The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Internet Society have signed a letter of agreement to join forces against the growing global spam problem.
According to the ITU, spam now accounts for 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.
“Combating the growing menace of spam and the protection of data is a global concern for legitimate Internet and smartphone users,” said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré. “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. This 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 programmes 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, according to th UN specialised agency for ICTs.
The two organisations have agreed to preliminarily focus their efforts on the areas of facilitating greater regional access to technical experts from the global Internet community who can share anti-spam knowledge and experiences on an ongoing basis, providing educational training and information on effective anti-spam policies, technical solutions and operational requirements and documenting anti-spam best practices.
Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau says “spam is a worldwide obstacle that requires innovative solutions to minimize the burden for countries, network operators, and end users,” “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.”