EarthLink Unveils Anti-Spam Service

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Internet service provider EarthLink yesterday debuted a new anti-spam service called E-mail Protection Agency, or EPA.

EarthLink said it designed EPA as both an extra service for its ISP subscribers and as a resource for the Internet community at large in its fight against spam. EarthLink, Atlanta, three years ago waged a seminal legal battle against "spam king" Sanford Wallace and Cyber Promotions. EPA has three main functions: filtering unsolicited and inappropriate e-mail, screening for viral attachments and strengthening spam-related legal protections.

The new service will use a filtering technology called the Spaminator, which intercepts junk e-mail before it reaches subscribers' mailboxes. The e-mails are then placed in special folders where subscribers can determine whether or not to open them.

A second focus of the EPA is to bolster EarthLink's efforts to support legislation and regulations that create legal penalties for spammers and virus writers. The thought is that the EPA can accumulate information and/or proof of the damage caused by spam and spammers.

EarthLink was the plaintiff in one of the industry's watershed spam lawsuits -- a $2 million settlement won against Cyber Promotions in March 1998. The decision also prohibited Cyber Promotions and Wallace from conducting a host of spam-related activities to third parties as well.

The EPA also intends to weed out computer viruses that are contained in e-mail attachments. The ISP provided no details, however, about this planned function.

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