Monday, 2 April 2012

Who knew? SPAM may have uses

Most email is SPAM. You can tell the SPAM by looking at the content in many cases, but as well all know that is not 100% reliable.

However, if you are grabbing only the communications data, i.e. the "from", "to" and date/time, you cannot tell the SPAM.

So most of the data you collect is bogus. The email addresses are mostly not even real, as sender or recipient, and the apparent associations between people are not real either.

It is hard to see how this data can be useful even just for investigating connections between people, and clear that it cannot be trusted as evidence of anything.

Of course, if you then get some sort of packet snooping systems in place you find that you can be collecting a lot more data.

It would be trivial for someone to make an application that connected (apparently) to a mail server and apparently tried sending emails from lots of email addresses to lots of destinations. The email would not be real. The mail server would not be real. The data would just be the headers to catch the snooping systems.

This would be low levels of upload on a broadband line, constantly, 24 hours a day. It could even stop when you are using the Internet so as not to disrupt real usage.

It would make the data collected even less useful. It would simply poison the database that GCHQ are collecting.

So, who knew, SPAM may have some use after all!


  1. very very very nice idea !
    as you say low levels of continuous sending quickly amounts to huuuuge amounts of data but hardly bites [sic] into usage levels and poisons their databases nicely

    this alone immediately negates the usefulness of monitoring email comms

    Instead of trying to listen into our voice and email chatter they could just listen to THE PEOPLE and simply stop trying to turn us into the BIG BROTHER state they seem to want to

    instead of trying to erode our rights why don't they just try some, oh I don't know? ... good policing? After all that's what's been exampled the headlines recently.

  2. Exactly right. This is why I use, likeminded souls.

  3. Exactly, one good reason why I choose - Like-minded souls where it matters.