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Dealing with Spam

I’ve been doing some thinking about the problem of email spam. It’s personally getting annoying having to filter out the spam email in ever increasing quantities every day. I don’t do that manually — I run Microsoft Outlook XP and have a couple of rules that act as spam filters which are about 90+ per cent effective at dumping the spam email into my “Likely Spam” folder.

What the world needs, of course, is a way to prevent spam much further upstream in the network. Some sort of ticketing system could be implemented, for example, that would be required for email to transit across mail servers from sender to receiver. Mail lacking a ticket could simply be dropped on the floor or, more likely, simply flagged for bulk delivery as likely spam.

For email from correspondents that I regularly exchange email with, a web of trust like system for signing emails could be used to provide such a ticket.

Where’s the real research happening on how to deal with spam more effectively? Are the major vendors of email clients doing anything to help deal with the rising tide of spam?

Bill Gates recently spoke at Stanford. The article covering his talk included the following comment:

“What might the future bring? Gates envisioned PCs that prioritize e-mail so users are rarely bothered with low-priority items such as junk mail.”

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