In theory, stopping spam is easy: just make it uneconomic to send millions of messages by charging for each one sent, or make senders authenticate their identity to stop address spoofing and simplify blocking.
In practice, that would involve building a secure, parallel e-mail infrastructure linking electronic authentication with real-world identities: a daunting task. Yet that’s just what Germany is about to do.
De-mail — a play on the country-code abbreviation for Deutschland (Germany) and the word e-mail — is a government-backed service in which all messages will be encrypted and digitally signed so they cannot be intercepted or modified in transit. Businesses and individuals wanting to send or receive De-mail messages will have to prove their real-world identity and associate that with a new De-mail address from a government-approved service provider. The service will be enabled by a new law that the government expects will be in force by the end of this month. It will allow service providers to charge for sending messages if they wish — via redwolf.newsvine.com