Email, Spam, and an Endless Supply of Cialis

Lately, I’ve noticed that my email has become riddled with spam. A few years back, I would get an occasional email from a new life insurance company, or from an automaker looking to promote a new car; but more recently, I have been receiving offers to help my finances, to buy a better house, or to meet hot singles living in my city. Where are those companies getting my information? Is the Internet as safe as we all believe?

Things weren’t always this way. A few years ago, my trusty Hotmail account would safely protect me from such spam, but now, apparently, I am safe to open and order anything that comes into my in-box. Of course, we all know this isn’t true. Most of those companies are bogus, and seriously, would you really trust buying your meds from a company who makes you offers through spam? I for one would not.

This gets even scarier, as just a few days ago, I received spam offering me diabetic medications at a fraction of the cost that I am paying now. How did this company know I was a diabetic? Are they now spamming my medical records for personal medical  information? This may seem like a paranoid statement, but seriously, how would any internet-based company have knowledge of my medical condition?

Internet sites such as Facebook are continuously asking our permission to install applications that will share our personal data with companies, and yet, we continue to allow this go to on. An example of this is the Farmville application that is available on Facebook and MySpace. The game, with over 72 million users all over the world, first asks it’s new users to agree to submit their personal information to the application before being allowed to play the ‘Free’ game. The application promotes itself as  ‘Free’, but is it really? I think not. We, as consumers of the World Wide Web, or the “Information Superhighway’, have to become more aware of the threats that are involved with this service if we are going to protect our privacy. We are the ones who have to educate ourselves of the threat, because the ‘Spam’ blockers of yesterday are not doing the job.

By the way, I recently had to ditch an email address I have used since 1997,  an address that I have used on job applications,  that I gave out to my friends so that we may stay in touch, and that I have provided to the school that my son attends. I had to get a new email address because each day, I found myself receiving over 170 spam emails. I know that I provided this email address to Facebook, and even though I for one should have known better, I admit that for a short time,  I also used the Farmville application. Hey, they made it look like so much fun!

Hey, we all have to learn, sometimes the hard way!

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