France is hoping to shut down spammers more quickly through a system that makes it easier for users to notify ISPs (Internet service providers) when unsolicited e-mails are coming from their network.
The French government funded the development of an open-source toolbar for Microsoft Corp.’s Outlook and Mozilla Corp.’s Thunderbird e-mail programs that people can use to report suspected spam, said John Graham-Cumming, an Englishman who built the software for the project, called Signal Spam.
“From the French perspective, spam is like any other criminal activity that is affecting the French people,” Graham-Cumming said.
Most users today simply delete spam email from their inboxes, in part because they don’t have a simple tool for reporting spam to their ISP. The SignalSpam project aims to provide them with such a tool.
When users receive spam messages, the toolbar provides an easy way for them to forward the message to a central database. The messages are then sent to the ISP whose network they originated from, and the ISP decides whether to shut down the account of the sender, Graham-Cumming said.