A recent study funded by the EU has highlighted major differences in the spam enforcement policies of 22 member states. According to the report, which is published on Thursday, there is a wide variation across the EU of the numbers of prosecutions and the level of fines issued.
The report reveals the urgent need for an international, collaborative approach in the fight against malware. Whilst some of our European neighbours have stringent anti-spam legislation, the UK’s policies have been diminished due to pressure from business interests such as the direct marketing industry.
In fact, the UK doesn’t even feature in the EU spam prosecution figures, because there haven’t been any cases taken to court (although those responsible have been prosecuted under other laws such as fraud). This does not mean that laws are not in place. Spammers can be fined up to £5,000 under the Data Protection Act, but to date, not a single fine has been levied.
The report concludes that there are many methods of combating spam and malware in the UK and that these methods are well publicised. However the fight against spam is currently tackled on an individual basis. The large array of programs available to internet users and the differing degree to which those users are aware of spam, malware and phishing scams have the potential to leave computers vulnerable to attack. In short, there needs to be not only an international level of co-operation, but a clear, unified and enforced domestic policy in place in order to stand a chance of winning the fight against malware. Without this, our defences are only as strong as the weakest link in the chain.