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AOL blocks 2bn spam emails in one day

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After committing to cut the amount of spam received by its members, AOL has more than doubled the number of emails being intercepted
AOL on Wednesday said it repelled more than two billion unsolicited commercial emails in a single day this week. Along with most Internet service providers and email services, the company has taken up arms to stem the waves of junk emails inundating peoples in-boxes.

The announcement was timed to coincide with the Federal Trade Commission's first public conference on spam, which started on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, AOL formed an alliance with Microsoft and Yahoo! with a goal of overhauling how email is created and sent, in an effort to counter how spammers operate.

AOL and Microsoft also recently filed suit separately against individuals and companies that are allegedly blasting spam to their members.

The problem has become so widespread that federal lawmakers are trying to craft policy to punish spammers. Earlier this month, a pair of US senators reintroduced a bill, called the CAN-SPAM Act, that would make it a federal offence to send spam using false return email addresses. Senator Charles Schumer and Republican Zoe Lofgren are also proposing bills to combat spam.

AOL said that it reached a milestone when it blocked 2.37 billion pieces of spam email in one day this week -- a sign that its filtering technology is apparently improving. In March, it prevented just more than one billion junk emails a day from reaching its members' in-boxes.

The company said it now blocks about 70 percent to 80 percent of all incoming Internet email traffic as spam.

In addition to tightening its filters, AOL said it is blocking such a high volume of email because it is receiving more systematic reports from members about spam and because it is working with other ISPs to target and block specific ranges of IP addresses know to be used by spammers.

AOL's announcement, however, in no way amounts to a victory. Spammers are notoriously efficient at figuring out how to keep their emails coming.