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The Email Sender and Provider Coalition Unveils Project Lumos Technical Architecture for Eradicating Spam

Details of Proposed Registry in New White Paper; Calls for Secure Sender Identity and Reputation Service for All High-Volume Senders

Washington, D.C., September 29, 2003 -- The Email Sender and Provider Coalition (ESPC), formed by the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) to address the growing problem of spam, today announced technical specifications and requirements necessary for the development of a robust system designed to eradicate spam by attacking the root of the problem-a lack of secure identity and accountability in email.

This unique registry approach, named Project Lumos, provides Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and others with a means of securely identifying and authenticating email senders. By calling for full and secure disclosure of sender identity, Project Lumos allows ISPs to monitor and track the quality of mail senders, thereby ensuring that these senders are held accountable for their sending practices and the content of their messages. Aware that spam causes ISPs to incur enormous financial costs and wasted time, the ESPC has designed Project Lumos so that it can be implemented in less than twelve months with existing technologies and a commitment by the leading email senders and service providers.

The fight against spam has been highly challenging, in large part because most unsolicited commercial email is untraceable. Project Lumos addresses this problem by requiring mail senders to authenticate their identity, holding senders accountable for all their email practices and differentiating legitimate senders from illegitimate ones. Through Project Lumos, senders are verified with secure certification and are issued electronic credentials and records. This enables ISPs to closely monitor the senders' mail and "score" the sender based upon their performance, effectively quantifying their "reputation". Because each sender is easily identifiable, ISPs have the ability to respond directly to senders not adhering to the ISPs' spam regulations, and users can easily report unwanted mail and confidently opt-out of email correspondence.

"Spam is one of the most costly and time-consuming challenges to plague ISPs and recipients. Identifying legitimate mail senders and enforcing best practices is the most effective way to curb spam," said Trevor Hughes, executive director of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. "Project Lumos is an architecture that works for everyone, including ISPs, users, and legitimate mailers that do not want their emails accidentally deleted or incorrectly identified as spam."

"While there have been endless attempts at blocking spam with technology that 'guesses' which email is good and which is bad, Project Lumos takes a different approach by spelling out how we eradicate this plague at the infrastructure level," said Hans Peter Brondmo, SVP at Digital Impact and co-author of the white paper. "If email is to survive, we can no longer allow anonymous senders to blast billions of unsolicited emails pushing pornography and bigger body parts. Project Lumos lays out a practical and cost effective means of making it impossible for spammers to operate in their deceptive and abusive manner without accountability."

White Paper Illustrates Architecture and Its Easy Implementation
Details of Project Lumos technical architecture were unveiled today in a white paper entitled "Project Lumos: A Solutions Blueprint for Solving the Spam Problem by Establishing Volume Email Sender Accountability." The white paper illustrates how the registry can easily be implemented in conjunction with current spam fighting technology. The white paper also provides a blueprint for easy implementation of Project Lumos by ISPs. Project Lumos will allow ISPs, without significant infrastructure changes, to quickly and inexpensively reject mail connections from spammers without needing to accept, store and analyze the fraudulent mail. This should dramatically reduce the amount of resources required to handle spam.

ESPC is encouraging reviews, recommendations, and comments from the industry. For information and to download the white paper, click here.

About NAI's Email Sender and Provider Coalition:
The Email Sender and Provider Coalition (ESPC) was formed in November 2002 by the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) to fight spam while protecting the delivery of legitimate email. The ESPC is comprised of 37 members including aQuantive, Blue Dolphin, Digital Impact, DoubleClick, Experian, IMN, and Roving Software. The ESPC members have recognized the need for strong spam solutions that ensure the delivery of legitimate email. To this end, the ESPC has created several crucial sub-committees, including legislative and technical committees, which have been very active in the war against spam. Our flagship initiative, Project Lumos, is an industry proposal for a registry-based solution to the spam problem. For more information on Project Lumos or ESPC, please visit

Kathleen Bagley
blast! PR for ESPC
(919) 833-9975

To download a copy of the Project Lumos White Paper, click here.

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