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Inside India's CAPTCHA Solving Economy

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the industries-exist-for-everything-these-days dept.

Security 167

Anti-Globalism points out an analysis of India's CAPTCHA-solving industry posted at ZDNet. It begins: "No CAPTCHA can survive a human that's receiving financial incentives for solving it, and with an army of low-waged human CAPTCHA solvers officially in the business of data processing while earning a mere $2 for solving a thousand CAPTCHAs, I'm already starting to see evidence of consolidation between India's major CAPTCHA solving companies. The consolidation, logically leading to increased bargaining power, is resulting in an international franchising model recruiting data processing workers empowered with do-it-yourself CAPTCHA syndication web based kits, API keys, and thousands of proxies to make their work easier and the process more efficient."

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Proof that (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24809513)

you CANNOT stop advertising/spam. There is simply too much money in it. I think Ani said it best when she said "Fuck this time and place".

Re:Proof that (0, Troll)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809719)

Actually AI is both going to kill the "captcha solving community" soon enough, and solve the spam problem, but a bit later.

Unfortunately you can also bet that China (and the democrats) are going to use it to select "acceptable" viewpoints only.

Re:Proof that (2, Informative)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810055)

Unfortunately you can also bet that China (as all other governments) are going to use it to select "acceptable" viewpoints only.

There, fixed that for ya.

Re:Proof that (1)

Count Fenring (669457) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810523)

Yeaaaaah.... I'm going to have to ask you to look at all the Scandinavian countries....

"Doin' it wrong" is not a basic component of government. There are more and less corrupt systems.

Re:Proof that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24811459)

Scandinavian countries are some sort of secluded paradise, and you cannot even arrive at their airports without Scandinavian people trying to burn you alive with Molotov cocktails, just because you are a black guy coming from the United States.
Anyways, they don't count or are important for the world economy or politics.
The "as all other governments" thing was referring to our ole USA, with our PATRIOT Act, illegal wiretapping, Guantanamo bay spa, and that woman Palin firing her brother in law from the state police force, without any justifiable reason, just because her sister wanted her to do so... Our little Adolph-Hitler-in-skirts from Alaska...

Re:Proof that (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810263)

best way to stop spam is by educating the recipient that it is bad to buy from a spammer.

Re:Proof that (2, Funny)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810461)

Or, as the consensus on /. seems to be, we could just kill all the spammers in ritualistic fashion.

It could be the next extreme reality show for TV... Fear Factor Spam Edition! Have them go through the trials, eat pig rectums and get covered in bees, then the winner gets to shoot the other participants in the head - and then of course, we off the winner too!

Re:Proof that (1)

ciej (868027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810771)

no, tell them all your going to kill all them but the winner gets to die quickly.

Re:Proof that (4, Insightful)

Jimmy_B (129296) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810851)

Unfortunately, even if no one ever bought a single thing from spammers, the spam would still continue. You see, spammers don't need to sell anything to make money; they only need to convince gullible merchants to pay them to spam. In fact, I suspect that this is the sole driving force between spam today; there is so much spam of such low quality that it seems highly implausible that there are enough suckers to support it all.

No, the real root problem is multi-level marketing, which turns suckers into salesmen who, having fallen for one scam already, will easily fall for another. MLM tricks people into buying huge quantities of merchandise that they can't sell, so they turn to spammers for help. That's why the overwhelming majority of spam is for the small handful of products which are sold using MLM. The rest is scams (which only need one person to fall for them) and viruses (which can persist long after their author has moved on).

Re:Proof that (1)

Butisol (994224) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810337)

Maybe spam can't be totally stopped, but it can be seriously curtailed with proper protocols and laws. Either the cost or the risk (or some combination of the two) of sending out spam has to outweigh the risk of sending it before it's significantly reduced.

No Laws please (1)

gerf (532474) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810405)

Lawmakers are incompetent and unable to adjust to the realities of day-to-day changes in spam techniques.

I just with Gmail would go back to the "Invite only" approach, with SMS as a secondary measure, along with a remote possibility of snail-mail to cover everyone else. Unless we all use OpenID or some other general log-in function, small sites would be screwed by this approach.

Hrm, maybe that's a good argument for OpenID.

Re:No Laws please (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 5 years ago | (#24811539)

I just with Gmail would go back to the "Invite only" approach,

The only way that would make a dent in Gmail's growth is if every existing user were booted off. (Which would kinda' kill Gmail.)

Re:Proof that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810949)

Offering illegal drugs to children is currently illegal in most parts of the world yet spammmers do it daily. If you have kids and they get and offer, are you going to report it to your local county DA?

Interesting. (3, Informative)

jcuervo (715139) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809527)

The going rate is $1k. For a simple /usr/share/dict/words attack on some random account on some random site, it'd cost you about $100.

Re:Interesting. (1)

jcuervo (715139) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809537)

Sorry, that should've been $1/1k.

More Evidence for me (5, Funny)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809545)

I'm a firm believer that there are simply too many people. Why can you pay someone $2 for this? It should cost more... but there are people willing to do it because there are too many people competing for the same jobs...

You can expand this to the food crisis, energy crisis, etc. bottom line is, there are too many people. And why? Because we're the top of the food chain. Because we heal ourselves, and live too long. Because someone that weighs 500 pounds lives alongside those fit for this society.

My proposal is to clone rapters. Then no longer would be be at the top of the food chain.. they could simply sculpt our society into one that we can manange. and lets face it, they could do it pretty effectively. Rapters are fast and intelligent, hunt in packs, and hell.. they can even open doors! Support rapter cloning!

Re:More Evidence for me (0, Troll)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809641)

Oh, come on, Troll? Give me a break.
The choices here are "Funny" and "Offtopic" people, depending on if you agree with rapter cloning or not.

Re:More Evidence for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810517)

Or just "WTF" until you learn to spell raptor properly. Not sure why you want to clone Red Tailed Hawks and Eagles and all, but they don't prey on humans.

But then, perhaps you were talking about the Toronto Raptors? Sure, I hate basketball and would probably run in fear from a team of large basketball throwing individuals trying to herd us into canyons or whatnot. Might work.

Could also be the US Marine Corp squadron "The Raptors". You are right, they CAN open doors. Or just blow them up. The few, the proud, the cloned... Dang, I thought only Yoda got to see the clone wars.

What's this - dinosaurs you say? Oh, Velociraptor! Gotcha. That would work. People can be pretty stupid, you could probably even get folks to pay for distribution by selling the velociraptors as pets. All the "gullible" folks order them from that ad on their TV - no more gullible folks. Hmm, might solve SPAM then too as there wouldn't be any more money in it.

Re:More Evidence for me (1)

An Ominous Cow Erred (28892) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810819)

Nope, he distinctly said raptErs, which pretty much refers to a type of console used by the U.S. Army (see post below). =)

If he said raptOrs, he might've been referring to producing his own line of 10,000RPM SATA hard drives -- which would be a good thing, since there's only one manufacturer in the market at the moment, if you don't want to go with them you need to go the SCSI/SAS route.

It would take a lot of time and effort, but you could probably wipe out humanity with them. A glass/ceramic/metal disk spinning at 10,000 RPM can do a lot of damage.

So let me get this straight... (5, Funny)

An Ominous Cow Erred (28892) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809687)

...you're going to reduce the human population by cloning the U.S. military's Reporting and Planning Terminal [army.mil] ?

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809771)

Well, you'll certainly reduce the human population on the Internet with threats like this:

http://www.sed.monmouth.army.mil/comm/cms/RAPTer.htm [army.mil] wants to load an applet.
GNU Classpath's security implementation is not complete.
HOSTILE APPLETS WILL STEAL AND/OR DESTROY YOUR DATA!

Re:More Evidence for me (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24809727)

Spelling raptor once, forgivable. But three times in a comment...

Re:More Evidence for me (1)

I cant believe its n (1103137) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809731)

Rapters are fast and intelligent, hunt in packs, and hell.. they can even open doors! Support rapter cloning!

Surely such intelligent rapters would know how to produce more rapters without cloning?

Re:More Evidence for me (1)

Yoozer (1055188) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810037)

Nature will find a way!

Re:More Evidence for me (1)

haluness (219661) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810155)

> My proposal is to clone rapters

Aah, why bother with that hassle? Just let people kill of people randomly - it does the same job as raptors and we don't need to have the hassle of genetic enginering

Re:More Evidence for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810509)

Because we can.

At the end of the day the mad scientist will lay in his bed, look at the ceiling, and smile, knowing that, while his knowledge of genetic engineering could have cured cancer, diabetes, and a huge number of other diseases, he created a raptor instead, which is way cooler.

Remember, raptors run at 10 m/s and they do not know fear.
- XKCD

Re:More Evidence for me (1)

Mephistro (1248898) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810925)

Remember, raptors run at 10 m/s and they do not know fear.
- XKCD

So, Chuck Norris is a raptor, right?

Re:More Evidence for me (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810173)

Your statement doesn't really work. You can't blame living too long or healing ourselves for overpopulation. Most countries that are first world have a birth rate that is less than 2.1 needed to sustain the population. Overpopulation is a function of poverty. Once you have money you start having less kids.

Re:More Evidence for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810339)

Rapters are fast and intelligent

Great! Can they solve CAPTCHAs?

If you had to choose (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24809577)

If you had to choose between being a nigger and being a faggot, which would it be?

Re:If you had to choose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24809621)

I'd go for Anonymous Coward Just like you

Re:If you had to choose (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24809693)

Is it the same cunt posting this every time?

Re:If you had to choose (4, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809865)

Heavens, no! At Slashdot, CAPTCHA-breakers are used for less lucrative motives than elsewhere. The posts are, in fact, originating from PROFESSIONAL CAPCHA ENTRY OPEATORS AND WE CAN DO EVEN 25000 ENTRIES PER DAY AS MY COMPANY IS A 25 SEATER FIRM SPEALISED IN DATA ENTRY.

I saw a crack site once where the CAPTCHA you had to fill out to download the file had a myspace watermark. I believe it would be crackstorage.

This was quite predictable (2, Insightful)

rumith (983060) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809593)

Provided you have a sufficient number of dedicated employees, any technical problem is solvable. So when we have densely populated areas with extremely low cost of sustaining life (i.e. warm underdeveloped countries), it's much more rational to assign thousands of locals to perform simple recurring actions than to hire an adequate number of qualified professionals to develop software capable of the same thing.

A list of measures that could help includes eradication of population in warm underdeveloped countries, and making the said countries either cold (or otherwise unsuitable for life without certain expenses) or much better developed, which would ruin this business model as far as I can see.

Temporary problem... (5, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809655)

or much better developed, which would ruin this business model as far as I can see.

It's starting to happen. Give it another 20 years and Indian wages will be high enough that this sort of stuff won't happen because Indian wages will be almost as high as a US worker's wages.

China, I think, will take a bit longer, but I think they'll end up using up their own labor that's coming off the farms and such for the most part during the later stages of their industrialization.

Heck US manufacturing goods exports and domestic production have been increasing recently, and that hasn't happened in years.

Re:Temporary problem... (5, Interesting)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809839)

It's starting to happen. Give it another 20 years and Indian wages will be high enough that this sort of stuff won't happen because Indian wages will be almost as high as a US worker's wages.

Then the problem will simply move elsewhere. There will always be someone at the bottom of the wage food chain, willing to work for relative peanuts.
This is already [forbes.com] happening [zdnet.co.uk] .

Re:Temporary problem... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810001)

There will always be someone at the bottom, but they won't always be willing to work for peanuts.

That there are jobs that are not economic in some areas demonstrates this (because immigration laws limit the labor pool to the local barrel).

Re:Temporary problem... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810259)

Then the problem will simply move elsewhere.

Then where else, if not China/India? The only other major non-industrialized areas I can think of are Africa. Africa only has a population of ~922 million. India alone has 1.13B, China 1.3B.

In addition, Africa is crippled by internal strife and warfare in ways that the other two aren't. Even if you toss in the Middle east, that's only another 197 million. South America is 371 million. And I wouldn't consider them unindustrialized.

Even if you add those three regions up, we're still around half that of our current outsourcing targets. Don't forget that at that point China and India will be looking to outsource.

There will always be someone at the bottom of the wage food chain, willing to work for relative peanuts.

True, but in the future I don't see it being nearly as regionalized as it is now, resulting in wholesale outsourcing.

Re:Temporary problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810855)

Well, he did say "20 years from now". For comparison, think about 20 years AGO. 1988. It was still the Cold War, and we didn't know at the time that it was almost over. China and India weren't on the outsourcing radar yet for tech jobs; it was all about Japan. Eastern Europe has changed a lot since then, too.

20 years from now? How do we know there won't be cheap labor in Pakistan, Iran, the rest of the middle east, Africa, South America? Indonesia? And most of those have much higher population growth rates than the West.

[We also don't know who will go to war with who in that timespan. Hell, we can't make good guesses beyond one year; last year no one really knew there'd be a war in Georgia. In 1998 no one really knew Iraq would invade Kuwait. And so on. If India or China are involved in any conflict, that changes the outsourcing equation.]

Re:Temporary problem... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810325)

Then the problem will simply move elsewhere. There will always be someone at the bottom of the wage food chain...

Or the bottom of the hygiene food chain.

Have you smelled an Indian lately?

Re:Temporary problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24809893)

We're not going to run out of poor people any time soon. There are billions who would gladly solve captchas for $5 a day.

Re:Temporary problem... (1)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809919)

I doubt very much twenty years is enough to bring the median income in India to $30k+. It is bound to happen eventually. Also, many Indian people live in the US currently, and I suspect will return to India with there retirements, spawning industry in India to support their needs. And that may be true for other countries, too.

But back to that matter at hand, maybe this is a sign that CAPTCHA as we know it is on the way out.

Re:Temporary problem... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810311)

I doubt very much twenty years is enough to bring the median income in India to $30k+.

You'd be surprised, I think. Part of it is that it doesn't have to actually reach median, just reach enough to make outsourcing there uneconomic, on average. You'll always have some back and forth, and that's not a bad thing.

I suspect will return to India with there retirements, spawning industry in India to support their needs.

Putting more demands on the Indian labor pool.

It's creating a self-feeding cycle that I see raising effective wages. The Indian people themselves wanting and consuming more, enjoying a higher style of living, for example.

Besides, it's not just the wages going up in the USA, it's also wage stagnation, deflation happening in the USA.

Re:Temporary problem... (1)

discards (1345907) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809925)

I think you have India and China confused there. India's economy is nearing recession while China is still growing as fast as ever. In 20 years it will be Chinese wages which are as high or higher than Western ones

Re:Temporary problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810079)

Recession ? I don't think so. As of this month the GDP growth rate was 7.9% which is pretty high. The growth rate has come down from the 9% peaks it had hit earlier, but thats not the same as a recession (drop_in_growth_rate!=recession).

Also, with the Communist parties no longer dictating what the government does, the next wave of reforms will be implemented which should prop the growth rate up.

Re:Temporary problem... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810367)

India's economy is nearing recession

While we're arguably in a recession right now. Part of the reason for the slowing of the growth in India is the cost of oil, which is making everything more expensive.

Another part is that expenses in India have hit a point where it's no longer worth the expense to outsource many things there. Without the constant addition of jobs and such from the USA and other countries, growth will slow.

Re:Temporary problem... (1)

rumith (983060) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810053)

You're forgetting that local and overseas powers make great use of keeping countries like India in the condition of cheap labour camps. So I don't believe that cheap labour and poor living conditions will ever disappear.

Re:Temporary problem... (1)

Sleepy (4551) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810169)

It's starting to happen. Give it another 20 years and Indian wages will be high enough that this sort of stuff won't happen because Indian wages will be almost as high as a US worker's wages.

Before that happens, Bill Gates will build new universities in other countries to keep the outsourcing race to the bottom alive. They can just iterate through a stack of countries. Don't expect it to help Hati or Papua New Guinea though - by the time of a few economies after India and China, software will write itself.

Not Bill Gate's problem (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810487)

Excepting the conspiracy theories about BG, this is pretty much what I figure will happen. Outsourcing to India/China encompasses far more than software writing, after all.

Don't forget that once fully industrialized, China and India will be looking to outsource as well.

The other major possible population centers for replacing China and India tend to have some rather severe problems, starting with lower population levels, not to mention the civil wars, the lack of even basic infrastructure in many areas.

Not saying that it won't happen even there, but the increased expense will tend to slow outsourcing stuff down such that the majority of production left in the USA will stay here.

Re:Not Bill Gate's problem (1)

Trailwalker (648636) | more than 5 years ago | (#24811161)

These posts assume that India and China will continue to exist in their present form.

China and India both have to resist internal pressures to splinter into a collection of smaller states. The break up of the former USSR is an recent example.

It is a seeming improbability that India has not already started to fall apart. Many Indian states are already autonomous, and political reality is that India has has deteriorated into an conglomeration of territories ruled over by "war lord" politicians who owe little loyalty either to the national government or any national political party.

Through out its history, China has osculated between centralization and fragmentation. The current Chinese government has held unified sway for only 60+ years. Conditions there may change quickly or slowly, but they will change.

Re:Not Bill Gate's problem (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#24811295)

These posts assume that India and China will continue to exist in their present form.

Your post assumes that this matters. I'm simply looking at population levels in a general manner, correlated with wage levels and support service availability.

China and India currently have the advantage of low wages combined with acceptable levels of support services(stuff like roads, electricity, etc...)

Whether China fragments into a dozen states or not, it doesn't matter as long as there isn't a huge amount of fighting. If there is, it'll create a pressure to keep jobs domestic or at least outsource to more stable areas(at the moment).

Re:Temporary problem... (1)

Butisol (994224) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810373)

Or US wages will decline to the level of Indian wages...

Downward spiral... (2, Interesting)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810489)

It's starting to happen. Give it another 20 years and Indian wages will be high enough that this sort of stuff won't happen because Indian wages will be almost as high as a US worker's wages.

Indian wages will rise and US wages will fall until they're in parity.

Our standard of living is falling here in the US (except for the very small minority of CEOs, politicians and stars). Yeah, it's rising in these third world countries, but the overall effect is that we'll never see the standard of living that our parent's generation (grandparent's generation for some of you) enjoyed. We're all in this downward spiral. Labor, regardless of how skilled it is, is a commodity.

I have a very pessimistic view of the future of this planet and I fear for you young folks who are just starting out.

Nice name.. (2, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810749)

Well, at least you have a good username for your spiel.

I don't think it's quite as bad as you think. Frankly, I'm surprised that we've stayed up as high as we have, and some turning points have happened faster than I thought.

Basically, the Indians and Chinese are coming up far faster than we're coming down. It doesn't help us that we're outnumbered about 2 to 1 (Including Europe, Canada, and Australia along with the USA). It also doesn't help that we're looking at the generation that gained the maximum benefit from outsourcing - cheap goods while still having relatively high incomes.

So yeah, I figure it's going to be a while before those of us in the USA and rest of Europe see a rise in standard of living other than through sheer technological progress. Buying a second home might not be as feasable to much of the population any more, but on the other hand we have much more effective medical(if expensive), cell phones, faster computers, bigger TVs, etc...

Re:This was quite predictable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24809961)

A list of measures that could help includes eradication of population in warm underdeveloped countries,

Wow, that was modded +3 insightful? You really meant to advocate genocide? Disgusting.

Re:This was quite predictable (1)

rumith (983060) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809991)

Not advocating genocide, just stating that theoretically it would solve the problem. Unfortunately for many, lots of people who do have enough power to exercise genocide do not find it disgusting (as the history has shown multiple times). If you still don't get it, treat that part of my post as an ill joke.

Re:This was quite predictable (1)

Kent Recal (714863) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810209)

Provided you have a sufficient number of dedicated employees, any technical problem is solvable.

Bzzt. Epic fail on your premise.

Re:This was quite predictable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810245)

"eradication of population", and you got modded 'insightful'..tsk

you 'eradicate' fools in developed countries like USA first, that will solve the problem for good.

Re:This was quite predictable (1)

rumith (983060) | more than 5 years ago | (#24811475)

Yes, terminating the target market of spammers should work nicely, too :). Also please see my reply regarding "advocating genocide" here [slashdot.org] .

Re:This was quite predictable (1)

PapayaSF (721268) | more than 5 years ago | (#24811165)

A list of measures that could help includes eradication of population in warm underdeveloped countries

I hate spam as much or more than the next fellow, but am unwilling to advocate "eradication of population" to solve it. And I find it amazing that a post that includes such a suggestion can get a +3 Insightful mod.

Re:This was quite predictable (1)

rumith (983060) | more than 5 years ago | (#24811507)

Please see my reply regarding "advocating genocide" here [slashdot.org] (you're at least the third poster who replied to me in this manner). In case you care, I am an ethnic Armenian, and due to certain events [wikipedia.org] in the history of my people you'll hardly find someone less sympathetic to the cause of promoting genocide as an instrument of fighting spam than I am.

antispam wetware (4, Funny)

Horar (521864) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809661)

Maybe the next logical step is for someone to start an industry based on organizing cheap labor to combat the spam that gets around our automated anti-spam measures. Fight fire with fire.

Re:antispam wetware (1)

erikina (1112587) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809901)

Uggghh... I hope you're going for funny mod.

Seriously, if it's come to this - I'd like a web-of-trust based reputation system. Take a look at the freenet project [freenetproject.org] , they got some very promising ideas.

Re:antispam wetware (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24809929)

Some of us are already doing this. I employ an India-based 'personal assistant' to do a lot of the pointless tasks I don't want to waste my time with.
This costs me $45 U.S. a month for about 15 hours work. One of the tasks she does for me is log into my email account a few times a day and delete and spam. Simple, really.

Re:antispam wetware (1)

Horar (521864) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810013)

Thanks for mentioning that because it is exactly the kind of service that I had in mind when I wrote my original comment. I'm just wondering where it will lead in another year or two as those 'personal assistant' businesses scale up and amalgamate in the same way that these nuisance businesses have been.

Re:antispam wetware (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810029)

There are plenty of anti-spam systems that aggregate 'This is spam' clicks from their users (I'm pretty sure that Google and Yahoo! do, I think there are systems that are more explicit about it).

The only payout is in supposedly lower spam->inbox rates though.

Re:antispam wetware (1)

Horar (521864) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810073)

Absolutely. I use gmail to filter my email for that very reason. However there is always still some spam that gets through and maybe adding some cheap intelligent labour to the system will get those false positives even closer to zero.

Captchas need to evolve (2, Interesting)

pcjunky (517872) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809705)

Instead of asking people to type in badly form text how about answering a question only an English speaker could. Like what is the forth word from the beginning of this sentence?

Re:Captchas need to evolve (1)

hcetSJ (672210) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809827)

Um, they speak English in India. At least, it's relatively common there compared to other parts of Asia (comes with the former-English-colony territory).

I've also seen a prediction that in some small number of years (like 10), China will become the world's largest English-speaking nation.

Re:Captchas need to evolve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24811149)

they speak English in India.

...and they probably can spell it better than the GP, as well.

Re:Captchas need to evolve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24809863)

Your plan is perfect, because these captcha solving droids do not understand English.

Piglatin is the only way to protect our Ticketmaster tickets!

Re:Captchas need to evolve (4, Funny)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810017)

Instead of asking people to type in badly form text how about answering a question only an English speaker could. Like what is the forth word from the beginning of this sentence?

Most brilliant ironic troll message...ever.

Re:Captchas need to evolve (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810127)

Instead of asking people to type in badly form text how about answering a question only an English speaker could. Like what is the forth word from the beginning of this sentence?

That would probably eliminate 80% of Americans.

Re:Captchas need to evolve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810773)

Instead of asking people to type in badly form text how about answering a question only an English speaker could.

It is an awesome idea to capitalize on language differences. With only 90 million English speakers in India, it seems like this step will significantly reduce the problem.

Re:Captchas need to evolve (1)

brjndr (313083) | more than 5 years ago | (#24811881)

It's estimated that 8% of India speaks English [wikipedia.org] , which would be 90 million people. That's second only to the United States.

Well, what do you expect? (1)

oiron (697563) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809755)

When the prevalent economic theory is that the entire responsibility of a corporation is to make a profit for the shareholders, and lots of willing serfs (hard to blame them, really) ready to do even the most dumb of tasks, here's where you end up. Well, here and gold farming on MMORPGs... Honestly, at least this is something with a practical purpose. Gold farming strikes me as one of the most pointless things you can do. "WILL BREAK CAPTCHAS FOR FOOD?"

Re:Well, what do you expect? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810063)

Gold farming is roughly equivalent to producing any sort of shlock media.

Someone is willing to pay for it and pretty much all it takes to produce it is a bit of time.

CAPTCHA Farming (1)

Scott Kevill (1080991) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809781)

The natural parallels with MMO gold-farming are interesting.. and depressing. The world is broken.

Re:CAPTCHA Farming (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809977)

I was rather thinking along the same lines, but with a little more extremism.

We've all heard the "thousand monkeys with typewriters" thing. Well, they actually HAVE a thousand monkeys with typewriters and they are using them. (And before anyone gets all cross-ways about my use of the term monkeys, to know me knows I use the term affectionately and I consider myself to be a monkey as well.) The fact of the matter is, there is such a tremendous disparity between standards of living between out "first world" and their "third world" that is was a matter of time before someone decided to tape the potential between the two. (The means by which we extract energy from everything is by exploiting the difference potential between two points whether that may be a difference in temperature or a difference in ionic charge or a difference in air density.) In this case, it's the difference in economic levels that is being exploited and it's a very dangerous and damaging path that is being taken. Consider what happens you have two vessels of liquid and a hose. A siphon can be created to exploit the difference in water levels. And while this could be made to boost the level in the more empty container, the more full container will forever lose its potential and value as nothing could, in turn, be used to re-fill its container -- the flow is exclusively one-way.

Now one might suggest that we simply shift to more advanced economies. We said that long ago when farmers were complaining... we said that when manufacturing workers were complaining... we say that today while information workers are complaining. The trouble is, once IP and information is fully exploited, what will be left to move on to? I'd say we just ran out of markets to be dominant in. And this is NOT new. This is exactly how the Roman and British empires fell.

Re:CAPTCHA Farming (2)

Scott Kevill (1080991) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810299)

Arbitrage. The differences tend to resolve themselves as an equilibrium is reached.

Re:CAPTCHA Farming (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810045)

The natural parallels with MMO gold-farming are interesting.. and depressing. The world is broken.

It's for added realism to the game.

It is that hard??? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24809843)

For everyone like me who has better things to do than memorize every know acronym. CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automatic Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart.

What is wrong with people on this website? Is it truly that hard to define an acronym at least once in a post? Proper English requires that the full name be given and then followed with the acronym in parenthesizes the first time it is used.

It would seem a website mostly visited by nerds and geeks of all kinds should be a little more intelligent than most but clearly the evidence shows most visitors and posters are just as dumb as the average. Idiocracy here we come! Do you have your crocks yet?

Re:It is that hard??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810331)

It would seem a website mostly visited by nerds and geeks of all kinds should be a little more intelligent than most

Yes, most of us are indeed more intelligent than most. That's how we know what CAPTCHA stands for, without being told.

clearly the evidence shows most visitors and posters are just as dumb as the average

By this, you mean the ones who don't know what a CAPTCHA is? The ones who spend minutes typing out a reply to bitch about the acronym not being spelled out, when googling for the acronym would only have taken a few seconds?

Best way to combat spam is to combat botnets (4, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809853)

The main reason spammers can keep doing what they do without consequences is that they are hard to track as they exploit users with insecure systems. You can't punish the companies that are advertised, because it would make it very easy for a competitor to get his rival in trouble by sending spam in the victim's name. You can't punish the users who have their machiens compromised and used tos end spam because you would hit a sizeable fraction of the population, virtually all of which simply did not know how to protect themselves.

No, there's only two places to adress the problem:

Firstly the ISPs could use traffic analysis to determine which of their users are infected and allert them about the problem. The problem with this aproach is that such systems could likely be abused to spy on the clients, so some strict regulation woudl be necessary.

Secondly you could start to actually penalise the main company responsible for having put millions and millions of extremely vulnerable systems into the wild. No, it's not just the fault of stupid users. Yes you would still get some infections because users are stupid, but it would likely be an order of magnitude fewer if it was not for Microsoft's downright pathetic security record. I know they made a bad attempt to adress it with UAC in Vista, but quite frankly they messed it up so bad that large number of users simply turn it off ( the fact they felt the need for a GUI setting that turns it off system wide says a lot about how messed up it is ). I'm not saying we should bitchslap every single software vendor that has security vulnerabilities in its code ( it is impractical for obvious reasons ) but when a company with the resoruces Microsoft has more or less ignores the problem for several years, and then makes a half arsed attempt at fixing it, then a charge of damage caused through gross negligence would not be out of line.

Re:Best way to combat spam is to combat botnets (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810415)

Users need education too,

If you have an infected computer , your routers outgoing traffic is likely to grow huge over time.
Why not Enable the routers outgoing logging?
This may be used to let you know the computer may be infected . Normal outgoing traffic will be things like automatic updates to anti virus , OS update checks and RSS feeds.and of course email requests and web page visits
    Let the machine idle for say several hours . Do not use it . If you have hundreds of K or many megabytes of outgoing data in your routers outgoing log, you may be infected or you need to to determine what is sending this traffic if legitimate.
  The point being .. People need to know what their computers are doing and too many don't know or care .
People want to treat a computer as an appliance
and it's too complicated to ever be just that .

Watermelon size cock formula, FREE DOWNLOAD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810807)

Best way to combat spam is to give away the crap they sell. No market no spam.

Pointers? (5, Funny)

Luthair (847766) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809875)

I wonder if they have any pointers, I fail at CAPTCHAs all the time.

Re:Pointers? (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#24811833)

const char* pointer = CAPTCHA; there you go

Turn it to advantage (4, Insightful)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809913)

If every site took up that reCaptcha thing [recaptcha.net] all these paid captcha-solvers would be helping to digitise thousands upon thousands of old books ... on the spammers' dime.

Re:Turn it to advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810885)

I checked out reCaptcha, and it's pretty cool. Then it dawned on me the system wouldn't know if it was asking users to solve a CAPTCHA of swear words... Which would be hilarious! (all the words come from books, so it's unlikely, but it could happen)

If used to digitize books (2, Interesting)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 5 years ago | (#24809955)

At 2.00 for a thousand capatas, they could probably scan and convert books at a pretty fast pace, too.

An army of people typing in a page at a time could probably turn out a complete book in less than an hour.

Lots of legal and illegal uses for that.

transporter_ii

It can be solved automatically and for free (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810031)

There are some open source or free captcha breakers out there already:

http://churchturing.org/captcha-dist/

http://network-security-research.blogspot.com/2008/01/yahoo-captcha-is-broken.html

etc.

Captcha is broken, captcha is dead. Stop pretending that half-measures will secure anything. It isn't real security and it never was.

business opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24810387)

Well there's a good opportunity for Google to fight back, they could have another army of Indian Data entry operators who delete posts by advertisers who've hacked the captcha's.

Interesting . . . (2, Interesting)

Quixote (154172) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810585)

A company rep was quoted in the article:

As 1 person can do 800 captcha entry per hour . . . .

Interestingly, that's also about the rate established by Ben Franklin for a manual postal worker to sort mail.

Text messages as CAPTCHAs (1)

wwb (75585) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810587)

Bank of America, and probably others, use something they call SafePass [bankofamerica.com] as the equivalent of a CAPTCHA: they send a text message to your cell phone which you have to type back into a web page.

In the end, how strong a CAPTCHA system you use comes down to who feels the pain. A few spam emails sent by our system? Small price to pay to sign up new users for our [email|blog|whatever] service. An unauthorized transfer of $any_amount that we'll have to cover? Clamp down hard.

Is this all true (2, Interesting)

feenberg (201582) | more than 5 years ago | (#24810821)

Are we sure any of this is really true? I can imagine that MS might find itself to slow to respond, but other players could. My guess is that these are classic "work at home" scams, where the victim is the hopefull worker, who sends money for a "kit" to start work, and then never gets any work to do. The claims about size and workload are merely details meant to add verisimilitude to an otherwise implausible story.

Change trust model: !accountable/accountable (2, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#24811171)

The trust model needs to be changed from "not human"/"human" to "not accountable/accountable."

If you can hold the person accountable for abuse, you can give him more privileges. Knowing who he is so you can bill him or sue him is one way to hold him accountable.

Those who are unable or unwilling to provide either real-life contact information or usable billing information will be stuck with limited services.

Those who live in countries where they cannot be held accountable will be similarly limited.

The Yahoos and Googles of tomorrow will offer free email accounts but limit traffic to so many outbound messages or outbound megabytes a day until the user turns over a credit card or notarized copy of his proof of identity and proof of address.

US or EU "culture" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24811353)

My experience is that Indians overal have no knowledge about US or EU "culture".

So working CAPTCHA's are:

????, Dewey, and Louie

I believe I can ???

don't let the ??? bugs bite

Resources (1)

localman (111171) | more than 5 years ago | (#24811621)

Some three billion people in poverty in the world, each with a mind more powerful than any computer (as proven by this task), looking to make a miniscule amount of money for themselves and their families. And this is the best the market can come up with? Sheesh.

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