FTC Sets E-Mail ID Summit for November

The Federal Trade Commission will hold an e-mail authentication summit Nov. 9-10 in Washington, the agency said.

It is intended to spur the e-mail industry to adopt e-mail identity standards. The FTC said the two-day conference would focus on the challenges of implementing a domain-level identity technology and how such a standard would affect spam.

The FTC will hold the summit along with the National Institute of Standards and Technology. A Federal Registry notice published Sept. 15 requests comments on 30 questions, including e-mail identity's effect on spam; potential challenges for Internet service providers who participate in a standard; and whether an e-mail authentication system can be rolled out in a reasonable time.

Comments and requests to participate in the summit can be e-mailed to the FTC at authenticationsummit@ftc.gov. The comment period closes Sept. 30.

Microsoft and AOL plan to implement domain-level e-mail authentication technologies before the end of the year. Yahoo plans to check incoming e-mail using DomainKeys, its content-signing technology.

The FTC planned for an authentication summit when it rejected the idea of a do-not-e-mail list in June. The commission noted that establishing a secure e-mail identity, preferably by the e-mail industry, would do more to fight spam than a registry. If the private market fails to reach an authentication standard, the FTC said it then would convene an advisory committee as a step toward implementing a federal solution. It stressed that such a step would require congressional action and was not its preferred route.

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