Scheduled System Maintenance:
Some services will be unavailable Sunday, March 29th through Monday, March 30th. We apologize for the inconvenience.
By Topic

Spam:A Shadow History of the Internet

Cover Image Copyright Year: 2013
Author(s): Brunton, F.
Publisher: MIT Press
Content Type : Books & eBooks
Topics: Communication, Networking & Broadcasting ;  Computing & Processing (Hardware/Software)
  • Print

Abstract

The vast majority of all email sent every day is spam, a variety of idiosyncratically spelled requests to provide account information, invitations to spend money on dubious products, and pleas to send cash overseas. Most of it is caught by filters before ever reaching an in-box. Where does it come from? As Finn Brunton explains in Spam, it is produced and shaped by many different populations around the world: programmers, con artists, bots and their botmasters, pharmaceutical merchants, marketers, identity thieves, crooked bankers and their victims, cops, lawyers, network security professionals, vigilantes, and hackers. Every time we go online, we participate in the system of spam, with choices, refusals, and purchases the consequences of which we may not understand. This is a book about what spam is, how it works, and what it means. Brunton provides a cultural history that stretches from pranks on early computer networks to the construction of a global criminal infrastructure. The history of spam, Brunton shows us, is a shadow history of the Internet itself, with spam emerging as the mirror image of the online communities it targets. Brunton traces spam through three epochs: the 1970s to 1995, and the early, noncommercial computer networks that became the Internet; 1995 to 2003, with the dot-com boom, the rise of spam's entrepreneurs, and the first efforts at regulating spam; and 2003 to the present, with the war of algorithms -- spam versus anti-spam. Spam shows us how technologies, from email to search engines, are transformed by unintended consequences and adaptations, and how online communities develop and invent governance for themselves.

  •   Click to expandTable of Contents

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Frontmatter

      Brunton, F.
      Spam:A Shadow History of the Internet

      Page(s): i - xxiii
      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Half title, Infrastructures Series, Title, Copyright, Dedication, Contents, Acknowledgments, Introduction: The Shadow History Of The Internet View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Ready For Next Message: 1971 – 1994

      Brunton, F.
      Spam:A Shadow History of the Internet

      Page(s): 1 - 62
      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Spam and the Invention of Online Community, The Wizards, The Charivari, For Free Information Via Email View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Make Money Fast: 1995 – 2003

      Brunton, F.
      Spam:A Shadow History of the Internet

      Page(s): 63 - 124
      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Introduction: The First Ten Moves, The Entrepreneurs, Building Antispam, You Know the Situation in Africa: Nigeria and 419, The Art of Misdirection View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      The Victim Cloud: 2003 – 2010

      Brunton, F.
      Spam:A Shadow History of the Internet

      Page(s): 125 - 198
      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Filtering: Scientists and Hackers, Poisoning: The Reinvention of Spam, “New Twist in Affect”: Splogging, Content Farms, and Social Spam, The Botnets View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Conclusion

      Brunton, F.
      Spam:A Shadow History of the Internet

      Page(s): 199 - 204
      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Use of Information Technology Infrastructure…, …To Exploit Existing Aggregations of Human Attention View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Notes

      Brunton, F.
      Spam:A Shadow History of the Internet

      Page(s): 205 - 227
      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Introduction, 1 Ready For Next Message, 2 Make Money Fast, 3 The Victim Cloud, Conclusion View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Bibliography

      Brunton, F.
      Spam:A Shadow History of the Internet

      Page(s): 229 - 254
      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      The vast majority of all email sent every day is spam, a variety of idiosyncratically spelled requests to provide account information, invitations to spend money on dubious products, and pleas to send cash overseas. Most of it is caught by filters before ever reaching an in-box. Where does it come from? As Finn Brunton explains in Spam, it is produced and shaped by many different populations around the world: programmers, con artists, bots and their botmasters, pharmaceutical merchants, marketers, identity thieves, crooked bankers and their victims, cops, lawyers, network security professionals, vigilantes, and hackers. Every time we go online, we participate in the system of spam, with choices, refusals, and purchases the consequences of which we may not understand. This is a book about what spam is, how it works, and what it means. Brunton provides a cultural history that stretches from pranks on early computer networks to the construction of a global criminal infrastructure. The history of spam, Brunton shows us, is a shadow history of the Internet itself, with spam emerging as the mirror image of the online communities it targets. Brunton traces spam through three epochs: the 1970s to 1995, and the early, noncommercial computer networks that became the Internet; 1995 to 2003, with the dot-com boom, the rise of spam's entrepreneurs, and the first efforts at regulating spam; and 2003 to the present, with the war of algorithms -- spam versus anti-spam. Spam shows us how technologies, from email to search engines, are transformed by unintended consequences and adaptations, and how online communities develop and invent governance for themselves. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Index

      Brunton, F.
      Spam:A Shadow History of the Internet

      Page(s): 255 - 270
      Copyright Year: 2013

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      The vast majority of all email sent every day is spam, a variety of idiosyncratically spelled requests to provide account information, invitations to spend money on dubious products, and pleas to send cash overseas. Most of it is caught by filters before ever reaching an in-box. Where does it come from? As Finn Brunton explains in Spam, it is produced and shaped by many different populations around the world: programmers, con artists, bots and their botmasters, pharmaceutical merchants, marketers, identity thieves, crooked bankers and their victims, cops, lawyers, network security professionals, vigilantes, and hackers. Every time we go online, we participate in the system of spam, with choices, refusals, and purchases the consequences of which we may not understand. This is a book about what spam is, how it works, and what it means. Brunton provides a cultural history that stretches from pranks on early computer networks to the construction of a global criminal infrastructure. The history of spam, Brunton shows us, is a shadow history of the Internet itself, with spam emerging as the mirror image of the online communities it targets. Brunton traces spam through three epochs: the 1970s to 1995, and the early, noncommercial computer networks that became the Internet; 1995 to 2003, with the dot-com boom, the rise of spam's entrepreneurs, and the first efforts at regulating spam; and 2003 to the present, with the war of algorithms -- spam versus anti-spam. Spam shows us how technologies, from email to search engines, are transformed by unintended consequences and adaptations, and how online communities develop and invent governance for themselves. View full abstract»