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Amazon, others lobby FTC for help fighting spam

In an open letter, 35 organizations call for a more rapid rollout of e-mail authentication tools.

The global war on junk e-mail has signed up some new supporters--an alliance of 35 companies and organizations that are uniting to make their concerns known to the Federal Trade Commission.

In an open letter to Deborah Majoras, chairwoman of the FTC, the signatories, which include Amazon.com, Cisco Systems, CipherTrust, EarthLink, eBay, Microsoft, Symantec and VeriSign, call for a more rapid rollout of e-mail authentication technologies.

The letter says spammers are "undermining users' trust and confidence" in e-mail and the Internet, and the letter calls upon the FTC to take action in order to protect Internet users and legitimate businesses.

"Despite our progress, spammers have become more creative and deceptive," the letter says. "Fraudulent practices such as phishing are increasingly robbing individuals of their security, privacy and financial assets. No one company can solve this problem alone. This is why we are working together to lead the adoption of e-mail authentication technologies."

"As industry leaders," the letter added, "we share a responsibility for protecting users from the blight of online threats. While many of us compete in the marketplace, we stand united in our fight against spam and phishing."

The letter, which is also endorsed by the Anti-Phishing Working Group and Truste, expresses support for Sender ID Framework and signature-based authentication, and it calls for greater involvement from Internet service providers.

"By deploying both IP- and signature-based solutions, we will ultimately have a more robust solution," the letter says. "As we speak, this technology is in early deployment and shows significant promise and, therefore, businesses and ISPs should initiate the implementation of (Sender ID Framework) and publish their records today."

While accepting that such technologies won't eliminate spam altogether, Paul Judge, CTO at CipherTrust, said, "It is encouraging to see many organizations rally around the importance of e-mail authentication protocols such as Sender ID Framework in order to eliminate spoofing and greatly affect the problems of phishing and spamming."

Judge added, "The industry's continued support throughout the adoption process is a critical step in eliminating the threat of spoofing and phishing, and this most recent collaboration is a means to that end."

Will Sturgeon of Silicon.com reported from London.