Abusive Advertising on the Internet through Spam: Problems and Solutions*
Phaedon John Kozyris
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1. Introduction: Technology and the Advent of the Internet: Blessings but Also the Curse of
The possibilities of telecommunication, including person-to-person contacts, and the
gathering of information, have exploded exponentially through the Internet and this is
continuing at an astronomical pace at a point of no return. As a result, and due to the simple
but crucial fact that most of this can be conducted at minimum cost, the life and work of
billions of people have been substantially affected for better or worse.
On the negative side:
First, electronic messaging has greatly simplifi ed and amplifi ed the opportunities of
wrongdoers to cause harm through fraud, organized crime, pornography and undue infl uence.
Second, the virtually cost-free access to e-mail has enabled the marketers to fl ood the
channels of the Internet at an accelerating pace with “SPAM”, i.e. unsolicited commercial
e-mail messages sent automatically and in bulk to vast numbers of Internet users. It is
estimated that, at present, close to an incredible 80% of all e-mail worldwide constitutes
SPAM and the percentage is growing. Mobile phones are now becoming increasingly
vulnerable to it and there is no end in sight.
Even innocent-content SPAM causes signifi cant harm by inundating the channels of the
Internet with unwanted garbage to the detriment of ordinary users but also of legitimate
* Session IIIB2. National reports received from: Denmark, K. Frost & H. Udsen; Germany, Th. Hoeren;
Greece, R. Giovannopoulos; Italy, F. Giardini; Pola