From 7 to 9 October 2009, ANACOM held an international workshop at the FIL Congress Centre in Lisbon, dedicated to combating spam.
This was the 5th joint conference which each year brings together the European Union’s Contact Network of Spam Authorities (CNSA) with the entities that make up the London Action Plan (LAP). This event brought together a group of entities that, worldwide, lead the fight against spam and, as such, encourage the various public and private entities to present and analyze the current situation and the actions to be implemented in an integrated manner.
Analysing the international situation, it appears that there is a need to strengthen cooperation and the powers of enforcement authorities, and for improved information sharing. The levels of spam are currently high, and have been increasing steadily, significantly impacting the confidence of citizens, diverting the resources of networks and information systems and increasing the operating costs of businesses and public bodies. Spam is therefore a real threat to the development of the Internet economy.
As part of this event, the results of a European Commission sponsored study were highlighted which noted, in Portugal, a lack of citizen information and a lack of cooperation between entities, a situation that is attributed to lack of legislative clarity and coherence. The study can be accessed on ANACOM's website.
From the various contributions made, the following conclusions can be drawn:
- The metrics on spam indicate that, on average, it exceeds 96% of e-mail traffic (Francisco Fonseca/Anubis);
- Resolving the problem of spam necessarily entails the development of e-mail technology, but until this is possible, security solutions will have to be adopted which imply costs and changes to procedures and practices, as well as requiring training (Pedro Veiga/FCCN);
- Spam is not a crime in Portugal but an administrative offense and unless it is associated with a crime, does not fall within the remit of the Criminal Police;
- Some solutions include:
- Improving technology and focusing less on legislation;
- Improving levels of information sharing between relevant agencies, such as antivirus manufactures, ISPs and Banks;
- Improving opt-out mechanisms available to citizens (Roger Bravo/PJ);
- Most users are not aware of the danger and do not know what to do when targeted;
- It is essential that there is general awareness on the emerging tactics and new attacks, as well as sharing experiences with local authorities;
- There is a lack, at national level, of a knowledge base of the most common attacks, patterns and attackers (Celso Martinho/SAPO);
- It is necessary to promote the education and training of investigators, and strengthen cooperation and launch new projects, such as the creation of the Internet laboratory (José Viegas/DG Consumidor);
- There should be promotion of cooperation and sharing of information (Luís Barroso/CNPD);
- Botnets and the evolution of the threat are phenomena that require monitoring (Francisco Rente/CERT-IPN);
- Incidents should be dealt with by strengthening national cooperation, training and education (Lino Santos/CERT.PT);
- Spam is often linked to cases of fraud for which it is important to innovate and educate citizens, as well as increase information sharing and enhance cooperation;
- There is justification for the creation of a blacklist (Ricardo Valadares/Milennium).
In the opening speech, Teresa Maury, a Member of ANACOM's Management Board, announced that in its 20th anniversary, ANACOM has expressed its willingness to develop a strategic plan to combat spam.
During the event, ANACOM reported its decision to join the LAP, so laying the foundations for the establishment of close and active cooperation at an international and national level, taking the opportunity put forward by the various participating entities. She also announced the intention to propose a legislative initiative to the Government which would allow Portugal to take effective action on this issue.
Related information on ANACOM's website:
- Workshop CNSA-LAP ''Spam-Fighting'' https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=962326
- EC calls for more action to fight spammers and protect online privacy https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=984688