Why Content Blocking Does Not Work

8 Reasons Why Content Blocking Does Not Work

  1. Does not actually reduce the flow of junk mail

    Every study, statistic, news article and expert in the last 3 years has clearly stated that the junk email problem is getting worse(and much worse) since the common institution of filters and content blockers at the ISP, network, and user levels.

  2. Junk mail still gets through

    Every week a new, clever piece of spam bypasses filters and hits users inboxes.

  3. Good mail gets blocked

    The other day an email sent to me by a friend was blocked and marked as pornographic. The person who sent the email was somewhat conservative so I was a little confused. After getting the email released I realized why it was flagged as porn. The subject line read “My phone numbers” and the email message contained the phrase “I’ll be having fun with the girls.” The email was from someone who was going on vacation with her infant daughters, there was nothing illicit about the situation. Yet, taken out of context “phone numbers” and “fun with the girls” can give one the wrong impression like a conversation heard on Three’s Company.

    The following are statements made by on-line companies:

    IMPORTANT NOTICE: Some Internet Service Providers may block replies, assuming they are unwanted messages. To ensure that you receive a response to your inquiry, we recommend that you add to your address book. This will also allow you to receive valuable information from Canon such as product updates and special information about Canon products, supplies and accessories.

    Internet Service Providers (ISP) have tightened their definitions of SPAM. As a result, your ISP might categorize an email confirmation from this site as potential spam and filter it into a "Bulk" folder or a predetermined "SPAM" folder you define. If you place an order and do not receive your email confirmation in your Inbox, please check in these areas before contacting customer support.
    They are basically saying "we cannot guarantee that our email will be delivered, you have to make an extra effort to dig it out." Where does it end? Read about The Infinite Monkey Theorem below.

  4. Legitimate Marketing and Corporate Communication Treated as Spam

    Lawful, legitimate companies have a diminished ability to reach potential and current customers. Since it is assumed that all marketing email is illegal junk mail, it is all ignored and deleted. This includes newsletters and catalogues that customers have subscribed to.

  5. Filtering does not stop the crimes behind the email

    This isn't just about the email. There is a world of fraud behind these emails that needs to be addressed aggressively.

  6. Anti-Spam Companies as Censors

    “Viagra” and “Valium” are blocked by most filters. What if I work at a pharmacy and I want to send email about these products? What if I want emails with adult content? What if I send email that contains blocked content but I’m not actually selling anything? There has been quite a bit of debate about censorship in the press, television, radio, music, film, and video games but very little concern about the power given to companies that filter email. Privacy alarms sound over credit card databases and telephone records but we thoughtlessly hand over our email to be filtered. I am not implying that email filtering companies are spying on us or that we should all together stop using filters. However, we should examine our use and dependence on them. ISPs have in fact been sued over this issue. See: Verizon faces lawsuit over email blocking (

  7. Reduces the Value of Email as a Communication Tool

    No links, no HTML, no ppictures, no spread sheets, no compressed files, no documents. All hold potential spam and viruses therefore none can be trusted. Sad as email is a perfect universal communication tool.

  8. Creates an Underground Network for Scam Artists

    While most of us are blocking and deleting junk email, there are those who are exposed to on-line predators and no one is watching. Read about the Pushdown Network below.

The Infinite Monkey Theorem

The word “Viagra” is typically blocked by email filters. As is \/iagra, v|agra, vi4gra, via6ra, viagr@, etc… and you get the picture. Each time the spammers change the spelling of a keyword, the filter programmers add that spelling to their libraries which increases the probability that innocuous content may be flagged as junk. “The Infinite Monkey Theorem” basically states that a monkey could reproduce all the great works in our libraries by punching random keys over a very long period of time. Because of the constant changes made by spammers to bypass filters we may end up with just such a reporduction within a filtering library. Sounds extreme but spammers are now adding random word patterns and excerpts from on-line news stories to their emails. You may have seen junk mail like this:

cowhide it's predispose someirresolvable butpeste onwe've inlarry becancelling orventricle andperky butmaledict oncolorado beannulling thechortle anddrool orparkinson notpillow ,adulthood butliven butbaltimorean maybenefice seekidney bevent inleviticus andeerie orbeast incoequal adescendent !alternate acorinth someroll butargot onforborne somezion it'snascent it'sendothelial ,ribonucleic mayegypt andtriceratops mayattic andcheese notsimilitude

Eventually every word in the dictionary will be suspect content. The only way to get email through is similar to the joke of someone having to strip naked in order to pass through a metal detector. It should not be this way, we don't have to play their game.

The Pushdown Network

Organizations and Personal Email users are blocking/filtering millions of junk emails every day. This is to the advantage of spammers as it allows them to target the most vulnerable users who do not have filtering software or technical savvy. Beneath the protected networks is a wide-open "pushdown" network full of potential victims waiting to be scammed. It's called "pushdown" because we have created it by pushing down the junk by blocking, filtering, and deleting it. This is another reason why content blocking alone will not solve the problem. While you and I may be protected, those without protection are allowing their PCs to turn into zombie PCs and bringing infected files onto office networks. These people may end up being victims of fraud or identity theft and this effects all of us.

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