What is spam?

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Spam is usually email that is sent to people for the purpose of ultimately convincing them to buy something or spend money in some way. It is unsolicited, meaning that the recipient did not request it. Sometimes "spammers" use these messages to gain control of recipients' computers.

The origin of the name "spam" is uncertain. There is a meat product called Spam (here the name was created by combining the words "spiced ham") that many people vilify as cheap and not very tasty (I happen to like it myself).

The British comedy troupe Monty Python also used to perform a skit in which characters interrupted the serious conversation of others by repeating the word "spam" over and over again. It seems fairly likely that this could be the how the term came to be applied to unwanted email.

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This is a pertinent question in view of the rise of the Internet and electronic communications. In a word, Spam is when someone or some group floods the Internet and people's emails with the same message, in order to gain something from them. Sometimes these messages are to sell something or to gain support.  Also often times they are more sinister. They try to get people's personal information and if people give their personal information, there can be identity theft.

The most important point to keep in mind is that these messages are unwanted. The recipients have not signed up for these or even allowed the senders to send them. Therefore, it is a form of invasion of privacy.

There are now many types of Internet filters to can for Spam to limit it.

 

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