Spam accounts for 80% of global e-mail traffic, says UN body

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Saying spam now accounts for about 80 percent of all global e-mail traffic and presents particular difficulties in areas where bandwidth is insufficient to handle the congestion that spam creates, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) the Internet Society have signed a letter of agreement to collaborate on combating the global problem of spam.

Photo credit: ITU
Photo credit: ITU

?Combating the growing menace of spam and the protection of data is a global concern for legitimate Internet and smartphone users,? said outgoing ITU secretary-general Hamadoun Tour?.

?We need to find global solutions to curtail the flow of intrusive junk mail which not only clogs up the Internet but also carries huge cost implications.?

Under the new agreement, the Internet Society and the ITU Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D) will identify the best ways to build long-term capacity for addressing spam in developing countries.

The collaborative partnership will explore and identify potential joint cooperative activities to address the growing need for information on how to address the issue of spam.

?We look forward to working with ITU-D as partners in capacity building programs that will bridge the gaps in understanding so that all countries can have access to the tools and knowledge they need to combat spam,? stated Kathy Brown, president and CEO of the Internet Society.

?The costs associated with spam related to wasted bandwidth, storage and network infrastructure, as well as the increased security risks are amplified in developing regions. By collaborating with ITU-D, we hope to make a real and positive impact on the world?s most vulnerable economies.?

The agreement will extend the work that the Internet Society initiated last year to hold workshops that address the various roles in developing and maintaining an effective anti-spam process, as well as leverage the strengths and efforts of ITU-D in the area of building capacity.

Without such proactive global work, the problem of spam, particularly given the growing use of mobile devices and social media, will intensify rather than abate.

The organizations have agreed to preliminarily focus their efforts on three areas:

1. Facilitating greater regional access to technical experts from the global Internet community who can share anti-spam knowledge and experiences on an ongoing basis

2. Providing educational training and information on effective anti-spam policies, technical solutions and operational requirements

3. Documenting anti-spam best practices

?Spam is a worldwide obstacle that requires innovative solutions to minimize the burden for countries, network operators, and end users,? noted Brahima Sanou, director of the ITU?s Telecommunication Development Bureau.

?While the telecommunication industry and Internet communities have made great strides in creating best practices and developing technical tools to combat spam, there is a need to build awareness in developing countries of the ongoing technical, industry and policy developments in this regard, and to centralize the knowledge and expertise available. This partnership aims to fill that need.?

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