The nation of France is leading the way in providing new methods for combating spam e-mail. The French government is sponsoring the development of an open-source toolbar for Microsfot Outlook and Mozilla Firefox that makes it easier for users to report to ISPs that spam is coming from their networks. The project, called Signal Spam, also takes into account legitimate mailing practices. If a message comes from a legitimate marketer, the system can send an automated response to the person who reported it, telling them how to unsubscribe to the mailing list. Marketers are encouraged to register with Signal Spam.
The leadership of the French government on this matter is welcome. The United States has been wholly ineffective in regulating the spamming industry, passing ineffective laws that do little to prevent the problem, and limiting the liability of ISPs that profit from the industry, to the detriment of ISPs that operate lawfully. Consumers are equally affected. What consumer hasn't had an important e-mail lost due to inefficient spam filters or barely dodged a virus sent via spam e-mail?
Bottom Line: The leadership of the French government, only the 10th worst spam source, should be emulated by other nations, including the United States, easily the greatest source of spam in the world. If the program is successful, the US and other nations should seriously consider implementing similar programs.