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Spam filters designed to weed out unsolicited email don't work, according to the findings of a recent US study.

The tests - carried out by eTesting Labs (formerly known as ZDNet's in-house techies) - measured the "effectiveness and accuracy of server-level anti-spam solutions employed by email service providers, irrespective of any filters operating on a user's PCs".

Of those tested, AT&T WorldNet out performed AOL, Juno, Microsoft Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and ten other service providers.

AT&T WorldNet was using Brightmail's Anti-Spam Solution. But despite filtering out some 73 per cent of the spam, it still failed to pick up more than a quarter of the junk email being sent out.

AOL and Yahoo! only managed to block 40 per cent and 36 per cent of spam respectively.

While Brightmail is crowing about its success, the fact remains that spam cannot be controlled by technology alone. Legislation is the only way it can be tackled effectively.

US legislators are trying to get to grips with the problem with a number of anti-spam proposals designed to protect Net users.

Yet consumers' groups in Europe which should be defending the rights of Net users still maintain they don't have a policy on spam.

While Britain's Consumers' Association and the European Consumers' Group (BEUC) remain irresolute on the issue, perhaps they would like to make a mental note that Web filters aren't all they're cracked up to be. No doubt this will really help their indecision-making. ®

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