Antispam activists last week vowed to get tough with purveyors of penis pills and get-rich-quick schemes, who continue to dodge sophisticated e-mail filters and break laws meant to curtail their activities.

The activists, speaking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said they plan to take their fight out of the inbox to the spammers themselves with technologies that gather evidence they need to sue the bad actors and send them to jail.



“We are opening a new front in the war on spam,” said Matthew Prince, describing his distributed software project, Project Honey Pot, to more than 200 hundred hackers, developers, lawyers and others at the third annual Spam Conference at MIT.



Project Honey Pot is a distributed system that catches spammers who collect e-mail addresses from websites without authorization, a practice known as e-mail address harvesting.



Harvesting is the leading method spammers use to acquire new addresses, said Prince.



Project Honey Pot’s software generates unique tags for e-mail addresses, and records when, and by whom (or, at least, by which server), an address was harvested.



The information generated by systems like Project Honey Pot is the kind lawyers need to sue and prosecute spammers successfully, according to several lawyers at the conference and a web hosting service provider participating in Project Honey Pot.



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