At a meeting in Geneva, hosted by the International
Telecommunications Union and attended by regulators from 60
countries along with worldwide organisations and corporations, the
United Nations (UN) has announced that it plans to control the
'modern day epidemic' of spam within two years.
According to media reports, the UN believes that standardising
legislation around the world will make it easier to prosecute
spammers. It has additionally called for co-operation between
Robert Horton, chair of the Geneva meeting, said: "(We have) an
epidemic on our hands that we need to learn how to control...
International cooperation is the ultimate goal." Horton also stated
that the focus will be primarily on unsolicited pornographic
"This is great news, but legislation cannot solve the problem on
its own," said Carole Theriault, security consultant at Sophos.
"Spam is mushrooming to incomprehensible levels. International
legislation will help, but only in conjunction with sophisticated
anti-spam software and education will the situation be
In a Sophos online survey conducted earlier this year, over 75%
of the 5,156 respondents said email was critical to their jobs.
Almost 80% found spam made them less productive at work, yet only
42% of respondents had anti-spam software in place.
"Anti-spam software not only reduces the time employees take to
filter through their email, but it also might frustrate spammers
into making a new career choice," continued Theriault. "If spammers
cannot reach their target, they are not padding their bank
accounts. Without the cash flow, the spammers will suffer."
The Geneva conference attendees, including the Council of Europe
and the World Trade Organisation, will look at examples of
legislation that can be used to combat the deluge of spam gumming
up inboxes around the world. This follows last week's announcement
that authorities from the United States, the United Kingdom and
Australia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that
outlines a framework for cooperating in the fight against spam on
an international scale.