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Digital Authentication Cures Spam?

A user centric approach to solving the spam problem using digital signatures from First Monday Giving E-mail back to the users by Trevor Tompkins and Dan Handley

"This paper argues that current legislative and private attempts to stop spam are either ineffective, or involve unacceptable tradeoffs.

We propose a system that possesses the following features of authentication:

  • The authentication process should be easy to initiate. Just as in face-to-face communication, users should have an effortless way to grant their family, friends, and coworkers immediate authentication status.
  • Authentication should have the option of being transferable. Users may want their friends to be able to give other friends authentication for your e-mail address. This is not unlike the real life situation — "Bob referred me to you."
  • There should likewise be the option to make authentication non-transferable. Users may not want certain friends to be able to give other friends authentication to contact the user.
  • Re-issuable. Users may want to re-issue permissions.
  • Changeable. Users may want to change the authentication status and/or attributes of a particular person, or groups of people at any time.
  • Revocable. Users need the option to revoke anyone’s authentication — meaning ability to contact them — at any time for any reason they deem fit.
  • Hide or announce authentication status. Users may or may not wish to let someone know that they have revoked their authentication.

Authentication on this basis is very similar to the levels of access I'd like to give different names on my buddy lists.  Then perhaps this is more complex than it at first seems.  The end-user is getting closer to wanting a solution that they can implement. 

If we turn off spam can encrypted keys to verified profiles owned by you and me be far behind?  Similarly enhanced public directories?  Could be useful. 

Then their solution might also cure the comment spam this blog has recieved in the last few days... (deleted as quickly as I note it and I know I am not alone.) .... Shoud we be helping these guys? 

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