Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet


It all started in 1970’s with noncommercial computer networks that became the internet and then continued to develop during the boom in the 1990’s. Today, the country’s most brilliant computer programmers are trying to fight it.

This hour on Focus, Jack Brighton talks with author Finn Brunton about the rise of internet spam. Interestingly enough, internet spam is called spam because of a Monty Python skit. And, while the skit is hilarious, the unwanted emails and messages from advertisers, marketers, identity thieves, bots, con artists and hackers are not. Today on Focus, we’ll learn about what spam really is, how it works and what it means. As Brunton argues in his new book “Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet,” spam can show us how online communities can develop governance for themselves and how transforming technology can have unintended consequences.