Spam reporting gets buttoned up

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has launched the SpamMatters reporting button, which enables spam to be reported to the authority with one click of a computer mouse.

Instead of using the delete key to remove spam e-mails, users can simply select the SpamMatters button to simultaneously delete their spam and report it to ACMA.

The authority's chairman Chris Chapman said the button is one of the most sophisticated and customer-friendly spam reporting tools available in the world.

"Spam reported using the button is provided in a format assisting forensic analysis, and the ease of reporting is expected to greatly increase the amount of spam reported to ACMA," he said.

The ACMA SpamMatters button can be downloaded directly from the ACMA Web site (www.spam.acma.gov.au).

Chapman said the button will assist ACMA in rapidly identifying emerging spam campaigns and in providing timely and comprehensive information to authorities fighting spam-related crime such as phishing, Nigerian scams and mule scams.

Over time, customer usage of the button will also enable ACMA to assist Internet service providers (ISPs) in securing their networks from spam threats.

The installation of the ACMA SpamMatters button is straightforward and is available to users of Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Outlook Express. Alternative spam reporting options are available to customers using other e-mail programs.

Telstra has also made a version of the button automatically available to all its Telstra.com and BigPond WebMail customers from today and is providing a link on its Web site.

SpamMatters is a private Australian company established in 2004.

For those not running Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express, or Microsoft Windows, (such as an Apple Mac or Unix system), spam can be reported by signing up online for a 'key'. Spam is then reported using either a Web form or e-mail forwarding.

From the commencement of the Spam Act on April 10 2004 until 31 March 2006, ACMA has:

  • received 4274 formal complaints;
  • received more than 880,000 reports of spam during the trial of the SpamMatters reporting system;
  • received about 300,000 reports of spam through ACMA's 'Reporting Spam' e-mail address;
  • responded to more than 2700 verbal and written enquiries submitted by businesses and consumers;
  • written to around 600 companies advising them of their obligations under the Act;
  • issued formal warning letters to 10 companies or individuals;
  • entered into enforceable undertakings with five companies and individuals;
  • issued 13 fines collectively to five companies or individuals; and
  • successfully prosecuted a company and its managing director in the Federal Court in Perth.

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