The Next Pandemic: Have You Been Immunized Yet?

    Written by John Hendry

    I barely notice spam these days. I get about 4 gazillion (special technical term) spam emails daily sent to me directly (I 'm sure my parents thought it a good idea to call me John, but they didn't think it through) along with the extra distribution groups I am on, such as JOBS@ and INFO@.

    Almost every single one of these items is filtered by spam software. Those that aren't tend to be funneled into my localized junk mail checker and are promptly thrown away.

    That is, until recently. A more sinister strain is in play now and even though it's been around for years it hasn't been at the same pandemic levels - at least not to me. I have dubbed this the NFCNFW variant.

    It stands for No-Car-No-Warranty (you might be able to guess the Latin words left out of the English translation).

    Instead of using email as its transport it is using the telephone network to harass its not-yet-never-will-be customer base. They call you with an auto-dialer and when you answer they play a message that you are running out of warranty and try to entice you to buy a new one. Since I did not solicit this call its spam - especially since I don't even have a car. Its just as much spam as the email variety that I also don't need anything offered to me (I don't, I really don't).

    Well just when you think you a doomed to a life of misery answering these calls (or worse listening to the voicemail they leave behind when not answered) a sensible ruling comes down stopping them.


    What, hang on? You mean the ruling was only against a couple of the major players and is currently only an injunction and that any other telespammer might continue calling me? But isn't their rules against this? What about that Do-Not-Call-list. Why can't you stop it? Please stop it...Please :(

    Sigh, the do not call list is not working for me because I have to chase the issues down myself. This is the legal world equivalent of "mail in rebates" - i.e. a very low percent actually mail in. The percentage of people prepared to put real work into documenting and challenging NO-CALL breaches is so small as to be no real concern to the robo-callers. Also, the above injunction would have not be so smoothly implemented if the Warranty people did not happen to call a Senator who had staff and media capabilities. The same story indicates there were 140,000 complaints prior to the Senators - OMG how many calls were made without a complaint.

    So even though there is no proof it works well get yourself immunized now. (The current side effects include no level of success but a level of hope that one day it will work.)

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