On obfuscating e-mail messages

Responded to a thread on PLUG with http://lists.q-linux.com/pipermail/plug/2004-October/037001.html:

> Unfortunately, there is evidence that spambots have gained in
> 'intelligence' (if one may call it intelligence), and can interpret
> or somewhat be able to decode text-spoofed email addresses-- hence
> the 'last resort' of using images and/or JavaScript encoding.

Bah. Then let them decode said text-spoofed e-mail addresses. We're
the only ones suffering from this arms race as the Internet becomes
harder to use. ;) For the record, I don't mind simple CAPTCHAs, but
(a) sometimes the image versions are so distorted I can't read them,
(b) sometimes the implementation is just plain buggy, and (c) the
audio version usually sucks.

I still hold that obfuscation is relatively useless unless you're
_really_ sure that your e-mail address will never be posted anywhere
in public.  That means making sure _everyone_ who knows your
e-mail address is well-protected against viruses and worms, will never
send you e-postcards or sign up for those birthday services, will
never post your e-mail address on an unprotected site, and will never
To: or Cc: you on mail for people who can't be trusted to follow the
same restrictions. So now we're back to the social problem. Similarly,
you also trust that sites with your plaintext e-mail (they have to
have it _somewhere_) won't get compromised.  Bit of a long
shot, isn't it?

Incidentally, wouldn't hex be ever so easy to decrypt? Here, let me
demonstrate that in Emacs. url-unhex-string is in url-util.el, but you
might be able to find another function somewhere else.

(url-unhex-string "%53%65%65,%20%45%6d%61%63%73%20%63%61%6e%20%64%6f%20%65%76%65%72%79%74%68%69%6e%67%2e")

Arms race. Bleah. 

> I agree. In a spam-ridden email world, however, accessibility is a
> tough thing to fit in.

I'd say that accessibility is more important than spam, and shouldn't
be left as something to "fit in".

I'm probably just spoiled by Jijo's excellent spam-handling, the
ability to do really funky scoring and filtering on my computer, and
the calm assurance that mail was never meant to be a lossless medium
anyway.

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