.

Just so you don't feel too bad, on any given day, the staff of AccountingWEB receive well over 100 SPAM E-mails. Believe it or not!

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