OECD calls for global war on spam

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has launched a global campaign to step up cross-border law-enforcement cooperation to combat spam.

"Spam is dangerous and costly for business and consumers. It disrupts networks, cuts productivity, spreads viruses and is increasingly used by criminals who steal passwords to access confidential information and often bank accounts. While there is no single solution, governments and the private sector should act fast on a number of fronts," the OECD stated.

The OECD recommends a multi-pronged global attack against spammers. It said that government enforcement agencies should be given the necessary authority to take action against spammers located in their territory or against foreign spammers who target consumers in their territory. These agencies should also have the ability to share information with foreign law enforcement officials in appropriate cases.

It is also necessary, the OECD said, that government agencies should be equipped to provide investigative assistance to foreign authorities in appropriate cases, particularly in obtaining information or locating or identifying people.

Partnerships between law enforcement organizations and industry and consumer groups should be encouraged to educate users and promote information sharing, said the OECD.

In addition, the OECD called for cooperation to reduce inaccurate information about holders of domain names.

In the U.S. the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said it has implemented many of the OECD recommendations. For example, it has engaged in "aggressive law enforcement" against international spammers, worked with an international network of spam enforcement authorities, partnered with the private sector on consumer education and encouraged the private sector to implement domain-level authentication systems.

In addition, the FTC has suggested that Congress enact legislation called the U.S. SAFE WEB Act that would give the FTC new tools to cooperate with foreign counterparts in fighting spam and other types of cross-border fraud.

The OECD is an international forum of 30 countries, including the United States, established to promote economic growth, trade and development.

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