Spam filters fail because they lack the human touch. So let’s launch the first human interactive spam filtering method.
Each service provider like Melbourne IT, GoDaddy, or Telstra BigPond, would select 100 or so clients who are willing to volunteer their services. I would like to be the first.
We would become Go Daddy Spam Sheriffs or BigPond Spam Sheriffs. We would just do our normal work, but our web-based email software would have one extra button on it that no other client has. The button would be called a ‘Banned’ button.
The rule would be that I, as an experienced net surfer, would be trained and trusted to know that I can only hit the ‘Banned’ button when I know for sure that, from my assessment, the email that has arrived to me is unsolicited and unethical. I know that some companies are genuine and they do send bulk promotional mail. But all Sheriffs would be trained to differentiate between an ethical company sending out unwanted promotions, and downright pests and criminals.
There are many ‘logic’ conditions that we would need to set. One could go along these lines: If, of the 100 or so Sheriffs, 25 of us ban a certain mail, then the server will go in search of every copy of that banned email and delete it from all the inboxes that might be owned by the thousands of other customers.
Each of the customers can sign-up for this free Human Filter Program by authorising BigPond or GoDaddy software to delete any mail that the Sheriffs have deemed to be spam.
Then the service provider can take other steps, such as to automatically ban domains that allow spammers to operate. The options are endless. But the human touch will mean that 100 people can do everyone a favour. I would be more than happy to become a Sheriff. I have to press ‘delete’ buttons anyway, so I might as well serve the community while I am at it.
This service is especially vital for inexperienced people who still do not realise that the bank did not send them the Phishing mail. I receive convincing and realistic scam mails from people pretending to be PayPal or eBay or the bank. 100 Sheriffs can wash an entire Go Daddy network of such scams so that busy and inexperienced users who have signed-up to this service, do not have to worry about scams and viruses, and the endless lottery wins and dead men who left behind well over $7 million in a bank account.
This is one real, powerful, workable, easy, inexpensive solution. How and why the likes of Hotmail and Google have not thought of this, I do not know. It’s been decades, and they still have no solution. I had sent this suggestion to GoDaddy and to Webhost4life and others, but they have not responded. No brain power. Lethargic and defeatist.
Jonar Nader is a consultant and technologist with Logictivity Pty Limited. He is an author of technology and leadership publications, including ‘How to Lose Friends and Infuriate People’. His areas of expertise include terrorism, scams, fraud, security, and hacking.