Skip to main content
Hotmail – Not Quite The Big Bang

Corporate Responsibility today, means rather more than promising not to ‘cook the books’ or the President standing in front of a large sign that promises corporate America’s future good behaviour. There’s a new ethical dimension to consider which may be just as important as Teflon accounting.

One hundred and sixty four. That was the total number of junk emails waiting for me in my Hotmail inbox on my return from sunny Spain. Roughly ten pieces of junk a day for each day I was away on holiday and it doesn’t include the thirty or so items of Spam which found a temporary home in my conventional office inbox.

Nothing remarkable of course. Only the normal bag of rubbish, ‘Come Visit the Bang Bus’ or “Best Buy Epson Ink Cartridges for Office or Home”. Mind you, the challenge of deleting twelve consecutive “Sex Pics of the Day” with the preview pane open, is rather more than I expected or even deserve at my age.

Perhaps the only solution is to block all email from any domain or address that one doesn’t know. At least this would reduce the load on my in-box, as filters and especially Hotmail’s own ‘Spam Trap’, are even less effective than channel tunnel security.

So why didn’t I use my Hotmail account while I was abroad? Cost. I’m using my mobile phone/Compaq IPAQ combination with GPRS enabled. Downloading lurid emails and loan offers, one hundred and sixty-four of them could prove very expensive over a wireless connection, so better to delete the lot, en masse, over the office Ethernet.

What surprises me is the heavy silence from Microsoft. Following earlier comments on the Spam problem, I did ask the company for some kind of comment. After all, isn’t Microsoft at least morally accountable to its customers? Hotmail might be a free service – well almost – used by millions of people across the world and yet the company, aware that the volume of Spam and inappropriate content is running out of control, chooses to remain silent over the problem, other than offering a feeble filtering option which collapses within the month.

So, why no official comment? Off the record, people will admit that Hotmail is a complete mess that presents a convenient and high profile conduit. One that introduces many of the worst examples of content-driven corruption to a global audience. While I’m not suggesting that Microsoft acts as a censor, I am suggesting that the company sets an example by offering some kind of filtering which can be enabled as an option, to screen out the daily diet of Viagra and teenage webcam offers.
Hotmail is simply an example. The tip of a much larger problem that confronts a world intent on abusing the Internet to its still yet unexplored limits.

So, does corporate responsibility stretch to include an ethical dimension? One associated perhaps with the provision of an on-line service or is the concept of corporate ethics as dated and as laughable as the principle of honesty in politics?


Popular posts from this blog

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…

The Big Steal

I’m not here to predict the future;” quipped the novelist, Ray Bradbury. “I’m here to prevent it.” And the future looks much like one where giant corporations who hold the most data, the fastest servers, and the greatest processing power will drive all economic growth into the second half of the century.

We live in an unprecedented time. This in the sense that nobody knows what the world will look like in twenty years; one where making confident forecasts in the face of new technologies becomes a real challenge. Before this decade is over, business leaders will face regular and complex decisions about protecting their critical information and systems as more of the existing solutions they have relied upon are exposed as inadequate.

The few real certainties we have available surround the uninterrupted march of Moore’s Law - the notion that the number of transistors in the top-of-the-line processors doubles approximately every two years - and the unpredictability of human nature. Exper…

An Ockham of Gatwick

The 13th century theologian and philosopher, William of Ockham, who once lived in his small Surrey village, not so very far from what is today, the wide concrete expanse of Gatwick airport is a frequently referenced source of intellectual reason. His contribution to modern culture was Ockham’s Razor, which cautions us when problem solving, that “The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct;” sound advice which constantly proves to be true.

A week further-on since Britain’s second busiest airport was bought to a complete standstill by two or perhaps two hundred different drone sightings, it is perhaps time to revisit William of Ockham’s maxim, rather than be led astray by an increasingly bizarre narrative, one which has led Surrey police up several blind alleys with little or nothing in the way of measurable results.

 Exploring the possibilities with a little help in reasoning from our medieval friar, we appear to have a choice of two different account…