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Trends, Spam, Privacy and Regulation


More Social Networking Means More Email

The popularity of social networks among people has only resulted in the increase of email usage.

There's a general belief that social networks have gradually changed the way people communicate. If this were the case, social networks would probably reduce email usage. However, according to the preliminary data collected by Nielsen, the popularity of social networks has resulted in increased email usage. The reason for this increase is that social networks send updates via emails for any user activity or comments made on posts by fellow users.

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Never Share Sensitive Data Over Email

A burst of bogus IRS emails created mayhem across America. This is why Internet and email users need to be more alert and careful.

There's been a sudden increase in short bursts of viral emails all over the Internet, which have exposed email users to the widespread phenomenon of phishing. Some weeks back, an email, which claimed to have been sent by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), started cluttering inboxes across America. The email requested clients to download and fill a form sent by the government to deal with the matter of under-reported income. The form, if downloaded, put the attacker in complete control of the affected PC, who dispatched the form to the victim’s contacts.

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Better Laws To Protect Privacy Required

It’s essential for states to assess how their laws may impact sharing of information on the Internet and the online community in general.

A District Court in the US recently turned down the possible enforcement of a law to restrict the collection of information from minors about their personal health. Attorneys of both parties were of the opinion that the law passed by the Legislature in the previous session could restrict the right to free speech as per the first amendment to the US Constitution.

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Breaking Anti-Spam Laws Doesn’t Pay

In yet another warning to spammers, a serial junk email sender from the Netherlands was made to pay a hefty fine for flouting anti-spam laws.

Telecom regulators in the Netherlands slapped a junk email spammer with a fine of 250,000 Euros. Of the stipulated amount, OPTA ordered the serial spammer, Reinier Schenkhuizen, to pay 150,000 Euros for sending junk emails to people and 100,000 Euros for not providing a way for the recipients to opt-out. OPTA also alleged that Reinier Schenkhuizen was a ‘persistent spammer’ and sent as many as 21 million junk emails through a mass mailing website called ADVERTERENisGRATIS. The portal is owned by Reinier’s firm, Serinco Benelux.

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Online Security Begins At Individual Level

The increase in hijacking of email accounts has made it mandatory for users to change passwords frequently and take some more steps to counter this problem.

Software giant, Microsoft, recently highlighted the upsurge in hijacking of email accounts in their own email service, Windows Live Hotmail. The company warned users, through a blog post, that their accounts were getting hijacked by spammers. Users can access hijacked accounts but they have to share them, perhaps unknowingly, with the perpetrators.

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