38 E.U., Asian countries join to fight spam

Thirty-eight European Union (E.U.) and Asian countries have pledged to work together to combat spam, the European Commission announced Thursday.

The countries — the 25 members of the E.U. and 13 Asian countries, including China, South Korea and Japan — agreed to a joint drive to fight unsolicited commercial e-mail and to promote antispam efforts in international organizations. The pledge was made by representatives of governments attending a conference on eCommerce in London earlier this week.

According to a December 2004 report by antivirus software maker Sophos PLC, more than 20 per cent of global spam originates in China and South Korea.

The E.U. “cannot act alone in the fight against spam as it is essentially borderless,” said E.U. Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding. It is crucial that the problem be taken seriously worldwide, particularly in regions where spam originates, she said.

Participants in the European-Asian initiative are calling on governments and industry to ensure that adequate antispam frameworks, including appropriate legislation, are in place in every country.

The statement commits the 38 governments to hold regular discussions on the problem and take action including effective enforcement, awareness raising, industry self-regulation, technical solutions and partnerships between governments and the Internet community.

In addition to South Korea, China and Japan, the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) have agreed to the initiative.