Full Interview: Finn Brunton on Spam Filters

For our next episode, Spark 128, we're taking a close look at noise and filters. One of Nora's interviews is with Finn Brunton, all about spam filters.

Spam filters are a very specialized type of software. They're designed to keep all those offers for v1agra and shady credit cards out of your email inbox, while allowing job offers and notes from you mom through. Spam filtering software has improved a lot over the past few years.

But, are filters necessarily the best way to can spam? Why not try to stop spam at the source? The United States has had anti-spam laws since 2003, with the CAN SPAM Act. Right now in Canada, we have our own proposed anti-spam legislation in the form of Bill C-28. Back in October, the New York Times reported that after Russian police announced a criminal investigation of one suspected spam king, worldwide spam dropped by 50 billion messages a day.

So, one one hand, filters. On the other hand, the law.

To talk about the relative merits of these two approaches to fighting spam, Nora talked to Finn Brunton. Finn's a post-doctoral researcher at NYU, and he's writing a book about spam. A shorter version of their interview will air on Spark 128, but you can hear the full, unfiltered interview here. [runs 18:13]

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