The developers of the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) email authentication technology have requested that the Internet Engineering Task Force revoke approval of Microsoft's "conflicting" Sender ID Framework's designation as an "experimental protocol," reports ComputerBusinessReview (via TechDirt). If the request is approved, or Microsoft is compelled to make changes in Sender ID, its anti-spam strategy would likely be dealt a serious setback.
Sender ID and SPF - both given the IETF's blessing as "experimental" in June - offer ways to identify the senders of email, which is theoretically a useful way of reducing spam and phishing. But, in practical terms, the concept has already proven suspect, with spammers beginning to use authentication.
The crux of the conflict between the two protocols lies in false positives - messages that recipients want but which end up tagged as spam - and the SPF Council claims Microsoft's Sender-ID Framework causes them, writes EmailBattles. The SPF Council's request argues that the IETF should not implicitly endorse "experiments" that conflict with one another because that makes it harder to extract useful results.
Some have already suggested that the the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG), a division of IETF, should publish neither SIDF nor SPF until their differences can be worked out. Meanwhile, spammers likely don't care either way and are ready to adopt any standard that helps them convince recipients of their email's authenticity, writes EmailBattles.