Thursday, March 6, 2003

Anti-Spam Research Group

A group to suggest standards/methods for fighting spam has been formed. It's called the Anti-Spam Research Group. Quoting the website:

The Anti-Spam Research Group (ASRG) focuses on the problem of unwanted email messages, loosely referred to as spam. The scale, growth, and effect of spam on the Internet have generated considerable interest in addressing this problem. Once considered a nuisance, spam has grown to account for a large percentage of the mail volume on the Internet. This unwanted traffic stands to affect local networks, the infrastructure, and the way that people use email.

I'm not sure if anything will come of it. My views include:

  • automatic deletion of detected spam is doomed to failure as it is never 100% accurate (you still lose a few messages from Mom). Rather you should tag messages as spam, automatically move them to a separate folder, and make the user delete the messages.
  • Like virus detection, it's an arms race. Spammers will always be one step ahead.
  • Most of us have joined various opt-in lists via IWon, Pogo, or a vendor's site. Violent reaction to apparent spam could lead to legal problems.

So... I'm not holding my breath. I will keep my SpamAssassin config up-to-date though.

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