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)

Abstract:

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