The Price of...

20 years ago, we thought that we could kill spam emails by banning and filtering them. Companies thrived on providing anti-spam filters and blocks, but the spammers were far more cleverer and got around those filters.

Laws were passed, people sent to jail or sued for millions of dollars, and the spam never stopped.

It seemed that we’d be saddled with spam forever, changing email accounts like one changed clothes, when the solution was obvious.

Spammers did what they did for that one person out of a hundred who responded and bought whatever the spammer was selling.

The solution? Make spam emails unprofitable. But to do that, one had to give up your Internet privacy.

It took several tries before the public realized that anonymized databases of information on their likes and dislikes, the sites they visited, the items they bought, would make spamcasting unprofitable. Instead, retailers sent 10 emails to people who matched a profile. People who’d actually buy the product. And all it cost was one’s privacy.

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