ITU, Internet Society sign deal to fight spam

International Telecommunication Union and Internet Society will jointly identify ways to build "long-term capacity" and provide advice on ways to combat spam, which accounts for 80 percent of global e-mail traffic.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Internet Society have signed an agreement to jointly battle spam, which still accounts for 80 percent of e-mail traffic worldwide.

The collaboration will see both organizations identify ways to build "long-term capacity" for resolving the spam problem in developing countries, including joint cooperative activities to provide the increasing need for information on how to do so. 

In a statement released Thursday, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré said: "Combating the growing menace of spam and the protection of data is a global concern for legitimate Internet and smartphone users . We need to find global solutions to curtail the flow of intrusive junk mail which not only clogs up the Internet but also carries huge cost implications." 

Spam accounts for a significant volume of all e-mail traffic worldwide, causing problems in countries where bandwidth is lacking and unable to handle the congestion spam creates, the companies said. It also adds burden on network operators and consumers.

Internet Society President and CEO Kathy Brown added: "The costs associated with spam related to wasted bandwidth, storage and network infrastructure, as well as the increased security risks are amplified in developing regions. By collaborating with ITU, we hope to make a real and positive impact on the world's most vulnerable economies."

The agreement is an expansion of efforts the Internet Society began last year, where it held workshops to look at various roles in developing anti-spam measures, and assessed areas where capacity can be built. Such initiatives are necessary to combat spam amid the increasing use of mobile devices and social media. 

The ITU-Internet Society collaboration will look at three key areas, including facilitating greater regional access to global technical experts who can share anti-spam tactics, and documenting anti-spam best practices to serve as a centralized knowledge database.