MPs to hold spam summit

One of the Internet's ugliest sides will come under the glare of parliamentary scrutiny this summer

The increasingly important issue of unsolicited junk emails will be examined in depth at a series of events in London this summer.

Derek Wyatt MP, a long-time campaigner for tougher action against spam, especially pornographic emails, has organised a spam summit which will take place on 1 July. This will be followed by three evidence sessions later that month.

Wyatt told ZDNet UK that the focus of the events would be on policy and technology issues. E-commerce minister Stephen Timms will open the summit, and Wyatt hopes that US and European politicians with responsibility for Internet issues will also attend.

The summit and the evidence sessions should throw further light on one of the most worrying and unsavoury areas of Internet policy.

Recent figures showed a 100 percent rise in the amount of spam being spread by email, compared to a year ago. The bulk of this unsolicited mail consists of pornography, scams, financial services and product offers -- such as natural Viagra or weight loss pills.

In the past, Wyatt has urged Internet Service Providers to take more responsibility for the content that they send to users.

Speaking in Parliament last December, Wyatt called for Ofcom -- which should come into force at the end of this year -- to be given much tougher powers to crack down on ISPs who fail to tackle spam.

"We must tell the Internet Service Providers that they must either accept a charter given to them by Ofcom, or be charged a licence fee. They would choose a charter pretty quickly," said Wyatt.

Any companies that would be interested in sponsoring the spam summit should contact Derek Wyatt MP at the House of Commons.


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