ACMA clamps down on spam

Australia has increased efforts to battle unsolicited e-mail, or spam, by introducing a code of practice for companies providing or enabling e-mail services.

Australia has increased efforts to battle unsolicited commercial e-mail, or spam, by introducing a code of practice for companies providing or enabling e-mail services.

The Internet Industry Spam Code of Practice is designed to support the country's Spam Act of 2003, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said Tuesday.

Under the code, Internet service providers (ISPs) and other groups providing e-mail services will share responsibility for helping fight spam. The companies must offer spam-filtering options to their subscribers, provide them with information about how to deal with spam, and have a process for dealing with complaints.

The new rules also set out how service providers must address the sources of spam within their own networks, including actual spammers and virus-infected "zombie" computers used to spread spam.

The rules aim to support Australia's Spam Act, under which spammers can face fines of more than $1 million a day for repeat offenses.

When the code goes into effect on July 16, it will apply to all 689 active ISPs in Australia as well as global e-mail service providers that offer service in Australia, such as Yahoo Inc. and MSN Hotmail.

AMCA is calling the new set of rules "the first legislative code of practice for Internet and e-mail service providers in the world."

Although many other countries have anti-spam legislation, most of these measures place responsibility on the groups generating spam.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has meanwhile called on ISPs to formulate their own codes of conduct and penalties to stem spam.

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