China goes on spam offensive

Spamhaus is deeply sceptical of any impact the new regulations will have, however

China is launching an offensive on the problem of spam.

Critics suggest it is going to achieve very little by way of limiting spam either within China or outside of the country.

New anti-spam regulation will be introduced by the Ministry of Information and the country has also established a centre for handling reports of spam. The initiative will officially be launched on 30 March, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in London told ZDNet UK sister site

Many experts would suggest such measures are long overdue. According to Spamhaus, China is the world's second worst offender in terms of spam, though it is still several orders of magnitude behind the US.

However, Richard Cox, senior investigator for Spamhaus, told ZDNet UK sister site "This is going to achieve very little."

Cox said his experiences within China led him to believe a hardcore of spammers who account for the vast majority of spam will not be deterred by this plan.

The reason for the action now appears to be the fact Chinese citizens are increasingly being plagued by growing quantities of spam.

Cox said: "From the point of view of the Chinese citizen this is a good thing though it is long overdue. If they are looking to protect their citizens then that's good," but he said China has to make greater strides towards global co-operation on solving this problem: "We want them to protect our citizens as well.

He added: "It's been a problem for Chinese citizens for some years — as much as it's been a problem for us."

Cox criticised Chinese ISPs in particular saying they must do more to ease the spam problem — though he singled out China Telecom as one which has actually acted positively to reduce spam.

Last July China signed-up for the London Action Plan on spam.