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Minister welcomes Yahoo bus to Canberra.



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Minister welcomes Yahoo bus to Canberra

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, today welcomed the arrival in Canberra of the Yahoo! Mail Anti-Spam Bus, which has been travelling around Australia gathering support for anti-spam legislation.

The Government understands that Australians are fed up with spam and has been listening to their message that action should be taken to stop their email inboxes being swamped by offers for black market drugs, virtual casinos, celebrity porn, bogus prizes, Nigerian money laundering scams and the litany of other rubbish that characterises this form of junk-mail.

A recent report by the National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE) concluded that legislation was a key aspect of a multi-level approach to fight spam, along with local and international action from Government, industry and internet users.

The NOIE report recommended opt-in legislation that would prohibit unsolicited emails unless the receiver had a pre-existing customer relationship with the sender that provided for such emails. The Howard Government is committed to responding to the NOIE report and taking action as a matter of urgency.

According to some estimates, upwards of 40% of all email delivered to end-users is spam. This makes it not only annoying, but costly (because the user pays to download it), disruptive (because it interrupts people while they are busy at work or doing personal tasks on their computer), harmful to computers (because it can transmit viruses) and dangerous (because its content is unregulated).

Spam could be described as the mosquito of the Virtual World - annoying, destructive, capable of carrying viruses and without any redeeming features.

The march against spam - represented today by Yahoo! Mail's brightly coloured bus and its accompanying anti-spam message - has gained momentum since NOIE launched its report in April. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced two weeks ago that it has joined forces with law enforcement agencies in the United States, Japan, Chile and Canada to identify and close down "open relays" on the Internet that can be exploited by spammers.

The internet industry, both locally and globally, has taken considerable steps to inform and protect customers, including through the provision of free spam filter

products on a trial basis by members of the Internet Industry Association (IIA) to protect internet users. The Government will continue to work with industry to combat spam.

Initiatives like the Anti-Spam Drive will help to raise public awareness about the measures that can be taken by individuals to protect themselves from the growing spam menace.

Media contact: Simon Troeth 02 6277 7480 or 0439 425 373 Website: www.richardalston.dcita.gov.au

82/03 4 June 2003