A method for controlling unwanted telephone calls and E-mail
Original Publication Date: 2002-Feb-17
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Disclosed is a method by which potential recipients of unwanted telephone calls and E-mail can control the interruptions caused by such unwanted messages. Several observations are relevant to this work: The growing volume of unwanted telemarketing calls and E-mail messages are widely regarded as a serious problem for society and a serious irritation for individuals who depend on the telephone or on E-mail (that is, almost everyone). Existing techniques and ideas for limiting the interruptions caused by such messages are inadequate. Legislation is controversial and difficult because it may interfere with free-speech rights and because it definitely would affect some strong commercial interests. In any case, legislation can do little about messages that cross jurisdictional borders. Automated filtering techniques are imperfect and can easily be defeated by the senders. Using an unlisted phone number or hiding the potential recipient's true E-mail address is a great inconvenience to the recipient and to the recipient's friends and associates. Only the recipient can really determine whether a message is welcome or not, and that is only possible after the message has been received.