John Patrick on digital IDs for spam control

Yes, yes, yes! Pardon my euphoria, but I'm really pleased to see such a thoughtful and seasoned observer as John Patrick linking use of voluntary digital IDs to spam control:

Recently I have received a lot of email from friends and family asking why I had been sending out spam. The email said it came "From: John Patrick" but in reality was spam that came from someone else "spoofing" my name in hopes that it would result in higher odds of the email being opened.

People are going to demand that their political leaders do something about spam. This will lead to regulation of the Internet. I think most of us feel that Internet regulation can be costly, limit innovation and hurt productivity. I believe that an ingredient of the long-term answer to the problem is authentication. If an email arrives from a person with no digital ID, I want it deleted. If the sender is not "real" I don't want to see their email. If the sender has a digital ID but I have never received mail from them before, then I want to know who issued the digital ID to them and what the subject of the email is. If it is not an offensive topic or something I know I am not interested in and the issuer of the ID is an organization I have heard of then I'll let it into my in-box. This isn't the perfect solution but it could help a great deal. [ John Patrick: The Spam Has Got to Go ]

I've been making this argument for years now (e.g., 1 , 2 , 3 ), most recently in my latest O'Reilly Network column , and it's been lonely. Maybe now we'll start to get some triangulation around the issue. The key (pardon the pun) is voluntary use of IDs -- a culture of identity, rather than anonymity.

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