Breathe coughs up for email protection

ISP breathe has signed up Mailkey to protect its customers from unwanted email

Faced with the surging tide of spam and viruses that is overwhelming UK users, Internet service provider breathe has signed up for Mailkey's email security system.

The move will help breathe customers to use Mailkey's Message Manager Service to block unwanted and unsolicited commercial mail.

"The problems caused by spam and viruses are a major concern for us. We need to provide our customers with the most effective solution to the problem and ensure that our high levels of service are maintained," explained Paul Hesketh, chief executive of breathe.

UK company Mailkey's Message Manager Service runs on an ISP's servers and lets users control their email at a secure Web page. They can create a 'white list' of email senders to accept messages from, or specify that emails should be rejected if they contain certain content.

Email can also be blocked if their subject line doesn't include the user's Mailkey -- a unique identification code that helps a user to block unsolicited mail. Breathe users will get a Mailkey when they register for the service, and will be encouraged to supply it to people from whom they wish to receive email.

With spam estimated to make up over 50 percent of all email traffic, many ISPs, email providers and software companies are addressing the problem. Yahoo is tightening up the spam filtering on its free Web mail service and last month, Microsoft told Hotmail users that it is planning to upgrade its service to support white lists.

Last Sunday, Bill Gates told the Comdex trade show that Microsoft is adding anti-spam functionality to Outlook. ""Another tough problem we've got today is spam," Gates said. "We believe these new approaches will shift the tide that between what we're doing with technology and what's being done on the legal front it makes the business proposition for spammers no longer attractive and we have got to keep working until we achieve that."'s Andy McCue contributed to this report.