Group urges governments to do more to fight spam

Governments need to pass more antispam laws, give lawenforcement agencies more resources and work better across bordersto combat unsolicited e-mail clogging up inboxes, an internationaleconomic group said Wednesday.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD), an international forum of 30 countries established topromote economic growth and trade, also called on private industryto cooperate with government spam-fighting efforts and to helpgovernments establish nationwide spam education campaigns. Inaddition, countries need to pass laws that provide “cleardirections” on rules regarding bulk e-mail, the group said.

“Spam is dangerous and costly for business and consumers,” theOECD said in a statement. “It disrupts networks, cuts productivity,spreads viruses and is increasingly used by criminals who stealpasswords to access confidential information and often bankaccounts.”

The OECD’s report calls on countries to more readily shareinformation during spam investigations and to routinely provideinvestigative assistance. Countries should also establish a singlepoint of contact where other governments can direct theirspam-fighting requests, the OECD said.

The group also recommends that governments provide trainingabout spam and Internet security during computer courses inschools. Senior citizens should also have spam awareness trainingavailable to them, the group said.

Private companies providing Internet access to employees orcustomers have several obligations, the group said. Companiesshould establish clear e-mail use guidelines, and they shouldmonitor the Internet for Web sites that copy their site in anattempt to steal customer data in phishing attacks, the OECD said.Companies need to educate their customers about the potential forfaked e-mail messages used in phishing attacks, the group said.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) praised the OECD report,saying better international cooperation is needed to fight spam.The U.S. is among 30 OECD member nations.

The FTC has implemented many of the OECD recommendations, theagency said in a statement. The FTC has taken action againstinternational spammers; partnered with the private sector onconsumer education; and encouraged the private sector to implementdomain-level authentication systems, the agency said.

OECD’s antispam toolkit, including the new recommendations, isavailable at

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