Poll: Majority Want to Make Spam Illegal

A majority of users want the government to step in and make spamming illegal, according to a new Harris Interactive survey.

The Harris Poll shows that 80% of online users today find spam `very annoying’. Because of that frustration level, 74% say they favor making spamming illegal. And the poll shows that percentage holds independent of income level, gender and political affiliation.

“A look at these numbers and the rapidly growing anger at mass spamming, with the large majority in favor of banning it, suggests that — if our elected politicians listen to their constituents — spamming may go the way of mass faxing,’’ says a Harris Interactive spokesman in a written statement. “Unsolicited mass faxing was banned. Can mass spamming be far behind?’’

The poll was conducted between November and December of last year, sampling 2,221 adult Internet users.

Certain kinds of spam, according to the survey, anger users more than others. More than 90% of users are angered by pornographic spam; while mortgage and loan-related spam annoys 79%; investments 68%, and real estate 61%.

But all is not bad. The survey shows that there have been some improvements.

The number of people annoyed by how long they have to wait for information to come up on their screen has fallen from 25% to 17% since a previous poll was done in March of 2000. And those who say they are `very annoyed’ by the amount of time it takes to find the Web sites they need have fallen in number from 20% to 10%.

Holding steady though, are the percentage of users who are annoyed by the unreliable or inaccurate information found online — that has stayed at 32% over the past nearly two years.

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