Hiding is the best way to beat spam

Thursday, 20 March 2003, 3:15 PM EST

You might want to act like a criminal on the lam: Change your name, use a variety of identities and stay out of sight.

In a new study of spamming tactics, "Why Am I Getting All This Spam?" the policy group Center for Democracy and Technology found the most successful methods of avoiding unwanted messages involved obscuring e-mail addresses or hiding them altogether.

"Obscuring your address had a very significant impact," CDT policy analyst Rob Courtney said.

For the past six months, the group baited spammers by posting a variety of e-mail addresses in different Web locations to glean some insight into where bulk e-mailers get their targets. At the same time, the center also experimented with some antispam techniques that consumers could easily adopt, including translating e-mail addresses into plain English and opting out of receiving future mailings from dot-com companies.

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