A study from US analyst, Pew Internet, indicates that people are being put off email by the flood of spam mail. The deluge of junk sent to inboxes every day makes people unenthusiastic about checking their own mail, and concerned that legitimate emails they have sent will be prevented from arriving by spam filters.

Deborah Fellows, author of the report, Spam: How it is hurting email and degrading life on the internet, says: "Internet users report that they trust email less and some even use email less because of spam."

The report's figures show that as many as 25 percent of email users say that spam has cut their overall use of email, with 60 percent of these users saying it has reduced their use of email significantly.

This falls in line with PC Advisor's own findings. In a recent poll, over half of our readers (52.6 percent) said that junk messages account for 75 percent of their email, while 74 percent thought that even a £5,000 fine isn't sufficient punishment for spammers.

The report reveals that not only are users put off email by the rising tide of spam, they are also concerned by its content. Around 80 percent of respondents were concerned by its dishonest, deceptive, obscene or offensive content. This should come as no surprise as spammers get nasty in their attempts to part us from our cash.

PC Advisor's own offices were recently targeted by a particularly unpleasant scam mail. This message demanded we send out our credit card details and claimed we were either child pornography webmasters or dealing with dirty money that required laundering.

There have been some moves on the part of the UK government to stop spam. As of 11 December businesses will be liable for a £5,000 fine if they send out unsolicited mail, and recipients must opt-in to receive commercial emails, that is they must request them.

But this is of little use if the US doesn't follow suit, and currently the States operates an opt-out system, by which the onus is on individuals to stop junk messages. Fellows concludes her report by calling for "well-crafted, airtight laws and regulations [against spam] that are enforceable", so perhaps America will call time on spam, before it calls time on email.

Related links:
Pew Internet