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Anti-spam enforcement authorities in 13 European countries have agreed to work together when investigating complaints about cross-border spam from anywhere within the EU. The countries are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands and Spain. The idea is to make it easier to identify and prosecute spammers anywhere in Europe.

Viviane Reding, information society and media commissioner, today urged all other anti-spam authorities in the EU to join the group. "Enforcement authorities in Member States must be able to deal effectively with spam from other EU countries," she said, "even though at present most spam originates from outside the EU. In parallel, we are working on cooperation with third countries both bilaterally and in international fora like the OECD and the International Telecommunication Union."

Three-quarters of email sent around the world in 2004 was spam, compared with 40 per cent in 2003, according to email filtering company MessageLabs.

The EU cooperation to fight this massive volume of junk email is voluntary and it follows an EU directive introduced in 2003 which effectively outlawed spam in Europe. The 13 participants in Monday's announcement will now also have a common procedure for handling cross-border complaints about spam, with that procedure drawn up by the contact network of spam enforcement authorities (CNSA).

Last year, a similar agreement was reached between the US, UK and Australia, which was also designed to co-ordinate anti-spam efforts. ®

© ENN

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