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Volume 7, Issue 3                                    University of Houston

The king is dead ... for now anyway

Zach Lee
Opinion columnist

In a move that will likely be lauded by less-than-savvy Internet users and mothers of sheltered children, the Federal Trade Commission has worked out a deal with Stanford Wallace, also known as the "Spam King," the Associated Press reported Tuesday. Under the agreement, Wallace will stop using his companies, SmartBot.net Inc. and Seismic Entertainment Productions Inc. to infiltrate and overwhelm host computers with ads. After infecting the computers, Wallace offered programs he claimed would fix the problems -- the government says those claims are false. 

Whether or not Wallace's claims are indeed true is of little consequence. The main thing to celebrate is the temporary absence of one of Internet spam's big players. It's not the end of spam, but it's a nice reprieve. 

Programs like AdAware can do a lot to make our computer desktops a little less cluttered, but they can't save us from every annoying e-mail from DirAmazngOfrs@www.tesdet.com. And while any government involvement in policing the Internet is both a little scary and a little hard to enforce, we're taking baby steps here, people. Wallace is one man, but he's a man onto which we can take out all our frustration. Every time a new window popped up with some unrelated advertisement while you were playing a fullscreen game is another reason Wallace should suffer.

As of Tuesday, there is no trial date set, and I say we make him wait. May his stay in the judicial system be as slow as any computer infected with his programs. May he not see a courtroom until my dad's computer can start up without six advertisements popping up.

This is retribution, albeit a small one. This is when Wallace can taste his own medicine, as the saying goes. I'm not an Internet rookie (or by any means an expert), but even I can admit to having gone to some Web site (possibly one containing pornographic pictures or movies) and getting my computer infected. If Wallace does hard time, I'll be happy, but there will always be another evil man waiting to inconvenience us for fun and profit. The only way to end this problem is to shut down the entire Internet, and I don't think we'll be doing that any time soon.

Lee, a columnist for Breaking News, 
can be reached via dccampus@mail.uh.edu
 

Last update:
http://www.stp.uh.edu/bn0405/010505/opinion/oped1.html
 

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