Using technology to more effectively annoy you
ABCNEWS.com reports on the latest developments in telemarketing in this article. You may already know about the TeleZapper, a $40 device that tricks telemarketers' computers by playing the same tones that typically precede the phone company's "no longer in service" message. A company named Castel (which I believe is Latin for "bastard accomplices of unsolicited phone call-making hellspawn") has created software that can see through the TeleZapper's deception, upping the technological ante in the war of telemarketers versus people who want to eat dinner in peace.
Another tool against telemarketers is phone services that block calls from parties who don't disclose their phone number via caller ID. Alas, Castel's software takes care of this as well, allowing the telemarketers to have any phone number they want appear on their target's caller ID display. The article claims that this is better for the consumer, because they can look at the caller ID and decide whether or not to answer. This, of course, assumes that the telemarketer is truthful with the caller ID information they send; given that this technology is brand new, I would suspect it's not (yet) illegal to send the wrong caller ID information via these systems. But don't worry, I'm sure you can trust them.
I can't think of any other areas to which it carries over, but on the subject of telemarketers at least I am a firm believer in legislation over technology. Missouri implemented a Do Not Call list a couple of years ago, and it has worked fantastically well. I honestly can't remember the last time I received a telemarketing call. Now if only I could do something about this unsolicited e-mail....