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Brussels declares war on spyware and spam

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The European Commission called for stronger action against spammers and spy ware merchants today and said it may bring in further legislation to combat the problem.

However, the Commission also said member states could do better in enforcing existing legislation covering illegal online activities.

Trumpeting a new “communication” “On Fighting spam, spyware and malicious software”, Viviane Reding, commissioner for information society and media, said that the Dutch had succeeded in reducing domestic spam by 85 per cent.

Concluding that other member states weren’t taking the problem seriously enough, she sucked in her cheeks and declared that “I'd like to see other countries achieving similar results through more efficient enforcement. I will revisit this issue again next year to see whether additional legislative measures against spam are required."

The communication said that spam and spyware were moving from being a nuisance to an increasingly criminal activity. It called for clear lines of responsibility for combating the problem, and more cross border cooperation.

While having a go at authorities for not pursuing web miscreants with sufficient vigour, the commission didn’t let service providers off the hook. It said it would "revisit the legislative framework next year when it will introduce legislative proposals to strengthen user privacy and security in 2007."

This could see service providers being obliged to report security breaches, and giving regulatory authorities power to force service providers to implement adequate security.®

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