"Like it or not," writes Kevin Werbach in Slate, "the only way to kill spam is for an element of e-mail to die as well." Internet e-mail, like other Internet protocols, was built by people who implicitly trusted each other not to abuse the system. In other aspects of networking, we've seen the development of firewalls, security encryption, intrusion detection, and anonymous surfing. The world of e-mail now faces similar chisels chipping away at its chummy openness: server-side filtering, intelligent client mail rules, pay-per-mail proposals, and whitelists that block e-mail from everyone except people you know.
E-mail may die. But, with 30% of all e-mail being spam today, and the percentage only rising, would it be a bad death if something better replaced it?