Note: April 4th 2017 – The problems outlined in this post become even more of an issue since the introduction of more top level domains such as .audio, .blog, .biz. Also, rather depressingly, 10 years after since I wrote the original article and America is still the #1 source of spam according to Spamhaus.
Lifehacker had what I can only call a xenophobic post yesterday: Stop spam from foreign countries.
The short post deals with a method of eliminating spam from Outlook by using top-level domain blocking.
It’s known that most spam (particularly malware such as keyloggers) originates overseas (Estonia, Moldavia, China, Poland, etc.) By blocking email from most of the undeveloped world, I’ve successfully reduced spam by 95 percent in the past year. In Outlook, click Actions > Junk E-Mail > Junk E-Mail Options. Click the International tab, then the Blocked Top-Level Domain List button. Now select the countries you wish to block.
Let’s just look at the two major problems with this approach quickly.
The first major problem is that most people who use this method (Lifehacker readership) will most likely block all domains except “.com” and “.us” and any other us centric domains and automatically be treating any legitimate emails from other top-level domains you block as spam.
So, if you live in the U.S., use top-level domain blocking and subscribe to either to either the comments or the daily digest of this blog by email then you won’t be receiving the information you’ve subscribed to.
You’ll be automatically blocking all email from this blog and any personal emails from me as this site is on a “.dk” (Denmark) domain.
The next major problem with this approach is that it’s simply bullshit to assume that the majority of spam originates outside the US.
According to Sophos, the United States is the number one, NUMERO UNO, #1, spam relaying country in the world.
Sophos aren’t the only ones to come to this conclusion.
Spamhaus, have a much more up to date count of which countries are the worst spam offenders. Once again the U.S. is out in front.
It really bugs me that a lot of people who live in the U.S. act like the internet only exists in the U.S. and for U.S. centric activities.
There are WAY more people online in the rest of the world that there are in the U.S.
Let’s look at language. According to Internet World Stats there are approximately 1,114,274,426 internet users and only 29.5% of them use English online.
Don’t delude yourself into thinking that the 29.5% represents the Americans online either. You have to think about all the other English speaking countries out there.
Wikipedia has a list of 74 countries which have English as an official language. It also lists their respective populations.
It might surprise to realize that the US is only second on the list in terms of population (300,007,997) behind India which has a population of 1,103,600,000.
Obviously, not every one of the 2,174,387,694 people in these 74 countries speaks English even though it’s an official language.
But the same is true of the U.S.
Using the Wikipedia numbers we can see that the United States only makes up 13.79% of the English-speaking world.
Now, the United States may be the biggest internet using country in the world with 69.9% penetration, but it still only accounts for 18.9% of the worlds total internet users (assuming everybody with internet access actually uses the internet).
China accounts for 12.3% of world internet users but only has 10.4% penetration. What will the internet be like when China attains the same percentage penetration as the U.S?
Or how about India which has over 800 million more people than the US does and only 3.5% penetration. When India reaches similar levels of penetration it will account for over 789 million internet users.
You see, the U.S is just a small part of the internet and as other countries catch up in terms of internet penetration the U.S. centric nature of the web will disappear.
U.S internet users need to come to terms with this, and quickly. The internet does not exist just for the U.S. and it has grown far beyond its humble beginnings to become something that no country or nation can or should claim as theirs.
For the U.S. users who can’t accept this and who believe that following the advice in the Lifehacker post will be productive, I propose that we build a separate internet just for you.
We should build an an internet just for the xenophobic section of U.S. internet users so they can be safe in their delusional paranoia and self-imposed exile from the rest of the world.
You can even call it AmericaNet if it makes you feel more patriotic and safe!
To the rest of the U.S. internet users that are smart enough to realize that the internet does not exist for U.S. interests alone and who like to get an outside opinion, you’re more than welcome to hang out with the rest of us on the plain old internet.