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Spam Isn't Green

| 15 Apr 2009 19:00
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According to net security firm McAfee, spam isn't just a nuisance, it's destroying the planet.

I doubt that anyone will be rushing to defend mass spamming, but looking at the survey released, it's quite horrifying how much damage the inbox-choking requests actually perform.

If we're looking at electrical use alone, the computer processor time used to deliver all those Viagra adverts clocks up at nearly the same as 2,400,000 US homes a year.

Carbon Footprint of Spam, released today, is a report based on a survey by climate-change consultant ICF International. It estimates that a total of 62 trillion spam emails were sent during 2008.

According to the report, the carbon spam-print is 0.3 grams of CO2 for every message, and almost half the energy wasted is from clicking the email and then deleting it. If it's just spam-filtered, then you (indirectly) only use up 16% of that energy.

If everyone had perfect spam filters, then the resultant saving could be worth the same as taking 2.3 million cars off the road each year. And it's not just planet saving, but profit saving as well: Up to one fifth of a business' energy demands, and thus energy bills, would be saved by this method.

However, as we're all aware, the perfect spam filter doesn't, and probably can't, exist and it does make the assumption that that energy wouldn't be flowing into people playing Genre Wars instead.

Even if you're spam-free, you're probably still leaving a sizeable carbon footprint: An earlier survey said that two Google searches was equivalent, in energy consumption, to boiling a kettle. Given the choice, I'll have mine black with no sugar thanks.

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