Friday, December 03, 2004

Release: Task Force on Spam Achieves Consensus for Best Practices to Reduce Spam

The Industry Canada Task Force on Spam has released a consensus document that includes nine "best practices" for ISPs and network players for the reduction of spam. From the IC press-release:

Task Force on Spam Achieves Consensus for Best Practices to Reduce Spam:

"OTTAWA, December 3, 2004 - The Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry, today congratulated members of the Government of Canada's Task Force on Spam for agreeing to a series of best practices that should help reduce spam before it reaches the end-user.

The Task Force met with key stakeholders today to review the progress of An Anti-Spam Action Plan for Canada. Announced last May, the action plan is a joint government and private sector effort to reduce and control spam. Increased public awareness, international collaboration, industry best practices and regulatory measures are all being addressed.

"The Task Force is six months into its mandate and the fact that such a disparate group of private sector players, ranging from small Internet service providers to large corporations, has agreed to a common standard is worthy of praise," said Minister Emerson. "It shows our mutual commitment to reducing spam."

Among the best practices the industry leaders have agreed to follow are that Internet service providers (ISPs) and other network operators should block e-mail file attachments with specific extensions known to carry infections, or filter e-mail file attachments based on content properties.

Industry-wide practices of this kind are a world first, representing a product of consensus among Canada's largest and smallest ISPs, network operators, large enterprise users, software developers, anti-spam advocates and Industry Canada.

The Task Force also unveiled an Internet-based communications campaign, including a common logo and Web site, to raise public awareness on steps that users can take to limit and control the volume of spam they receive.

"Public education and awareness are critical tools in our fight against spam," said Suzanne Morin, Co-chair of the Public Education and Awareness Working Group. "We point out a number of straightforward measures that consumers can take to help protect themselves and fight spam."

Unsolicited commercial e-mail, generally known as spam, has become a major problem globally, accounting for approximately two thirds of e-mails circulating on the Internet. The majority of spam originates outside Canada and therefore outside of Canadian jurisdiction. Spam results in increased network management costs and is often used to spread viruses. This is a serious issue that affects consumer and business confidence in e-mail and the Internet.

Launched on May 11, 2004, the Task Force on Spam oversees the implementation of a six-point action plan. The plan calls for specific initiatives by government and the private sector, including: the use of existing laws and regulatory measures; the review of regulatory or legislative gaps; the improvement of current industry practices; the use of technology to validate legitimate commercial communications; the enhancement of consumer education and awareness; and the promotion of an international framework to fight spam.

The Task Force on Spam will submit a final report to Minister Emerson in spring 2005.

For more information, including the nine recommended best practices, please visit"

The Task Force Home Page is at

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