Spam gets political

It isn't always about porn and Viagra, you know
Written by Will Sturgeon, Contributor on

Reading like a beautiful dream for anti-Bush campaigners such as Michael Moore, an email is spreading around the world appearing to be a confession from the man himself about all his wrongdoing while in office.

The sender, 'George W Bush' admits to drink-driving offences, draft-dodging, bankrupting companies and state and national treasuries, political corruption, war crimes, breach of the Geneva Convention, his unpopularity outside the US, a failed 'war on terror' and two unjustified wars in the Middle East.

But of course this isn't really the controversial US President in confessional mood, it's just the latest salvo in a political contest that has increasingly utilised the scatter-gun campaign potential of spam.

The email purporting to be from Bush has no call to arms, no links to click, no products to sell and appears to be motivated by nothing more than a desire to remove the current incumbent from the White House.

But other spammers are well aware of the power the presidential election affords them and are abusing supporters' willingness to back their man with a number of cleverly crafted scams.

The latest politically themed email, which boasts a fairly sophisticated design and appears to be from a legitimate campaign organisation, encourages supporters of either candidate to pledge their allegiance by dialling a phone number, promising to aggregate the phone stats and share them with the candidates' respective teams.

However, the number is a premium rate number and the email originates from the Czech Republic, far away from any 'swing States', according to John Cheney, chief executive of BlackSpider Technologies. Voters are warned the call will cost $1.99 but the warning is accompanied with the message that it is a "small price to pay for democracy".

Given the email's face value legitimacy and the vehemently polarised support for the two candidates, it is likely a great many recipients may be tricked into calling the number.

BlackSpider claims around 250,000 of the emails are being sent each day.

BlackSpider's Cheney warned it is a sign of things to come and a future general election in the UK will likely give rise to a wealth of Labour, Liberal, UKIP and Conservative themed spam emails.

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