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EU and Asia unite against ‘spam’

EU and Asia unite against ‘spam’

A joint drive to combat ‘spam’ e-mail from Europe and Asia was agreed by Government participants attending an Asia-Europe (ASEM) conference on eCommerce, held in London on 21-22 February. In a joint statement on international anti-spam cooperation, ASEM’s 25 European and 13 Asian member countries agree to take action to fight spam nationally and to promote anti-spam efforts in international organisations and by industry. ASEM members include China and South Korea, which are reportedly major sources of spam.

“I welcome this important EU-Asia statement on spam”, Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding said. “The EU cannot act alone in the fight against spam as it is essentially borderless. It is crucial that the problem be taken seriously in every part of the world and in particular in regions where a lot of spam is reported to originate”.

Over 60% of global e-mail traffic is spam according to various industry sources. Experts estimate that over 20% of global ‘spam’ e-mail originates in China and South Korea alone (source: Sophos, December 2004). The ASEM joint statement, initiated by the European Commission, encourages all countries to set up national anti-spam strategies and then to engage in international cooperation.

The conference showed that responses are emerging, with some successes in enforcement and better technical solutions for combating spam. Participants called on governments and industry in Europe and Asia to further ensure that adequate anti-spam frameworks, including legislation, are in place in every country, and to engage in international cooperation to combat this inherently cross-border threat. The statement commits ASEM countries to conduct regular discussions and take actions through policy and enforcement officials. Action would include legislation and enforcement, as well as awareness raising, industry self-regulation, technical solutions and partnerships between governments and the internet community.

Worryingly, “spam” e-mail undermines consumer confidence in e-commerce and the Information Society. Success in combating it is vital to boost trade and investment through on-line technologies.

This statement echoes Europe’s many anti-spam efforts, including the recent anti-spam cooperation procedure agreed by many EU enforcement authorities (see IP/05/146), and regional cooperation efforts pursed within the OECD.

About ASEM

ASEM is a multilateral forum for action-orientated debate between the 25 EU Member States, the European Commission and 13 Asian partner countries: Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The first ASEM Summit of Heads of State was held in Bangkok in March 1996. ASEM’s work is divided into three pillars: political, social partnership and economic cooperation. A key priority under economic cooperation is identifying ways of strengthening the trade and investment flows between Europe and Asia.

The statement, as well as more information on the conference can be found at:

The Commission is also active bilaterally not least with the USA, another important source of spam, and in multilateral discussions ongoing in the International Telecommunications Union and in the OECD Task Force on spam.

Recent Commission initiatives on spam can be found at:

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