IIA pushes new ISP spam code

Internet Industry Association pushes ACMA to register new spam code to make in enforceable
IIA chief executive officer, Peter Coroneos

IIA chief executive officer, Peter Coroneos

The Internet Industry Association (IIA) has submitted a revised and updated code of practice for Internet service providers (ISPs) around spam emails to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for official registration.

If registered, ISPs would be obliged to abide by the code's new measures, designed to set industry standards for the way service providers grapple with spam on their networks, according to IIA CEO, Peter Coroneos.

“It means that the code is underpinned by legislation so will be of uniform application across the industry – not just those ISPs that sign up to it,” Coroneos said.

The new code, an update to the IIA’s first spam-based ISP code of conduct issued in December 2005, would be “quasi-mandatory” for ISPs to abide by.

“Under co-regulation, what happens is that the industry writes the codes [of practice], the government registers them, then the industry is required to comply with them once directed,” Coroneos said.

“But, of course, many ISPs would be complying anyway, as they a) want to minimise spam, and b) as a risk management thing: they don’t want to be in a position where they are directed to comply; it’s better to already comply.”

As the code was developed in consultation with small and large ISPs, there had been no push back from the industry on the new code, Coroneos claimed.

“What we have done in this code is go out and look at the best management techniques ISPs have been using to manage spam, then codify those into one document,” he said.

“As with the zombie [PC code of practice], a spam code and compliance with it improves the integrity of its own networks. It’s another piece of ammunition that can be employed against this ongoing spam problem.”

Earlier in June the IIA urged ISPs to better secure their networks by adopting its recommendations in a new voluntary code of practice on cyber security, which advocated quarantining "zombie" PCs.

Shortly after ISPs said they would largely take up the new code of practice, though some doubts over the plan were expressed.

An ACMA spokesperson confirmed the agency was currently reviewing the new code.