UN: We Can Beat Spam in Two Years

The United Nations has decided to tackle spam – and it thinks it can do it within two years by standardising legislation around the world. The International Telecommunications Union is hosting a meeting on spam in Geneva bringing together regulators from 60 countries, the Council of Europe and the World Trade Organisation.

Hopefully their anti-spam strategy will be to get them all in one room and crack their heads together until they agree to do something for a change. Yes, I have had a lot of spam today, thanks for asking.

“(We have) an epidemic on our hands that we need to learn how to control,” Robert Horton, the acting chief of the Australian communications authority, told reporters: “International cooperation is the ultimate goal.”

The UN intends to provide examples of anti-spam legislation for countries to adopt, to make prosecution and cross-border co-operation easier. How this will be regarded in countries that make a profit from sending spam is yet to be seen.

“If we don’t work together,” said Robert Shaw, Internet strategy expert with the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union (ITU), “we may see millions of people abandoning the Net entirely, out of frustration and disgust.”

You’ve got that right, Bob. I’ll be back in two years to see if the UN’s strategy worked.

The ITU estimates that 85% of all email is now spam, compared to “just” 35% last year, and that anti-spam protection now costs computer users US$25 billion (€20.2 billion) a year. Roughly enough to feed everyone on the planet.


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?