Australia may be an international laggard in terms of broadband take-up, but that hasn’t stopped the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) taking to the world stage in an attempt galvanize a global counteroffensive to spam.

ACA acting chairman Bob Horton was in Geneva as the chairman of a spam-blasting meeting of the World Summit on the Information Society held by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) — the United Nations head agency specializing in telecommunications.

Describing the meeting as a “watershed”, Horton told international delegates from far and wide that a global Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is needed to check the spread of noxious e-mail, saying the spam pandemic could be brought under control in two years.

“What is at stake is no less than the protection and preservation of the Internet as we know it. I am convinced that we can curb spam within the next two years if we act on a number of fronts simultaneously and make sure that there are no havens for spammers anywhere in the world,” Horton said.

The plan for the global war on spam, so far as Computerworld can determine from the ACA, will involve international organizations including ITU, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) and the Internet Society.

While no global counter-spam agency or UN-mandated spam-intervention force emerged from the meeting, agreement in principle appears to have been reached to “enable” joint industry and government forces by way of a common regulatory framework.

As such, nations not yet in possession of an antispam law will be encouraged to make the practice illegal, backed by a regulator with power over ISPs.

The conference decided the global war on spam will be fought by a “multi-track approach” consisting of technical solutions, legislation, consumer education, international cooperation and industry self regulation.

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