Antispam and trust services suppliers ePrivacy Group has proposed an open standard for e-mail that could help in the fight against unsolicited spam.
The company said that its Trusted E-mail Open Standard (TEOS) could help sort spam from legitimate e-mail using technologies that add verifiable sender identification and content assertions.
TEOS is based on e-mail identity and content assertion technology already used by some marketers and internet service providers as part of the Trusted Sender program, which ePrivacy Group operates in conjunction with Truste, a non-profit organisation that has established a consumer privacy certification and seal program.
TEOS proposes to add a layer of security to the existing Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP), which is a standard protocol used to move e-mail across the internet. The TEOS layer would, essentially, assure recipients that mail is from someone they want to hear from.
At its most basic level, TEOS creates a framework of trusted identity for e-mail senders based on secure, fast, lightweight signatures in e-mail headers.
Stephen Cobb, vice-president of research and education at ePrivacy Group, said the company is introducing the idea for the open standards to try to build support within the industry.
"We're discussing it with America Online, Microsoft, Yahoo! and [companies] like that," Cobb said. "The plan is to keep badgering" the internet community.
Cobb hoped that some of the big players will create some sort of authority to oversee e-mail practices in an effort to improve the fight against spam.