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Spam Celebrates 15th Birthday

Spam. We all hate it, and it’s a word we use without thinking. But yesterday 15 years to the day since it was first used, and the person behind it is believed to be Joel Furr, who was a Usenetadministrator.   But he feels no real pride in creating the term, which was used for bulk postings to discussion boards.   "I prefer commiseration," he told BBC News. "But even today there are many discussion groups that are unusable because of the amount of spamming."   It wasn’t long before spam –and the name was lifted from the Monty Python sketch – came to refer to bulk e-mails, which is the way it’s used today. But the first spam e-mail occurred long before the term, in 1978,in fact. Then a salesman for a computer firm sent a mail to every user of the fledgling Arpanet, inviting them to see his company’s new products. He was chastised for breaking appropriate usepolicy.   These days, with botnets and innovations, spam has become more than an annoyance, it’s turned into a threat. As Furr ruminated,   “In recorded human history ascommuncation barriers drop and as communication becomes easier civilisation progresses. We have this awesome tool to make it possible for people in any part of the planet to exchange ideas with oneanother and yet people are going out of their way to not use it because of the spammers, because of the jerks. It’s holding back innovation."

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