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South Korea mulls spam curfew

Cunning plan

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South Korea wants to ban unsolicited commercial email between 9pm and 9am.

The novel proposal is one of many outlined by the government in an attack against spam. The measures will cost up to 10 billion won (£4.6 million) by 2007.

Convicted spammers are to face fines of up to 30 million won (£13,650), three times higher than now. The government is to co-operate with other countries in devising anti-spam guidelines and exchanging blacklists of known spammers. And it is building a centre of technical excellence to take on the spammers.

All very commendable, but it's the spam curfew that really catches the eye. Spammers routinely flout the law in multiple jurisdictions, so are unlikely to respect Korean bedtimes.

South Korea is the fourth biggest producer of spam (after the USA, Canada and China), accounting for more one on 20 spam messages, according to Sophos, the IT security firm.

Many of these may come from compromised PCs, rather than from Korean spammers. Korea's well-developed consumer broadband network makes it an attractive target for plundering hackers who use the latest breed of spam-friendly mass-mailing worms.

South Korea's Fair Trade Commission recently fined 25 companies 64 million won (£29,000) for sending unsolicited commercial messages by email and mobile phones. ®

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