In a workshop dedicated to the eradication of spam e-mails held in Brussels on 2-3 February, the OECD considered that too little was known about the economics of spam, emphasising that there are already many laws which can be used against spammers, but these need to be enforced and backed up by international cooperation.
Effective control of the problem can only be achieved by a mixture of legislation, self-regulation (and I would also add co-regulation between the stakeholders), technical solutions, the use of authenticity systems and the education of both consumers and businesses, commented FEDMA director general Alastair Tempest on the workshop.
A good example of the effectiveness of law enforcement cooperation was between the Data Protection Authorities and Police Forces in a number of countries, which lead to the arrest last week in the Netherlands of 52 people who had been sending out millions of e-mails with the infamous 419 scam.
Workshop participants agreed that there were three groups of people who needed to be identified and stopped; those who are being paid to send spam, those who are paying others to send spam, and those who are making a profit from spam (either from the sale of goods and services, or via scams). The sudden increase in so-called phishing scams shows that spammers are becoming more willing to put larger sums of money into funding their spamming campaigns, and are constantly developing new ways to avoid anti-spam defences.