Musings about email - 1

Musings about email - 1

I don't know about you, but over the last 2 months it seems like the volume of spam that I've been receiving has been really shooting up. I use MailFronteir's "Matador" product and find it to be quite effective in stopping spam. People always worry that a spam filter will stop "good" emails by mistake (false positives) and in so doing make them lose some important message.

White lists are ok, but you have to maintain them. What if there was some kind of token which would allow email to always make it through the filter? How might that work? Here are some ideas and problems with the idea:

  1. The token would have to travel with an email so that the spam filter would see it and check it for validity so as to let the message through.
  2. Sounds like an attachment, but then the sender would have to manually attach it every time. That's not acceptable. Another idea would be that the token would be part of the senders .vcf file which many email clients optionally attach to outgoing emails. A third idea would be that the token would be part of the message signature (.sig) but that's really ugly because it is not readable by the user.
  3. The token would have to encode something about the sender so that that tokens couldn't be shared with others.  I think the idea breaks down here because as a sender I would need to keep a collection of 'tokens', one for each person that I want to send email to, and that of course doesn't scale.

Anyway, the idea is here for anyone to riff on...

Posted on July 30, 2003 and filed under Technology.