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Whither WGIG?

Now, I don't like the word "whither" any more than you do. But this Reuters article was circulating yesterday and it seemed to call for a "whither." It's a short story, so let's do a close reading. "A U.N.-sponsored panel aims to settle a long-running tug of war for control of the Internet by July and propose solutions to problems such as cyber crime and email spam, panel leaders said on Monday." We're going to decide what "internet governance" is by July?  more

Spam Volume Redux

Several anti-spam companies talk about spam volumes in terms of a percentage of all inbound mail. Outsourced anti-spam services such as BlackSpider and Postini are currently quoting spam volumes in the 70%-85% range, having steadily grown over the last two+ years. That's nice, but it's actually hard to grasp what that means in absolute terms. more

How to Stop Spam

I got a letter the other day from AOL postmaster Carl Hutzler, about how the Internet community could get rid of spam, if it really wanted to. With his permission, here are some excerpts. "Spam is a completely solvable problem. And it does not take finding every Richter, Jaynes, Bridger, etc to do it (although it certainly is part of the solution). In fact it does not take email identity technologies either (although these are certainly needed and part of the solution)." more

Something's Cooking at IETF with Email Authentication

A few months ago, Ted Hardie (AD of Applications for the IETF) informed the MARID WG in the closure announcement as follows: "Given the importance of the world-wide email and DNS systems, it is critical that IETF-sponsored experimental proposals likely to see broad deployment contain no mechanisms that would have deleterious effects on the overall system. The Area Directors intend, therefore, to request that the experimental proposals be reviewed by a focused technology directorate..." more

2004: The Year That Promised Email Authentication

As the year comes to a close, it is important to reflect on what has been one of the major actions in the anti-spam arena this year: the quest for email authentication. With email often called the "killer app" of the Internet, it is important to reflect on any major changes proposed, or implemented that can affect that basic tool that many of us have become to rely on in our daily lives. And, while many of the debates involved myriads of specialized mailing lists, standards organizations, conferences and even some government agencies, it is important for the free and open source software (FOSS) community as well as the Internet community at large, to analyze and learn lessons from the events surrounding email authentication in 2004. more

A Political Analysis of SPF and Sender-ID

In my spare time when I'm not dealing with the world of e-mail, I'm a politician so now and then I put on my cynical political hat. At the FTC Authentication Summit one of the more striking disagreements was about the merits and flaws of SPF and Microsoft's Sender-ID. Some people thought they are wonderful and the sooner we all use them the better. Others thought they are deeply flawed and pose a serious risk of long-term damage to the reliability of e-mail. Why this disagreement over what one might naively think would be a technical question? more

The FTC Authentication Summit

The Federal Trade Commission and NIST had a two-day Authentication Summit on Nov 9-10 in Washington DC. When they published their report explaining their decision not to create a National Do Not Email Registry, the FTC identified lack of e-mail authentication as one of the reasons that it wouldn't work, and the authentication summit was part of their process to get some sort of authentication going. At the time the summit was scheduled, the IETF MARID group was still active and most people expected it to endorse Microsoft's Sender-ID in some form, so the summit would have been mostly about Sender-ID. Since MARID didn't do that, the summit had a broader and more interesting agenda. more

EFF Files Brief in Support of Email Privacy

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in a case that could have a profound effect on the privacy of Internet communications. The brief argues that the decision in US v. Councilman, soon to be reheard by the full First Circuit, should be overturned. more

AOL Fires Across the Bow of Spam-Friendly ISPs

The North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) conference, a gathering of Internet Service Provider (ISP) engineers and vendors convenes three times a year for mostly technical conversation along with social networking. The recent NANOG conference in Reston Virginia saw some unusually direct talk about Spam and the ISPs that tolerate it from America Online's Postmaster, Charles Stiles. more

Sender-ID Back from the Dead

With the closure of IETF's MARID group a month ago, many of us have left Microsoft's Sender-ID standard for the dead. After being rejected by the Apache Foundation and the Debian Project over licensing issues, and causing the closure of MARID for some of the same issues (in addition to already long running technical ones), some thought that Microsoft may have just buried it and gone on to better things like IETF's new MAILSIG group (in formation). But just like the ghost of Hamlet's father it just refuses to die and now it looks like it is coming back to life in a new reincarnation... more