Version 18 of ARC Specification Published

On October 2nd, the IETF’s DMARC Working Group published version 18 of the ARC specification document, incorporating the changes suggested during the Working Group Last Call (WGLC).  There are many small language changes to clarify concepts or bring usage in line with other IETF documents, such as Email Address Internationalization (EAI).

You can review the changes between the pre- and post-WGLC versions using this link.

Working Group Completes Last Call For ARC Specification

The DMARC Working Group has completed Last Call for the ARC specification. This means that when the final consensus changes are incorporated, the document will be submitted for approval and publication by the IETF. It is possible that the specification might be published before the next IETF meeting in November, though perhaps more likely between then and the following meeting in March 2019.

The ARC specification has been under development by the Internet Engineering Task Force’s (IETF) DMARC Working Group since roughly June 2016. In July, just over two years later, the Working Group reached a milestone known as Working Group Last Call (WGLC). During Last Call the members of the group determine if consensus has been reached on the content of the document in question. If so, any final changes are made to the document and it is submitted to one or more IETF officials known as Area Directors. Upon review they may ask questions or make suggestions, and when satisfied, the document is approved for publication.

The ARC specification grew out of work begun by a group known as OAR in the summer of 2014. OAR refers to a proposed email header named Original Authentication Results, the subject of a draft proposal published in 2012.

Two ARC Implementations Tested At Interoperability Event

On February 19th representatives from AOL (NYSE:VZ)  and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) successfully tested the first two implementations of the ARC protocol at an interoperability event. LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) hosted the in-person, all-day event at their San Francisco offices and facilitated the testing. Also participating were representatives from Cloudmark, Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), DMARC.org, the Trusted Domain Project, and Message Systems/SparkPost.

“We set an aggressive target for testing when we announced the ARC protocol in October. AOL and Google did an outstanding job developing implementations and preparing test systems in time for this event,” said Steven M. Jones, executive director of DMARC.org. ARC addresses a small but important class of messages, like mailing lists and forwarding services, that are impacted when a sending domain has a strong DMARC policy. Jones added, “I think ARC will allow more consumer mailbox providers and other domain operators to join AOL and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) in adopting such policies in order to better protect their users and their users’ correspondents from fraudulent messages.”

More implementations of ARC are under development, including an open source package that could be used to add ARC capabilities to existing email services. Additional interoperability testing events will be held between now and mid-year. For more information please visit the ARC protocol website at http://arc-spec.org.