The War Against Spam: A report from the front line

Brad Taylor
Dan Fingal
NIPS 2007 Workshop on Machine Learning in Adversarial Environments for Computer Security
Google Scholar


Fighting spam is a success story of real-world machine learning. Despite the occasional spam that does reach our inboxes, the overwhelming majority of spam — and there is a lot of it — is positively identified. At the same time, the rarity with which users feel the need to check their spam box for false positives demonstrates a high precision of classification. This paper is an overview of Google’s approach to fighting email abuse with machine learning, and a discussion of some lessons learned.

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