Delegates at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) spam conference have called for standardised, tougher worldwide anti-spam legislation, which they believe could stamp out junk email within the next two years.
The ITU has brought together regulators from 60 countries and a number of international organisations, including the World Trade Organisation and the Council of Europe, in Geneva this week to discuss the problem.
"[We have] an epidemic on our hands that we need to learn how to control. International co-operation is the ultimate goal," said Robert Horton, acting chief of the Australian Communications Authority, and chairman of the meeting, according to Associated Press.
Delegates at the conference were told that the spiralling costs of dealing with spam, which already total an estimated $25bn a year, could force people off the internet.
The ITU claimed that as much as 85 per cent of email could be considered spam, and that the top priority is to stamp out pornographic material that could be accessed by children.
But many countries have no anti-spamming laws in place, making it difficult to track down and prosecute the perpetrators.
The ITU is to put forward examples of anti-spam legislation that countries could adopt to facilitate easier cross-border co-operation.
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