Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Monday 3/12/2001I've had it up to here with spam. At work, we recently changed from Lotus Notes to MS Outlook -- you couldn't really call it an upgrade -- and for some reason, this coincided with a mammoth increase in ever more resistable emails.

Monday 3/12/2001

I've had it up to here with spam. At work, we recently changed from Lotus Notes to MS Outlook -- you couldn't really call it an upgrade -- and for some reason, this coincided with a mammoth increase in ever more resistable emails. My AOL account has already sunk under the weight of penis enlargements, breast enhancements, unclaimed checks and surefire sales strategies, but that's AOL for you. Now my work ID is choking. It's not funny.

Anti-spam technology exists: companies like Brightmail operate millions of fake email accounts which attract and analyse spam, they then send out blocking codes to let servers identify bad messages. Excellent idea, and it works -- but, of course, it costs. And you have to have someone else run it for you.

I don't understand why open-source bods don't get to work on this. There's no need for millions of fake email addresses when the ones we have and use daily are so good at collecting the stuff, and a distributed analysis and blocking service looks simple enough to put together, at least on paper. The expensive and difficult bit -- spotting spam -- is easy: anyone who wants to use the service just has to be prepared to contribute by identifying spam and taking a second to forward it to the service.

It looks like a good candidate for life-enhancing open sourcery to me. Anyone fancy taking up the challenge?

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