Google vs Spam

I wonder if anyone has analysed the extent to which spam shapes the internet. In particular, I am thinking about the way that we have to trade off a degree of privacy to get effective protection. Google has excellent spam filters on gmail. My account there gets about fifty spams a day, and perhaps one is missed every two or three days. My daughter reports the same kind of efficiency from her Yahoo mail account. My guess is that part of this efficiency comes because you don’t “mark” something as spam; you “report” it. So, given that any significant spam run will hit hundreds of thousands of gmail users more or less simultaneously, a simple algorithm that says any message reported twenty times is spam will act more quickly than anything more formal, like spamassassin.

The logic of this is that we will tend more and more to give up the idea of personal servers, personal spam filtering, and so on, and huddle in groups to shelter from the giant whirling shitstorm that the public internet becomes.

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2 Responses to Google vs Spam

  1. Rupert says:

    Another way of looking at this is that we’ll create self-supporting communities set up to take advantage of being in a group with a common purpose, using technology to distribute skills and work among us.

    Last time I looked, that was pretty much hom saps MO anyway. I’d rather have a thousand human eyeballs spotting spam than some autogibbon swinging from the branches of a Baysian tree.


  2. The protection I get from Comcast isn’t quite as efficient, but a lot of spam ends up going into the right place. Right now, I’m getting quite a bit of spam from UK addresses, mostly about lotteries I haven’t entered.

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