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). ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.