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Privacy 4 May 2016

No haven for spam: collaborating at WSIS Forum 2016 to address spam in emerging economies

Christine Runnegar
By Christine RunnegarSenior Director, Internet Trust

Spam is not a new issue. Its origins precede the arrival of the Internet. Remember all the unwanted mail, faxes, sms and telephone calls you have received? Spammers will use any communications means that is available to achieve their objectives.

Some countries that faced the effect of email spam early on have discovered ways to combat spam in their economies. However, many emerging economies are only beginning today to see the full impact that spam can have on their network resources and citizens because increased Internet access has also opened the door to spam.

This Friday, at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2016 in Geneva, the Internet Society and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will be hosting a workshop to explore the specific challenges faced by emerging economies and to discuss what we can do together to mitigate the presence and effect of spam in those economies.

Please join us in person:

Friday 6 May 2016 11:00 – 12:45 (local time)
Room C2. ITU Tower
Geneva

or remotely:

To start the discussion on Friday, I will be sharing some thoughts on why the spam challenges faced by emerging economies today are different than those that more mature Internet economies faced when email spam first emerged.

  • The threat landscape is very different today from 15 years ago, from 10 years ago, etc. The spam problem is now much broader than unwanted emails. It is also a question of scale. The potential scale of attacks is much greater than it was for mature Internet economies countries when they were first exposed to spam. Vastly more commerce now occurs on the Internet and this introduces new avenues for phishing and data theft.
  • Emerging economies may be facing more sophisticated spammers without having had the advantage of building their skills when the threat was simpler. Some economies may have more limited access to human and financial resources.
  • Trust is vital for successful collaboration, especially across borders and communities. New network operators may not know how to get help from anti-spam communities or how to show that they can be a trusted partner.
  • Their citizens may also have less access to secure systems and devices.
  • Many emerging economies are rapidly becoming predominantly mobile commerce economies, a development that will not be overlooked by spammers.

We have invited speakers from emerging economies to share their experiences and the spam problems they are trying to solve.  We have also invited experts from:

  • the London Action Plan,
  • the ITU-D Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT),
  • the ITU-D Study Group 2 Question 3,
  • the Spamhaus Project

Together we will explore collaborative solutions to effectively combat spam.

Please join the conversation on Friday and bring your ideas!

To learn more about what you can do to stop spam, please go to our new anti-spam toolkit.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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