Feeds

Spam killing Haikus come to Europe

Poetic justice in the Netherlands

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Habeas, a start-up which embeds haikus in email headers to certify messages are from opt-in lists and not spam, has clinched its first deal in Europe.

Netherlands-based ISP Villa Hosting has adopted the Habeas Sender Warranted Email service to improve its ability to distinguish between genuine email and spam.

John Caspers, chief executive of Villa Hosting, said the ISP is finding software filters designed to block spam are also capturing opt-in mail and legitimate commercial email by mistake because they share some of the same characteristics. "Habeas gives us an effective tool to distinguish legitimate mail from spam."

Habeas' patent-pending service works by trademarking and copyrighting a unique set of lines, known as the warrant mark, which is embedded in the headers of outgoing email. Included is a haiku, a 17-syllable Japanese poem.

Copyright offers legal protection to the poetry. Trademark offers legal protection to other parts of the email header.

Free to individuals and ISPs, enterprises pay an annual licence fee for the Habeas service. Commercial bulk email providers sending verified permission mailings pay based on the volume of their mail.

Habeas customers include Microsoft's WebTV division and Outblaze, a Hong Kong-based outsourcer for large e-mail service providers. The company began operations last month.

Spammers who improperly use the Habeas warrant mark can be prosecuted under international trademark and copyright law. Habeas can seek penalties of $1 million and more, shut down offenders through injunction, and in severe cases refer them for criminal prosecution.

That's the theory. Unfortunately, experience has shown the law to be an uncertain, and slow moving means to shut down spammers. Also spammers who make no attempt to forge the Habeas warrant mark will still be able to get their email through to the vast majority of potential victims.

Habeas' service only deals with a small part of the spamming problem, enabling opt-in email lists to identify their content as wanted, and getting around the problem of false positives with automatic spam filters.

Still, unlike the TRUSTe scheme, which aimed to create a "trusted sender" program to assure customers that they won't get ripped off when they respond to email offers, Habeas service may make life harder for spammers while ensuring people get the email they requested.

And, to its credit, Habeas says the spam-killing Haiku complements, rather than replaces, popular desktop or server-level spam filtering solutions, and services from the likes of Spamhaus Project (which help ISPs battle unwanted email by maintaining lists of Internet sites that spam). ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network
Take your license demand and stick it in your ASSIA
Right to be forgotten should apply to Google.com too: EU
And hey - no need to tell the website you've de-listed. That'll make it easier ...
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.