"Are you talkin' to me?"
FTLComm - Tisdale - Friday, November 16, 2007

It is likely that the first piece of mail sent was some form of advertisement, we have always had to deal with junk mail, bill boards and commercials on radio and television. In all cases they are an annoyance, but they only cost us a little of our time and we actually do not have to lay out money up front for it to happen. Well there is one exception and that is commercials on cable television, where you are paying for the service and in turn you are bombarded with visual spam.

The use of the Internet heralded the liberation of person to person communication and during its first years there was only a little spam. Now, junk e-mail has risen to the point that it is over taxing the network system and a major burden on business. Up until two weeks ago I was getting about a thousand pieces of junk e-mail a day. The reason of course is this web site has my e-mail address on each and every page, so its just going to happen. Our mail server got fitted with some new spam filters two weeks ago and that volume of junk dropped to about fifty a day and that is very easy to deal with.

However, the issue of having to deal with spam, in the form of junk e-mail has made me particularly sensitive to the whole process of someone out there, thinking its okay to interfere in my life and call me up on the telephone. Up until last year, our telephone was a commercial business phone and we paid extra money to be part of the business world, but now our phone is a private family telephone, it is not for business purposes.

About twice a month I was getting those wonderful "congratulations you have won a free Florida vacation" telephone calls, which are pure confidence larceny, the intent by someone to steal from the unsuspecting telephone answerer. This scam is petering out fortunately and we are getting fewer calls of that type, but at the same time, the main stream businesses seem to have stepped up to their computers and launched campaigns over the telephone. Zeller, Scotia Bank, the Royal Bank all have ongoing harassment programmes in play.

These poor impoverished companies call in the evening, usually when your favourite television programme is coming on or just ending and they are trying to sell something. You will notice that their businesses only are open in business hours, but your home phone seems fair game any time they want. After three calls from Scotia Bank I went down and told them to stop it and still got one more call. I then went to the Royal and told them I did not want to have any phone calls from them. The interesting thing is that the mainline banks don't even have telephones accessible in their branches anymore, so now they think its fine to call me at home.

The real klinker was on Wednesday night at 7:20 when a nice voice says that she is with SaskTel and could she talk to me about our telephone service. Now this is really rich. The telephone company itself is engaging in junk phone calls. I guess you have figured out by now that I was rude to the nice voice on the phone.

On Thursday I got another dandy. I had been listening to the CBC show the Current as they discussed how being unable to speak English at Vancouver International got a poor Polish guy electrocuted by the RCMP in a country which does not have capital punishment, well at not formally, as it seems the RCMP have reintroduced it as punishment for being Polish. I get a call from a guy who does not identify himself, but says he is with the Saskatchewan Policeman's association and he asks me for my name. To which I laughed and said one word, "No!" He hung up.

Look folks you pay for your telephone service and you have it to serve you, not to be a conduit for advertising and big corporations attempting to get your money. To put an end to telephone junk calls, telephone spam, all we need to do is shut it down. Hang up, if its from a business you regularly deal with, go in and give them hell. The failure of telephone spam will put an end to it, if we all say no, this is a private phone and we do not do other people's business on it, they will quit.

Timothy W. Shire

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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
Faster Than Light Communication
Box 1776, Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada, S0E 1T0
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