Hong Kong ISPs vow to fight spam

To combat the massive growth in spam, the Hong Kong ISP Association and the Asia Digital Marketing Association (ADMA) have joined forces to help consumers, businesses and government in applying anti-spam measures.

The coalition aims to combine local market knowledge and contacts with regulation bodies to help the industry adopt global anti-spam best practices. Initial efforts will focus on development of best practices for commercial e-mail, examining the extent of the spam problem in Hong Kong and developing a white paper addressing the key elements of effective anti-spam legislation.

Additional areas under discussion are developing training programs to educate IT professionals on the dangers of spam and protecting their systems from spam abuse. Consumers and commercial companies are also encouraged to share more information to facilitate more effective action against high-volume senders of spam. Increased liaison is also high on the agenda of the new coalition.

Globally, spam constitutes up to 50 per cent of all e-mail traffic and the impact of such traffic is rising with estimates of the total cost of spam to businesses reaching HK$70 billion (US$9 billion) annually.

“Spam is a global problem, but also requires specific local response,” said York Mok, chairman of the Hong Kong ISP Association. He also noted a rise on Asian-based spam, whereas spam in the past has originated from the U.S.

David Ketchum, chairman of the ADMA, said spam hampers the efforts of legitimate digital marketers to effectively reach their audiences. “until action is taken to substantially diminish the volume of spam, the entire digital marketing industry will remain under threat,” he said.

The HK ISP Association has a membership of 73 covering the majority of the ISPs in Hong Kong and works with government agencies such as OFTA to ensure fair competition. While the ADMA is headed by senior industry executives that advocate the use of digital marketing and attempt to gain consensus on key issues like spam.