OECD countries have set up a task force to marshal the efforts of government, business and civil society in the most comprehensive, strategic and inclusive response to date to the problems posed by unsolicited e-mail messages, or spam.
Spam undermines user trust online, reduces productivity, spreads computer viruses and increases costs for all parties, and close international cooperation is essential in order to combat it. At present, a number of countries have several agencies with competencies in tackling spam.
The OECD Task Force will ensure a better focus of work on priority areas and improved coordination between different policy communities. Key objectives will include coordinating international policy responses in the fight against spam, encouraging best practices in industry and business, promoting enhanced technical measures to combat spam along with improved awareness and understanding among consumers, and facilitating cross-border law enforcement. The initiative promises benefits for developed and developing economies alike.
The creation of the OECD Task Force reflects a consensus that the OECD's broad and inclusive approach, multi-disciplinary expertise and network of contacts with countries and economies outside its membership makes it ideally suited to coordinate and supplement efforts to combat spam at national and international levels.
The Task Force has been given two years to study existing and emerging anti-spam strategies across all sectors; develop and promote an anti-spam "tool-kit" focused on practical anti-spam strategies, arrangements and solutions; and devise a public awareness strategy in order to support global efforts to combat spam.
As part of their drive against spam, OECD countries will hold an international Workshop on Spam in Busan, Korea on 8-9 September 2004. Following on from a first OECD Workshop on Spam hosted by the European Commission in Brussels on 2-3 February 2004, this will provide a key opportunity for public dialogue on the priorities of the OECD Task Force on Spam.
Hosted by Korea's Ministry of Information and Communication, the Busan workshop will bring together participants from government, industry, civil society and academia. It will be open to the media and to the public, subject to advance registration. Among other things, participants will discuss:
- Next steps in developing an "OECD Anti-spam Toolkit".
- Network management solutions to reduce spam.
- Use of authentication and technical tools to reduce spam.
- How to reduce mobile spam and instant messaging spam.
- Improved co-operation with Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies and non-OECD countries in general.