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UK ISPs are targeting ecommerce websites run by spammers in a new ‘get tough’ policy on junk mail. ISPs belonging to the London Internet Exchange (LINX) have voted through acode of practice which gives them the mandate to shut down websites promoted through spam, even if junk mail messages are sent through a third-party or over a different network. The move is intended to remove the financial incentive to send spam.

LINX is also calling on ISPs to take down websites used to sell spamming tools, such as CDROMs containing millions of illegally-collected email addresses. The code of practice changes were voted through at an extraordinary general meeting of LINX, which handles more than 90 per cent of the UK’s Internet traffic.

LINX regulation officer Malcolm Hutty said: "This represents an ever tougher approach to spammers. ISPs are not just trying to avoid their own users sending spam, we want to put the spammers out of business altogether."

Many UK ISPs already close 'spamvertised' websites under their terms of service. However, because most spamvertised web sites are hosted in the overseas countries where the spam also originates, the success of this new initiative depends on LINX pressuring ISPs overseas into adopting more rigorous practices. According to recent research (like this study from spam filtering firm CipherTrust), less than one per cent of spam now originates in the UK and less than 20 per cent in Europe as a whole.

Hutty said: "The new BCP (Best Current Practice) will raise the baseline, making the worldwide acceptable minimum standard tougher. We will be working to spread this standard beyond the UK and asking for support from the UK government at WSIS (the World Summit on the Information Society), OECD and other international forums." ®

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