Friday, October 12, 2007

SPAM spam spam spam.....

Alex Jadad and Peter Gernburd of the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation in Toronto, Canada, have recently published a unique study titled Will Spam Overwhelm Our Defenses? Evaluating Offerings for Drugs and Natural Health Products. They found that 32% of the spam we receive is health related, usually associated with products for erectile dysfunction, killing pain and anti-obesity.

Armed with a low-limit VISA card, a post office box and, I suspect, a healthy sense of mischief, the researchers went in search of online health products.

The paper includes the following summary points:
  • Spam, or unsolicited e-mail received from an unknown sender, now accounts for the largest proportion of all messages delivered online.
  • Little is known about health-related spam and the spammers behind it.
  • This study shows that it is possible to purchase products purported to be prescription drugs and controlled substances, across traditional national and legal boundaries, with one-third of our attempts to do so being successful.
  • Buyers should be fully aware that it may not be possible for them to hold spammers accountable for any claims made in their messages, or to get protection from illegal activities resulting from disclosure of personal or financial information to spammers.
  • Spammers are challenging our traditional regulatory, licensing, and law enforcement frameworks, and even threatening their relevance.
For a summary of the study and comments from the researchers, check out the Globe and Mail article titled No prescription, no problem.

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