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Delegates at an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) spam conference this week have called for standardised, stronger worldwide anti-spam legislation. They aim control the 'modern day epidemic' of spam within two years.

Regulators from 60 countries along with industry representatives called for standardised legislation around the world to make it easier to prosecute spammers. Particular emphasis was placed on measures to curtail the flood of unsolicited pornographic email.

"(We have) an epidemic on our hands that we need to learn how to control," said Robert Horton, Internet strategy expert with the United Nations' International Telecommunications Union (ITU), AP reports. Horton confidently stated that the spam epidemic can be "defeated in short order" given "full international co-operation among governments and software companies".

Delegates will look at examples of legislation that can be used to combat the deluge of spam clogging up worldwide email systems. The initiative follows last week's announcement that the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to cooperate internationally in the fight against spam.

"This is great news, but legislation cannot solve the problem on its own," said Carole Theriault, security consultant at IT security firm Sophos. "Spam is mushrooming to incomprehensible levels. International legislation will help, but only in conjunction with sophisticated anti-spam software and education will the situation be rectified." ®

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