TUMBY BAY – When I check my emails in the morning about three-quarters of them are immediately despatched to the trash folder to join all the second and third offenders already there.
The volume of junk and scam emails I receive these days is such I’ve given up trying to unsubscribe them. (Those considerate enough to allow that passing pleasure.)
Also, in many cases, unsubscribing doesn’t work and the emails keep coming.
And, in other cases, trying to unsubscribe can be downright dangerous because the scammers have planted nasty trojans in the link.
So nowadays I just shovel them all into the trash folder and empty it.
Some of the cruder scams can be quite amusing with their outrageous claims and grammatical and spelling errors.
The more sophisticated attempts have to be admired for their ingenuity in reproducing legitimate government and business letterheads and layouts.
It’s only when you more closely scrutinise an email offering a refund from the Australian Taxation Office that you nail the scam. Since when did the ATO have a gmail address?
Amusing as they might be, however, I’m never tempted to follow the links or open the files they offer.
So far I’ve avoided disaster (touch wood) but what really amazes me is the number of scammers who are out there.
After all, scamming is not only dishonest and criminal (in Australia it is fraud) but deeply immoral.
It doesn’t just try to scam people like me, it targets the vulnerable - the elderly, the uneducated, the very ill, children….
The internet – once considered an unblemished gift to humanity – was soon exploited by ne’er do wells and criminals who were enabled to thrive and multiply.
The internet, and the social media it eventually hatched, opened previously unforeseen opportunities for whackos, extremists, conspiracy theorists, an American president….
But, for those maggots with only criminal intent, it has been a godsend and a source of riches.
Which leads me to ponder whether the internet is a true mirror of our society.
If it is, the mirror yields back a disturbing image. Much more disturbing than the worst of the banality that is television.
I was compelled to ask whether this cesspool existed, largely unseen, before the internet’s arrival.
Or whether the internet gave birth to a new demon, not present before its inception.
Did the bloke in the pub who tried to sell you a fake Omega watch simply move to the new medium, or did the internet spawn a whole new criminal class that did not previously exist?
I suspect the evil was always there but the internet gave it jet propulsion.
And I also believe that changes in our society made a major contribution.
In particular I suspect that the age of greed that developed out of late stage capitalism and neo-liberalism has legitimised certain types of behaviour we once might have viewed as immoral and criminal.
There is an interesting corollary that seems to support this view.
Capitalism is built upon the exploitation of the poor by the wealthy.
Neo-liberalism, which capitalism procreated in the late 20th century and accelerated in the 21st, does the same with fewer apologies.
Criminalism is also largely built upon the exploitation of the poor.
Except for Robin Hood, who stole from the rich to give to the poor….
No, the character of Robin Hood was a cruel myth invented in the 13th or 14th century.
Probably by a wildly naïve optimist.
There are no good criminals just as there are no good capitalists. A good criminal or a good capitalist is an oxymoron.
Is there a good internet, or is that also an oxymoron?
It wasn’t so long ago we assumed that most people were good and kind.
Nowadays we can’t be sure. Nowadays it’s wildly naïve to trust everyone.
In my eyes, that’s a terrible indictment of society.