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Spam data to be shared by ISP's

A set of guidelines may pave the way for dozens of ISPs (internet service providers) to participate in a Cambridge University research project into the problem of spam, estimated to comprise 60 percent or more of the world's email traffic.

The guidelines concern how ISPs should deal with sensitive issues such as customer privacy and data-protection laws, while cooperating to shut down machines propagating spam, said Martin Hutty, head of public relations for the Linx (London Internet Exchange), a group of around 220 ISPs and network providers.

When an email is sent from a machine using one ISP to another, both ISPs hold details that can be used to detect spam and locate the machine where the message originated, Hutty said. A user may have been infected with a Trojan horse program, through which a hacker has gained control of the machine and is using it to send spam, he said.

The guidelines will open the door for ISPs that want to participate in spamHINTS, an ongoing r...

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