The ITU New Initiatives Programme

Countering Spam

image of The ITU New Initiatives Programme

This publication presents the materials and conclusions of a thematic meeting on “Countering Spam” held by ITU from 7 to 9 July 2004, and forms part of the ITU New Initiatives Programme series. Among other things, the contributions delivered by the participants looked at the problem of finding a common approach to spam, and analyse issues ranging from technical solutions, different legislative approaches and international cooperation among different stakeholders. Also looked at is the problem of consumer awareness and education.



Legislation and enforcement

Since the first anti-spam law worldwide was passed in 1997, at least 75 governments around the world have passed anti-spam laws. That first anti-spam law was in fact passed at state-level in the United States, by the state of Nevada. The anti-spam laws in existence today take the form of so-called “opt-in” or “opt-out” regulations. Some require labels or other markings to identify certain messages as unsolicited or pornographic. Others punish senders who use fraudulent or deceptive techniques. Still others require the sender to provide his or her identity and a mechanism to remove the recipient from future mailings. A survey of anti-spam laws around the world shows that the tools lawmakers have used to regulate spam are varied. Unfortunately, the one common trait they share is that almost all have failed to effectively tackle the problem, which has persisted beyond all legal countermeasures. An effective approach has yet to be found, but a deeper enquiry into how to create an effective law is more valid than ever before.


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