E-Mail Competence Group

The E-Mail Competence Group is an integral part of the German Internet industry with regard to the current developments in the email sector. The companies participating in the E-Mail CG generate the majority of email traffic in Germany and neighbouring European countries. The group provides an informal and unbureaucratic means of solving technical problems and agreeing on new developments.

The E-Mail CG’s mission is to establish standards that cover all areas of email and support the smooth operation of the respective business models.

It is a closed group, as the handling of email is a sensitive subject. The email data is valuable and needs protecting, and in order to find solutions to new challenges, participants have to be able to talk more openly about their systems than would be possible in a public forum. However, participation in the group is open to all eco ISPs. Furthermore, invitations for other qualified participants can be issued by the group.

Recognised experts lead the E-Mail CG: Andre Görmer, Mapp Digital Germany GmbH, representing the side of the senders (ESPs) and Patrick Ben Koetter, CEO of sys4 AG, representing the side of the ISPs. At the beginning of 2022, the Competence Group consisted of 91 participants from 52 companies.

The motto of the E-Mail CG meeting on 3 February 2022 was “Email from a Marketeer’s Perspective”.

Our two speakers, Andre Görmer, MAPP digital, CG Leader, and Anna Balmes, lawyer at Wilde Beuger Solmeke, Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft mbB, shed light on this exciting topic, not only from a technical but also from a legal perspective. The (German-language) presentations from the meeting can be found exclusively for eco members in the members+ area at https://international.eco.de/topics/e-mail/downloads/.

The Competence Group developed the document Email Authentication for Recipients, which explains how SPF, DKIM and DMARC work together to provide a mechanism for verifying the authenticity of incoming messages. This effectively protects recipients from abusive messages.

At the Internet Security Days the E-Mail CG offered a workshop on email authentication entitled “Email – Securing Deliverability and Preventing Identity Abuse”, which was very well received. In this workshop, the Leader of the E-Mail CG, Patrick Ben Koetter, as well as Florian Vierke, Senior Manager, Deliverability Services – Mapp Digital Germany GmbH, shed light on the legal basics, technical implementation and, above all, the right approach when introducing SPF, DKIM and DMARC.

Encouraged by the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), the CG met on 25 July 2022 to collect comments on the two planned Technical Guidelines TR-03108 (Secure Email Transport) and TR-03182 (Authentic Emails) and to find a CG position. Subsequently, our suggestions and proposed corrections were incorporated into the final versions of the two technical guidelines.

While we unfortunately had to resort to virtual meetings in 2022 once again, the CG was nevertheless happy to take advantage of them and was able to work successfully on the various topics.

Whereas the focus of the CG in the last few years was more on technical topics and strongly on the perspective of the recipient or ISP side, in the year under review we focused more on the concerns of the senders. Given our proximity to the Certified Senders Alliance (CSA), in which many of our members are involved, we would like to focus more on the needs and working methods of ESPs (email service providers) and intensify the trustful cooperation between ESPs and ISPs (Internet service providers).