Thursday, 15 September 2005

Here we go again

So... I was trying to make heads or tails of this press release this morning:

“The [spam] filtering approach was designed to handle junk mail for people receiving between zero and sufficient numbers to cause a nuisance. The real issue now is for people in the flood category, where filtering is not viable.”

Huh? What are they talking about? Let's read on...

Figures vary for the volume of unwanted mail. ... Using 80% means that four out of five mails for users [who get 30 or more spam messages per day] need to be marked, filtered, re-directed, quarantined and possibly archived.

Aside from the dodgy mathematics (there's no direct correlation between the number of legitimate and spam messages you receive), what is the point of all this?

High volumes are starting to strain the filtering approach because the filter has to take action on each mail it determines to be unwanted. This strains computing resources and also obliges recipients to take some action. Because the mail may have come from a source that has sent mail before, the receiver cannot ignore it.

Uh-oh, I have a bad feeling about this...

The alternative to filtering lies in the challenge-response method of dealing with spam, as used by the NMS’s Australian-developed TotalBlock solution.

Bingo! Yes, dear reader, it's our old "friend" challenge/response again. You may recall my previous post on this subject.

So, to summarize, if spam is a "nuisance" to you, why not turn it around and be a nuisance to legitimate senders who want to communicate with you, and be a nuisance to the poor people who are getting their email addresses used as forged spam senders? Yeah, and let's "oblige senders to take some action" instead. That's reasonable. Sheesh.

When will you people figure it out? In nice, simple language:
  1. Challenge/response causes spam
  2. If you use it, you're a spammer
  3. If everyone used it, email wouldn't work!

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