[LINK] NYT/SMH: To beat spam, pay to send email
drose at nla.gov.au
Wed Feb 4 14:08:43 EST 2004
Joe Sixpak and Betty Bluerinse have enough difficulty understanding
email itself and regularly get confused between "email", "web",
"Internet", "login", "connect", "My Thingy", etc. Trying to get them to
comprehend the concept of public/private keys would be, IMO, nigh
JS and BB use SSL and TCP/IP now without understanding them. I don't claim
to have a programmatical understanding of cryptography and all the different
implementations of PGP, but it doesn't seem too hard a concept to implement
on windows for outlook and so on. It just has to work.
For one thing, they would need to know how to access the
public key for someone that they did not regularly correspond with as
well as being aware of the need to secure their private key.
Perhaps the (already overworked, and cash strapped?) ISPs could add the
encryption at the SMTP level, and similarly alter incoming POP mail for the
incoming messages, to include a link to a public key server.
Given the current non-security status of at least 95% of desktops, I see
would be easy for spammers to use trojans to capture private keys, just-
as they use trojans to control PCs and to capture keystrokes.
That's not such a problem -- you'd simply deny accepting spam from Betty
Bluerinse for good, and her PC and key would be useless to the spammers.
While this isn't a fool-proof solution, IF the community geeks made lots of
noise and IF the popular media (ie ommercial TV) came on board with proper
explanations instead of hype, I feel that PGP could make a real difference
to the problem.
How long will it be before we see a computer-based lifestyle show? Would it
rate at all?
Daniel Rose 62621599
National Library of Australia
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