My First Phone Spam

04 Mar 2004|Lee Shupp

I just bought a new mobile phone (a Samsung camera phone) and within 24 hours of activating the phone I received my first phone spam. It was a text message whose content I refuse to acknowledge, and it was infuriating. My personal belief is that there is a special section of hell reserved for spammers, with extra doses of fire and brimstone.

I hope that phone spam is not the next new trend, but I suspect that it will be, and mobile phones are woefully unprepared to deal with it. My electronic moat covers most of the rest of my communications, but not my cell phone, at least not yet. This will certainly provide the impetus for me to start looking.

It’s interesting how new technologies can evolve from open, innocent media to electronic defense systems. The answering machine is an example. Most people first bought answering machines because they were afraid that they would miss an important or interesting incoming call, and they wanted to know who called and why. Now the answering machine is an electronic moat around the home, used as a screening device to protect us from marketing swindles and high maintanance friends.

The same thing has happened with email. Email in it’s early days was wonderful; you could email almost anyone and they would actually talk to you. I once emailed Peter Schwartz of GBN to ask him what qualities he considered essential for a good futurist, and he actually spent 15 minutes on the phone with me giving me his criteria. Those opportunities are very rare now. With more than 55% of email currently being spam, email has also turned into a defense system, screening out hucksters and idiots so that we can get to the business at hand.

It’s hard for me to see the logic or fairness of paying for phone service or an email account so that strangers can harass me constantly. I hope the princes of darkness are building a really big and scary special cell down below 😉

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