UK ISPs join fight against spammers

A worldwide push to turn up the heat on spam has got the backing of the London Internet Exchange

The London Internet Exchange (LINX) is putting its weight behind an international government campaign to combat spammers.

LINX, which claims to be the world's largest group of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), has joined the London Action Plan (LAP) network — a joint scheme between government agencies and companies in 21 countries to achieve better anti-spam laws.

"Spam costs ISPs a considerable amount of money because they have to provide the capacity to carry all this email traffic, which the recipients simply do not want," said Malcolm Hutty, LINX regulation officer. "There are also substantial costs for ISPs in handling enquiries about spam and spam prevention. We are therefore keen to assist overseas law enforcement agencies and other organisations to take effective action against the originators of spam."

LINX, whose members handle some 90 percent of UK Web traffic, will provide the LAP with technical advice and will host a secure Web site for members to communicate on.

Last week, the LAP and the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network reported 3,241 potentially illegal emails to law enforcement agencies. This followed a worldwide sweep of spam and fraudulent emails where agencies analysed a sample of 138,904 spam emails blocked by filters.

The most reported spam categories were marketing for software and computer equipment, adult pharmaceutical products, adult content, financial services and 'body-enhancing' products.

Currently, the number of spammers in the UK is relatively low compared to the US — more than 90 percent of spam originates from the US. LINX members are forced to abide by strict rules that prohibit their customers sending spam.

"We hope the agencies involved in this exercise will use the results to develop strategies, in conjunction with overseas and domestic partners to combat spammers," added Hutty.