Spammers Would Be Made To Pay Under IBM Research Proposal

Steve Schear schear at
Fri Mar 21 19:24:20 PST 2003

>Spammers Would Be Made To Pay Under IBM Research Proposal
>By Tony Kontzer, InformationWeek, InternetWeek
>Mar 20, 2003 (8:45 PM)
>Companies and consumers alike have been looking to two primary aids in the 
>battle to stem the flood of spam. On the practical side, they're turning 
>to a seemingly endless parade of filters and other software products 
>designed to slow the tide of unwanted E-mail by doing things such as 
>checking messages against known spam, using textual clues to glean whether 
>a message is spam, or blocking the IP addresses of known spammers. On the 
>more hopeful side, they're pressuring legislators for federal laws banning 
>IBM researchers say both approaches miss the target--that the software 
>approach amounts to a constant game of trying to stay one step ahead of 
>spammers, while legislation, if and when it comes, won't be able to 
>address spam coming from outside U.S. borders. As a result, they've come 
>up with another approach: Make spammers pay to send messages. It sounds 
>absurdly simple, and Scott Fahlman, a research staff member at IBM's 
>Watson Research Center, says it is. Fahlman is trying to build momentum 
>behind a concept he's calling the "charity stamp" approach, which would 
>force anyone sending unsolicited messages to pay to reach recipients 
>participating in the program unless they had an authenticated code.

>Of course none of this is news to many readers on this list.  A number of 
>people in the crypto/cypherpunk community (e.g, Adam Back, Eric S. 
>Johansson and Ben Laurie) have worked for some time to develop the 
>mathematics and code to launch proof-of-concept e-stamp systems based on 
>either Proof-of-Work algorithims or real value.  Recently Microsoft also 
>unveiled a similar project PennyBlack 


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