Here’s a fantastic idea that won’t be appearing soon with a Cisco or HP badge on it. It’s a device called “Spamtrap” that collects nuisance email using honeypot email addresses, prints them out in real time, and then simply shreds each one into a big heap on the floor.

It’s not a joke, or if it is, it’s a good one.

I warm to Spamtrap, and who wouldn’t? It is utterly useless in its function, but it puts humanistic rage against the machine into material form. The fact that Spamtrap also notes the senders in order to feed data into a blacklist just ads to its appeal (let’s ignore the fact that few of these addresses will be the real sender).

You can find out more about this art installation here and even watch it in action by visiting the site of creator Bill Shackelford. Marvel at the way he has hitched up a simple inkjet printer and PC to a high-powered shredder without the phenomenon of paper jamming (inkjet makers please take notice). It even looks menacing.

I’d like to suggest some future directions for this innovation:

1. Turn it into a personal desktop, USB-attached device so we can all enjoy the pastime of shredding email we don’t want.

2. Rig it up so that every time someone legitimate (ie. not a spam-bot) sends us something we don’t want to receive or read ((ie. most company communication) they receives a little jpeg of their email after it has been shredded. No offence of course.

3. Turn this into a remote service, and specify a special protocol for the sending of such unwanted emails in encrypted form to centrally-sited corporate shredding machines. Call it DSP, desktop shredding protocol.

4. Turn it into a desktop screensaver that appears on the sender’s PC in the event of 2, above. Get MS to integrate such technology this into Vista II when that appears.

5. Why stop at spam? There is an untapped market for shredding word documents, PDFs of single-page press releases, and even instant messages.

6. Take said shredded spam and stuff pillows with it. Give these pillows to inmates at a special high-tech prison built to house spammers, and only spammers. Force them to read their own spam to qualify for early release.

He now gets even more spam, by the way.