Australia, US and UK unite to battle spam

Australia, the US and UK have joined forces in the fight against spam with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Washington over the weekend.

The participants to the MoU are the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Information Commissioner (ICO) and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in the UK.

ACA acting chairman Bob Horton said the MoU provided a framework for cooperation in fighting cross-border spam affecting all three countries. “The signing of the MoU will allow us to exchange best practice and policy ideas as well as conduct joint investigations into serious spam violations,” Horton said.

“On its own, this MoU will not solve the problem of spam. However, it is an important start.

“Most of the spam coming into Australia comes from overseas so tackling the problem has to be through a global, multi-pronged approach blending regulation, self-regulation and industry initiatives, technical solutions, and user awareness.

“The MoU will support these efforts and the continued development of e-business and e-communications while combating cross-border fraud.” Horton said the MoU signatories were determined not to be safe havens for spammers and called on other countries to join the fight.

He also called on industry and consumer groups across all three countries to work with governments to tackle spam and raise awareness about spam.

“Increasingly we are seeing the spammer’s technology being used for hacking attacks on computers and for theft and other crime which makes it even more critical that we take concerted action,” Horton said.

The signing of the MoU will be followed up by increased discussions between the countries involved and practical actions including Horton chairing an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conference for all regulators of the world on spam legislation, awareness and concerted action in Geneva in July.

“Domestically, we will continue to work with industry and consumer groups to maximise the impact of our efforts against spam,” Horton said.

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