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article imageMcAfee: Spam email is killing the planet

By Chris V. Thangham     Apr 17, 2009 in Environment
Anti-virus company McAfee claims the energy used to send spam email worldwide could provide power for 2.4 million homes. The company also claims that energy use releases as much greenhouse gas as 3.1 million cars.
Just like regular email, spam email has to be sent, routed and filtered over servers that require power. Since 95 per cent of email is spam, the bulk of the energy being used to send email is used to send spam email.
In addition to energy costs, there are also costs associated with fighting identity theft and losing money in bank accounts.
In a study called “Carbon Footprint of Spam,” McAfee claims the world spent 33 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity (33 terawatt-hours) to send, route and filter spam messages.
McAfee says this energy could be used to power 2.4 million homes, and it emits the same amount of greenhouse gas as 3.1 million passenger cars using 2 billion gallons of gasoline.
In the report, Jeff Green, senior VP of product development and McAfee Avert Labs, said spam has a significant financial impact on a company, so spam-filtering methods help save the environment as well as money.
As InformationWeek reports:
The study finds that spam filtering saves 135 TWh of electricity per year, an amount that equates to the removal of 13 million cars from the road. And it estimates that if every e-mail in-box had state-of-the-art spam filtering, spam could be reduced by 75%, or 25 TWh per year, a reduction comparable to the removal of 2.3 million cars off the road.
More about Spam, Email, Energey, Greenhouse Gas
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