Internet service providers wage war on junk E-mail

Internet service providers wage war on junk E-mailThe war against junk E-mail has shifted into high gear in the US as proposed laws and new technologies fight a deluge of what is now known as ‘spam’, writes Tom Foremski.
The situation has gotten so bad, that major Internet service providers (ISPs) are sometimes unable to deliver or send legitimate E-mail because their mail servers are clogged with spam. Recently, major California ISP Pacific Bell Internet said that spam prevented tens of thousands of its users from sending E-mail over a 24 hour period.
ISPs such as America Online and others have resorted to lawsuits against major spam organisations and there is wide support for a new law in California that would make it easier for ISPs to file lawsuits and claim damages of $50 per spam E-mail. While this law may work against the largest spammers, it is often difficult to trace the source of spam.
Many ISPs run filtering systems which block E-mail from certain addresses or domain names, but this can also lead to the blocking of legitimate E-mail, angering many ISP customers.
“It’s one thing getting your in-box filled with spam but when I can’t E-mail my mother because her ISP is blocking mail from my ISP, there has to be a better solution,” says Mary Dunlap an office manager with a large US insurance company.
Some companies are offering innovative technologies to filter spam. Sendmail, for example, offers a feature with its E-mail software that checks to see if incoming mail has a valid return address.
“Technology alone can not eliminate spam,” says Eric Allman, chief technology officer of Sendmail. “But after extensive testing at alpha and beta sites, we are confident that our toolset approach is the most capable weapon available against the spread of spam.”


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