An article in Wired [wired.com] reports on a paper published in IBM's Systems Journal by Scott Fahlman, who is credited as the creator of the first emoticon (smiley). He suggests a techological solution - and a business opportunity as well - for dealing with spam and intrusive telemarketing.
His plan calls for new phones and e-mail software that would require fees to accept incoming messages. The fee would be waived for welcome e-mail and calls, but collected for unsolicited spam and intrusive telemarketing calls.
"This payment compensates me for suffering an unwanted interruption and - more importantly - it has cost you something to bother me," wrote Fahlman.
Friends, family and frequent known callers could be given "interrupt tokens" that would allow them to bypass the system.