Responding to a call-in question about open source software, I speculated that Firefox is no more secure than IE. I based this on theoretical arguments that might apply if Firefox were as popular a target as IE, and if the settings were as flexible, but in reality what I said is wrong. Contrary to the suspicions of one angry podcaster (who issued a fatwa on my head!) I have no financial motivation to "lie" about Firefox. In fact, as an investor in Flock which builds on the Mozilla code, I am happy to be corrected about the security of Firefox.
I guess I also provoked disagreement from the other guest, Dechlan McCullagh of CNET, who was articulate, well-informed, and clearly more comfortable on radio than I. I made the prediction that one day email spam will pale in comparison to SPIT (SPam over Internet Telephony). With free VOIP calls, spammers can now use computers overseas to generate voice messages that they broadcast to every 10 digit telephone number in North America.
"Press 1 to join Party Chat! Sexy Singles are standing by..." "You've been pre-approved for a low-rate credit card! Press 1 to complete your application..." "Why pay so much for prescriptions? Press 1 to get a free month of medicine from Cayman Islands Pharmacy..."
They needn't pay for the calls, the human reps, or the lists of valid phone numbers (so unlisted cell phones are vulnerable). Email spam is bad enough, but when our phones ring constantly, the intrusion on our lives will be profoundly greater, and unlike email spam, SPIT will carry payloads that cannot be examined until after we accept the call.
Anyway, I predicted that one day we'll be forced to turn off our ringers altogether, marking the end of real time telephone conversations. Dechlan pointed out that we could simply choose to ignore calls from people we don't know, as one of his buddies does. Good idea, except that the spammers will use our friends' and family's phones to call us, just as they do today with email.
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