A cooperative approach is a key part of effectively combating the global problem of spam. International anti spam groups, government organisations, law enforcement agencies, industry representatives and internet users from all over the world are now working to together to fight spam. The ACMA is committed to working collaboratively with these national and international bodies, as the following initiatives illustrate.
Codes of practice
Australia’s e-marketing and internet industries have developed separate, complementary codes of practice to supplement the Spam Act. The codes are:
The ACMA is working with the internet and e-marketing industries to raise awareness of these codes of practice, which aim to reduce and fight spam.
The Australian Internet Security Initiative
The Australian Internet Security Initiative (AISI) has been developed by the ACMA to help address the emerging problem of ‘zombie’ computers. These computers have become compromised through the secret installation of malicious software, such as a ‘trojan’, that enables the computer to be controlled remotely for illegal and harmful activities. Zombie computers are used for the mass distribution of spam and spyware, hosting of ‘phishing’ sites, and distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks on websites.
The AISI collects data on computers that are operating as zombies, analyses this data, and provides free daily reports to participating Australian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) listing the zombie computers operating on their networks in the last 24 hour period. The ISPs then inform their customers that their computer appears to be compromised and provide advice how they can fix it. More information on the AISI is available in the protecting yourself online section.
The Australian public plays a vital role in the ACMA’s spam activities by reporting spam. The ACMA uses this information to:
- enforce the Spam Act and take action
- to identify scams and fraud such as ‘phishing’ campaigns, which are reported to the Australian High Tech Crime Centre for investigation
- provide and inform reports to international regulatory authorities about spam originating from other countries. International cooperation is particularly important given that over 99 per cent of spam received in Australia originates from overseas.
Anti spam and law enforcement partnerships
The ACMA regularly works with other agencies on spam awareness campaigns and reduction strategies, including the:
- Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE)
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
- Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission
- Australian Federal Police
Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce
The Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce was established in March 2005 to combat consumer scams and fraud. The taskforce is made up of 18 government regulatory agencies and departments in Australia and New Zealand. The ACMA has joined forces with these agencies to raise awareness about scams and fraud prevention. For more information on the taskforce and its work, visit www.scamwatch.gov.au.
International partnerships with governments and business
Over 99 per cent of spam received in Australia originates from overseas. The ACMA works in partnership with many overseas regulators and anti spam agencies. More detail about these activities, visit the International cooperation section.
The ACMA also works with multinational businesses with an Australian presence to raise awareness of the Spam Act and its legal requirements. The ACMA assists multinational businesses to identify and reduce the number of spammers using their networks.
The ACMA’s cooperative work with multinational businesses has been particularly successful in the area of new mobile technologies, where consumer complaints about premium rate messages have decreased significantly.