The SPAM Filter - filter email SPAM

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The Spam Filter is an attempt to limit and control the ever-growing problem of SPAM by e-mail. Help Stop Spam and Junk E-mail! This service is free to join. Thank you to all the TV channels who have recently reported this service on their news.

SPAM is used here to mean receiving unsolicited electronic mail, usually advertising some product, service, business, scheme, website, etc. SPAMming via other means (e.g. usenet) is a different problem which we do not tackle here.

Background on Spam

If you contribute articles to usenet newsgroups, whether work-related or leisure-related, you'll probably have had your e-mail address automatically extracted by one of the many programs on the market which can collect e-mail addresses this way. This trawling for of e-mail address to send stuff annoys many people and the problem with this junk mail is only getting worse. The collection of e-mail addresses in this way, and the sending of SPAM is illegal in many countries (including the UK and the US). However, most people do not have the time nor the resources nor the inclination to complain about every SPAM received. For information on the campaign against SPAM, please visit Spam abuse net or Yahoo Spam Information or vicomsoft reference who have a particularly excellent site.

In the UK, there is a service for hard-copy post called the "Mailing Preference Scheme" which allows people to specify that they want less junk mail. This list is used by companies to avoid sending mail to those people, so that the company doesn't waste postage and the person gets less junk mail. We are proposing a similar system. We have no connection with the Mailing Preference Scheme. We are an independent group controlling our own business.

What is this "Spam Filter" service?

What we are proposing is the setting up of a mailing list of people who do not want to get SPAM mail - ie their spam mail will be filtered using our service as a mail filter. This list will under no circumstances whatsoever be passed to any other organisation (that's organization for people in the US), in whole nor in part. Neither will the SPAM Filter list be used to send out messages from other organisations to people on the list for any purpose whatsoever. This has been tried before and people have found that they just got junk mail by sending in their address. You can confidently send your email address to us, in the knowledge that this will not happen. You can verify this by inventing an e-mail address which you submit to the SPAM Filter service and to no other organisation and wait to see if you get any mails sent to that account.

You could accept our word for that, but here's some background information to reinforce it. This service was set up in 1996 by Craig Cockburn, who has authored a large number of free FAQs and guides since coming onto the net in 1983. Craig set up and edited both the soc.culture.celtic FAQ and the The Scotland FAQ, for the benefit of the internet community at large. His list "The UK Internet list" was Britain's first guide to getting on-line and was distributed free with the intention of keeping internet prices down, allowing more people to join and helping to promote the Internet. These FAQs are available via Craig's home page. Craig also wrote an award winning Master's thesis on mail filtering which was published internationally by SIGS publications in Object Currents September 96 (part 1) Object Currents October 96 (part 2). Hopefully this is enough to convince you that we are responsible internet users. Even if this trial fails, we hope we will have advanced the handling of the issue in an intelligent way.

How does The Spam Filter work?

This service will pay for itself by selling itself to the people who make the tools which collect e-mail addresses and to the people who perpetuate SPAM. If someone wishes to send out a mailshot, they send us their proposed list of addressees, we filter that list against ours then return them their list with SPAM Filter addresses removed from it. We have selected certain key e-mail addresses on the list which will identify if the SPAMmer has filtered their addresses against ours. If one of these key addresses receives a SPAM then we will complain to their postmaster and downstream site, quoting whatever laws are appropriate. This relieves the burden of complaint from the person receiving the SPAM and as a centre of knowledge on SPAM, including legal issues, we will be able to complain more effectively.

As our list grows, so it will gain influence and we will be able to achieve more. This service has already been mentioned on many TV stations and newspapers. Our efforts will be directed against those individuals and organisations which continue to send out mass mailshots and who do not respect the wishes of people on our list who have indicated that they don't want such information.

Our Goal

We are committed to an Internet where those who do not wish to receive SPAM do not receive it and those who send SPAM pay for it rather than getting a free ride. We are not opposed to advertising on the World Wide Web or through the appropriate newsgroups. Nor are we opposed to advertising by e-mail to those people who have personally requested that they would like to receive such information. As well as helping people control the SPAM they receive and also organisations to target their mail to a less hostile audience, we hope this service will also gain the support of postmasters around the world as it will help to reduce the amount of complaints they have to deal with.

Your details

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Please select one
Please add this e-mail address to the SPAM Filter
No thanks, I don't want the service anymore
Do not make any changes to my entry

We will soon also have a separate scheme for people who do want to receive commercial mail but who want control over which types of mail they get. This is separate from the SPAM filter list. Please check this box if you want to be sent details when this is available. You will not be sent details of this unless you check the box.

We are also launching a significantly more powerful spam filter shortly which is likely to block virtually all spam and give you complete control over what you do and don't receive. This is quite a sophisticated service so we're interested in knowing what your views would be on paying for it. Please check one of the buttons below in this optional section to let us know your views on this.
No preference indicated
I'd only be interested if it was free - you freeloader! Ever wondered why so many dot coms went bust? :-)
I'd pay up to $10 a year.
I'd pay about $20 a year.
I'd pay $30 or more a year, provided it really did block the spam effectively

If you have any further comments, please add them here

How did you hear about the SPAM Filter?

Thank you.

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Copyright © 1996-2006 Craig Cockburn ("coburn")