Last week, I wrote about DomainKeys, Sender Policy Framework (SPF), and CallerID for E-Mail. All three technologies have been submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as draft proposals. Since then, the developers of SPF and Microsoft (the developer of CallerID) have agreed to merge the two technologies into one. A new draft proposal will be created and submitted to the IETF; however, the name for the new technology has yet to be formalized.
If you're interested in some of the ideas regarding how the two technologies will operate after they're merged, be sure to read Meng Weng Wong's outline of how things might pan out. Wong is one of the SPF developers, and you can find his outline in the SPF mailing list archives.
Last week, I pointed out that people who intend to use any or all of the three new technologies to help filter unwanted email will also need to use other technologies in combination with them because none of the three new technologoies, not even all of them together, will completely stop unwanted email. A reader of this newsletter who also participates in the SPF mailing list asked SPF mailing list members whether my statement was true. The short answer is "yes," and another list member explains why.
Another reader of this newsletter wrote to tell me that his Hotmail account is spam free. That may be true; however, I doubt that all other Hotmail accounts are in the same situation. Regardless, the way Hotmail (or any technology, for that matter) eliminates junk mail is to filter it by any of the available various methods, because that's the only way to do it without resorting to short-term disposable email addresses. Of course, such filtering relies on a variety of parameters, including known junk-mail-message content, known domains and networks that service spammers, open mail relays, keywords, key phrases, content types, block lists, allow lists, and so on. In the near future, DomainKeys and the combined SPF/CallerID will be a couple of additional mechanisms that will definitely be used for mail filtering. As you may know, the current rendition of SPF is already part of several mail-filtering packages; undoubtedly, such integration will continue. If you intend to curb unwanted email, you'll need to adapt to a method of filtering and tune that method as necessary.