Global ‘Do Not Spam’ Registry Launches

A new global anti-spam organization is creating an international “do not spam” list that debuted in China Friday.

The International Anti Spam Council (iASC), founded in Singapore in May 2003, is a group of marketers, ISPs and government and industry entities using technology, best practices and financial incentives to fight spam.

“The International Anti Spam Council believes that any single domestic solution (in the USA or anywhere) cannot succeed as the spammers are not exclusively in this country, and neither are the consumers they are targeting,” said Jay Shapiro, board director of the (iASC), in an email.

The organization launched its registry in China as a case study before rolling out in the United States and Europe. The URL of the site, www.buyao.com.cn, is Chinese slang for “don’t want,” the group said.

IASC says it’s starting in China because it estimates 48 billion spam messages will be directed toward China in 2004, and its relatively small number of ISPs — five, according to the group — makes anti-spam initiatives easier to implement.

The organization is signing up consumers on its Web site, but allows them to indicate subject areas about which they wouldn’t mind getting unsolicited email.

The database is to be developed and maintained by the ASC operations team. That group will also generate and verify sender certificates and manage payment exchanges. A separate non-profit international governance board is to oversee issues like permission policies, stamp fees, dispute resolution, and the operations team. The organization claims Cisco Systems and J.P. Morgan as participants in its efforts, according to Shapiro.

Although Shapiro said the U.S. Federal Trade Commission showed great interest in the iASC, FTC staff attorney Brian Huseman, the advisor to FTC Chairman Timothy Muris, was more skeptical.

According to Huseman and fellow FTC attorney Michael Goodman, Chinese regulatory bodies already block all mass email in China. In that country, Huseman explained, any IP address that sends more than a certain volume of messages is turned off. Hence, the attorneys said, the idea of launching in China is superfluous, because individuals there are already protected from spam.

According to iASC’s Web site, more than 70 percent of all spam was generated outside the domestic United States, and hence a globally agreed solution is in order.

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