Father of spam: Gary Thuerk: In 1978, an overly aggressive sales rep from Digital Equipment sent out a pitch to several hundreds names on an early ARPANET mailing list. Not only did Gary Thuerk get flamed, the feds running ARPANET threatened to throw him in jail. How times have changed. Today, 80-90 per cent of all email is spam and nobody seems to know where it's coming from or how to stop it. As for Thuerk, he's at HP, still selling computer gear. Is Thuerk embarrassed about unleashing the scourge of spam on the world? Not really. "I'm the first one to do it, and I'm proud of it," he says.