Christopher Lueg (2004).
The Hidden Impacts of Anti-Spam Measures and their Contributions to the Digital Divide: An Exploratory Study

Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science and Technology "Managing and Enhancing Information: Cultures and Conflicts", November 13-18, 2004, Providence, Rhode Island, USA, pp. 176-183.

Late draft (pdf version)

Slightly edited presentation slides (pdf version)


Proliferation of unrestricted Internet access has brought the community unsolicited commercial email, better known as spam. Underestimated for quite some time, spam is now recognized as a problem costing the community billions of dollars per annum. One of the direct impacts of the spam flood is the widespread deployment of anti-spam measures, such as email filters and block lists. In this paper, we summarize scholarly and anecdotal evidence suggesting that apart from reducing the spam load, anti-spam measures are also undermining the email system in terms of reliability and usability. Furthermore, we discuss findings suggesting that anti-spam measures are also contributing to establishing a digital divide between those having a choice as to how they access email (both from a technical perspective and an educational point of view) and those who are not in this favorable position.

revised September 4, 2004