MARF Working Group                                               J. Falk
Internet-Draft                                               Return Path
Updates: 5965 (if approved)                            September 1, 2011
Intended status: Standards Track
Expires: March 4, 2012

 Creation and Use of Email Feedback Reports: An Applicability Statement
                  for the Abuse Reporting Format (ARF)


   RFC 5965 defines an extensible, machine-readable format intended for
   mail operators to report feedback about received email to other
   parties.  This document describes one common method for utilizing
   this format for reporting at scale between large mailbox providers,
   and from large mailbox providers to other mail sending entities.

Status of this Memo

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on March 4, 2012.

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   document authors.  All rights reserved.

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   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

1.  Introduction

   The Abuse Reporting Format (ARF) was initially developed for two very
   specific use cases.  Initially, it was intended to be used for
   reporting feedback between large email operators, or from large email
   operators to end user network access operators, any of whom could be
   presumed to have automated abuse-handling systems.  Secondarily, it
   is used by those same large mail operators to send those same reports
   to other entities, including those involved in sending bulk email for
   commercial purposes.  In either case, the reports would be triggered
   by direct end user action such as clicking on a "report spam" button
   in their email client.

   Though other uses for the format defined in [RFC5965] have been
   discussed (and may be documented similarly in the future), those were
   (and remain) the primary applications.

   Further introduction to this topic may be found in

1.1.  Definitions

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119], and are
   intended to replace the Requirement Levels described in section 3.3
   of [RFC2026].

   Some of the terminology used in this document is taken from

   "Mailbox Provider" refers to an organization that accepts, stores,
   and offers access to [RFC5322] messages ("email messages") for end
   users.  Such an organization MUST have implemented SMTP ([RFC5321]),
   and MAY provide access to messages through IMAP ([RFC3501]), POP
   ([RFC1939]), a proprietary interface designed for HTTP ([RFC2616]),
   or a proprietary protocol.

Applicability Statement?

   [RFC Editor: please remove this section prior to publication.]

   This document is part of the experiment to reintroduce Applicability
   Statements, as defined in section 3.2 of [RFC2026], to the

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   Applications Area.

1.2.  Discussion

   [RFC Editor: please remove this section prior to publication.]

   This document is being discussed within the IETF MARF Working Group,
   on the mailing list.

2.  Creating and Sending Complaint-Based Reports

   1.  A Mailbox Provider receives reports of abusive or unwanted mail
       from their users, most often by providing a "report spam" button
       (or similar nomenclature) in the MUA.  The method of transferring
       this message and any associated metadata from the MUA to the
       Mailbox Provider's ARF processing system is not defined by any
       standards document, but is discussed further in section 3.2 of
       [I-D.jdfalk-maawg-cfblbcp].  Policy concerns related to the
       collection of this data are discussed in section 3.4 of
   2.  The Mailbox Provider SHOULD process the reports to improve their
       spam filtering systems.  The design of these systems is discussed
       in [RFC2505] and elsewhere.
   3.  The Mailbox Provider SHOULD (but is not required to) send reports
       to relevant parties who have requested to receive such reports.
       The reports MUST be formatted per [RFC5965], and transmitted as
       an [RFC5322] message using [RFC5321].  The process whereby such
       parties may request the reports is discussed in section 3.5 of
   4.  The reports SHOULD use "Feedback-Type: abuse", but MAY use other
       types if appropriate.  However, the Mailbox Provider generating
       the reports SHOULD NOT assume that the operator receiving the
       reports will treat different Feedback-Types differently.
   5.  The reports SHOULD include the following optional fields:
       Original-Mail-From, Arrival-Date, Source-IP, Original-Rcpt-To.
       Other optional fields MAY be included, as the implementor feels
       is appropriate.
   6.  Ongoing maintenance of an ARF processing system is discussed in
       section 3.6 of [I-D.jdfalk-maawg-cfblbcp].

3.  Receiving and Processing Complaint-Based Reports

   1.  At the time this document is being written, for the use cases
       described here, mail operators need to proactively request a
       stream of ARF reports from Mailbox Providers.  Recommendations
       for preparing to make that request are discussed in section 4.1

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       of [I-D.jdfalk-maawg-cfblbcp].
   2.  Mail operators MUST be prepared to receive reports formatted per
       [RFC5965] as [RFC5322] messages via [RFC5321].  These and other
       types of [RFC5322] messages which may be received at discussed in
       section 4.2 of [I-D.jdfalk-maawg-cfblbcp].
   3.  Mail operators SHOULD utilize an automated system to receive and
       process these reports, as discussed in section 4.4 of
   4.  This system MUST accept all Feedback-Types defined in [RFC5965],
       but implementors SHOULD NOT assume that Mailbox Providers will
       use any Feedback-Type other than "abuse".  Additional logic may
       be required to separate different types of abuse reports after
   5.  Implementors SHOULD NOT expect all Mailbox Providers to include
       the same optional fields.
   6.  Actions that mail operators MAY take upon receiving a report (or
       multiple reports) are discussed in section 4.3 of

4.  Other Applications

   What is described here is the most common application of [RFC5965],
   and provides a starting point for additional applications, but it is
   certainly not the only possible application.  Other uses for ARF
   could include direct complaint submissions from MUAs, reports
   triggered by mail sent to "spam trap" addresses without human
   involvement, reports of authentication failures, virus reports, and
   so forth.  These applications may be described in other IETF

5.  IANA Considerations

   [RFC Editor: please remove this section prior to publication.]

   This document has no IANA actions.

6.  Security Considerations

   Implementers are strongly urged to review, at a minimum, the Security
   Considerations sections of [RFC5965] and [I-D.jdfalk-maawg-cfblbcp].

7.  Acknowledgements

   This document is a product of the IETF MARF Working Group, chaired by

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   Barry Leiba and Murray Kucherawy.  The idea to present it in the form
   of an Applicability Statement originated (I believe) with Pete

   All of the Best Practices referenced by this document are found in
   [I-D.jdfalk-maawg-cfblbcp], written within the Collaboration
   Committee of the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) -- which
   is described further in [I-D.jdfalk-maawg-cfblbcp].

   Finally, I must thank the doctors and staff at the University of
   Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for doing what they do.

8.  References

8.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC5321]  Klensin, J., "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol", RFC 5321,
              October 2008.

   [RFC5322]  Resnick, P., Ed., "Internet Message Format", RFC 5322,
              October 2008.

   [RFC5598]  Crocker, D., "Internet Mail Architecture", RFC 5598,
              July 2009.

   [RFC5965]  Shafranovich, Y., Levine, J., and M. Kucherawy, "An
              Extensible Format for Email Feedback Reports", RFC 5965,
              August 2010.

8.2.  Informative References

              Falk, J., "Complaint Feedback Loop Best Current
              Practices", draft-jdfalk-maawg-cfblbcp-01 (work in
              progress), June 2011.

   [RFC1939]  Myers, J. and M. Rose, "Post Office Protocol - Version 3",
              STD 53, RFC 1939, May 1996.

   [RFC2026]  Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision
              3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, October 1996.

   [RFC2505]  Lindberg, G., "Anti-Spam Recommendations for SMTP MTAs",
              BCP 30, RFC 2505, February 1999.

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   [RFC2616]  Fielding, R., Gettys, J., Mogul, J., Frystyk, H.,
              Masinter, L., Leach, P., and T. Berners-Lee, "Hypertext
              Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1", RFC 2616, June 1999.

              4rev1", RFC 3501, March 2003.

Author's Address

   J.D. Falk
   Return Path
   100 Mathilda Street, Suite 100
   Sunnyvale, CA  94089


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