In a bid to reduce spam email, the French government has unveiled a new project that allows users to notify ISPs when they get spam mails from their networks, allowing ISP to shut down the accounts of spammers.
The project called “SignalSpam” is basically an open-source toolbar for Microsoft’s Outlook and Mozilla’s Thunderbird e-mail programs that allows people to report suspected spam, John Graham-Cumming, project developer, told IDG News Service.
With the toolbar, users can easily forward spam messages to a central database. The messages are then sent to the ISP from whose network they originated. The ISP then decides whether to shut down the account of the sender, Graham-Cumming said.
Graham-Cumming disclosed that the project is capable of sending out an automated response to the user who reported the spam email, if the email comes from a legitimate marketer. The automated response also contains information on how to unsubscribe from the marketer’s mailing list. However, for this feature to work, marketers need to register with SignalSpam.
While this is a good initiative by the French government, its impact may be limited. First, SignalSpam needs a strong support from French ISPs to succeed. Secondly, the project cannot do anything about spam mails originating outside France. But more importantly, the project needs to be embraced by Internet users themselves. And whether that happens, remains to be seen.