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Internet plagues

MBJ Editorial

Spam and Internet fraud have been described as “the twin plagues of the information age.”

Few among us would disagree with this assertion.

Unsolicited e-mail messages hawking everything from low mortgage rates to pornography clog inboxes on an hourly basis. The costs in wasted time and productivity are staggering and growing. Toss in the troubling aspects of online fraud — dubious medical treatments, Ponzi schemes, identity theft or that Nigerian (now South African) bank money deal floating around the Web – and you end up with a serious situation for businesses, especially those using e-mail for legitimate marketing.

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission joined a number of state law enforcement agencies and four Canadian counterparts in an effort — the Netforce initiative — to shut down fraud sites and spammers.

“Illegal Internet schemes and deceptive spam don’t stop at state lines or international borders,” said J. Howard Beales III, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC and its law enforcement partners are sending a signal to scammers: We’re out there surfing the Net, reading our spam and working together to stop Internet scams.”

Technology has given us wonderful tools for doing business, but along with it, plenty of new problems. We hope that this new effort to stamp out abuse online will do just that, because if nothing is done to eliminate high-tech scams and spam, we’ll never be able to experience completely the wondrous benefits the Information Age offers.

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