Deterrence Measures for Spam

Kevin McCurley
IBM Research - Almaden

This presentation was originally given at the RSA conference in January, 1998. It is available in the original Microsoft PowerPoint format.


The use of unsolicited mass e-mail has recently grown to epidemic proportions, and there is every indication that the problem will get worse before it will get better. I believe that the problem is essentially unfixable with the current infrastructure, and I propose an incremental approach to dealing with the problem. In the short term the best solution seems to be a combination of legislation and filtering. In the long term these solutions cannot cope with the persistence of advertisers, and a different solution based on electronic payments for email will be required. First contacts will require payments for email, but this first contact will simultaneously perform a key exchange in order to accomodate future correspondence between the two parties.