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Spam and Echelon

So, there’s apparently all these nifty CIA or NSA or whichever government departments with a TLA probes around that happily sniff their way through all the traffic they can see, in order to look for Useful Intelligence and Terrorist Threats. Ignoring the politics on these for a minute and the probability that anyone doing anything vaguely naughty would have the sense to bury their naughty letters deep in three layers of crypto, what about Spam?

Taking a browser through my spam bucket (or is that mah spahm bukkit?), quite a number of the spams use scrambled scraped news articles and waffling text, meaning there is a mountain of text in there containing words like “terrorist, bomb, jihad, drugs, steriods, fertilizer, explosives”, and the rest. Not to mention half the spams are trying to sell illegal products anyway, with a recent one offering “coke, coce, koke, cocaine, COCAINE, coca1ne, coca, blow, charlie, candy” at “the best rates on the net”.

All of this spammy noise must really, really impact the usefulness of projects like Echelon. I mean, all the alarm bells go off and your suspected member of the axis of pure bloody minded evil turns out to be a 12 year old MySpace user. Then again, perhaps the counter-terrorist mob could go after MySpace next. Not a bad idea, that.