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Spam and Xenophobia
On the side, I do a little system administration for a local company.
While their business is web development, in many ways they're a brick-and-motor style company. That is, they pursue local clients, who they commonly have physical meetings with before beginning work. While they may have an active project or two outside the immediate region, almost all their work is ultimately based in the Seattle area.
Most important email they receive is from local companies. Nearly nothing of interest is from outside the United States.
They also have a spam problem. In contrast to their legit email, spam comes from around the planet. China, Korea, Russia and Brazil might account for 50% of the spam they get. A handful of other Asian and South American nations might be responsible for another 10%.
These are countries they currently have no business contacts in.
At the end of the day, about half of the total email they get comes from outside the United States. These messages are nearly 100% spam.
Spam would appear to be the new international language.
So, what's a system administrator to do?
One very pragmatic (but perhaps xenophobic) option would be to configure message filtering to block all email from countries they don't do (and don't intend to do) business with. Doing so would seem to cut their spam by over half, while having little impact on the email they want to get.
IP addresses are generally assigned to specific countries. Blocking email from various regions just requires the right geolocation database and an email server that's sufficiently configurable. The list of IP addresses to "deny" may also be deployed on a router or firewall.
For that matter, SpamButcher provides a free tool to look up what country an IP belongs to.
The downside is that many of the mentioned countries are, "up and coming" technological powerhouses. Today, setting up a mail filter to reject their email may serve to eliminate unwanted messages, at the cost of stunting their economic growth. In the future, doing the same may mean ignoring lucrative business opportunities.