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Advocacy groups back antispam proposal

Three consumer groups announce support for a proposed e-mail standard aiming to help consumers and ISPs separate legitimate e-mail from unsolicited bulk e-mail.

Three consumer advocacy groups said they are backing a proposed e-mail standard that aims to help consumers and Internet service providers separate legitimate e-mail from unsolicited bulk e-mail, known as spam.

The groups, the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE), CAUCE Canada and the SpamCon Foundation, endorsed the Trusted E-mail Open Standard (TEOS), which was proposed in April. The approach is based on the work of a privacy consultancy, ePrivacy Group, which created the Trusted Sender technology--an industry self-regulation program that tries to distinguish between legitimate e-mail and spam, and prevent marketers from setting up fraudulent e-mail accounts.

Spammers often use misleading headers and return address information, effectively concealing their identity and offering no chance of refusal. Spammers may also hijack network resources, leaving Internet service providers or their unsuspecting customers with the bandwidth costs associated with delivering millions of e-mail messages.

The proposed standard is designed to help legitimate e-mail marketers make their mailings stand out from those of spammers, who regularly send pornographic invitations and fraudulent get-rich-quick business proposals.

The advocacy groups' support was announced at the Federal Trade Commission's three-day conference on spam, which began Wednesday.