Email Providers Gear Up For Sender ID - Questioning Sender ID and Its Limitations
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AOL, which initially backed the Sender ID system, retracted its position after this news and after it was taking too long for email providers to support it. Also, Sender ID was flawed in that it conflicted with AOL’s other spam blocking technology. The IEFT also ended their work on it for the time being, stating that "From the outset...the working group participants have had fundamental disagreements." Open source groups denounced the technology because of the harsh restrictions. People were declaring that Sender ID was essentially dead, but Microsoft wasn’t ready to let go.
So Microsoft loosened its patent and restrictions while continuing development. To skip a lot of details, AOL is now supporting Microsoft and the IEFT is working on trying to establish a functional standard again, though not necessarily with Microsoft.
In late June, Microsoft announced their plans to fully implement Sender ID in their Hotmail service by November. Microsoft is trying to deliver the technology by giving email providers fair warning before they start blocking noncompliant emails. The trouble is that many email providers and experts feel that they are being shoved into using a technology that is not a standard and is still host to numerous flaws. Other companies, like Yahoo, have been developing similar and competing security technologies.
To be compliant with Microsoft’s work, email providers will need to basically take an inventory or their servers and publish a set of SPF documents. Microsoft feels they have provided plenty of warning for others to comply with Sender ID. Meanwhile, some hosts have spoken out that they are too busy with their work to be concerned with learning a new set of technologies that are not even established and proven yet.
One of the shortcomings that people are citing is that email forwarding will no longer work. For instance, if your university or work account forwards all email you receive to another email where you read it, the Sender ID information does not pass. If Microsoft wants wide implementation, they need to solve problems like this, which migh mean changing how email is forwarded.
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