U.S., China Cooperate on Fighting Spam

The EastWest Institute's Chief Technology Officer Karl Frederick Rauscher previewed a joint China-United States report on cybersecurity to be published next month. Fighting Spam to Build Trust will be the first product of talks between Chinese and United States experts convened by the EWI, a New York-based international think tank.  

"The EastWest Institute sees this report as part of our larger effort to help overcome the trust deficit between China and the United States on cybersecurity," said Rauscher. At the end of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington last month, the U.S.-China Joint Statement called on the two countries to address cybersecurity issues.

Rauscher co-led the bilateral with Yonglin Zhou, director of the network security committee of the government-controlled Internet Society of China. The report will present voluntary best practices for reducing spam which, according to MAAWG, accounts for about 90 per cent of email traffic.

According to Rauscher, the experts chose to target spam in part because China has made great strides in reducing spam in recent years – a notable achievement given the rapid growth of Internet users in the country.  Rauscher said that the report will emphasize a leadership role for the private sector in both countries. The recommendations for combating spam will include: processes for creating international protocols aimed to differentiate legitimate messages from spam; a call for educating consumers about the risk of botnets; and measures for discouraging spam, such as encouraging ISPs in both countries to use feedback loops.

"This cooperative effort will not end with this report," Zhou said. "Rather, it is a part of an ongoing process between Chinese and United States experts to open dialogue and foster mutual understanding."

Michael O'Reirdan, MAAWG chairman and distinguished engineer at Comcast said, "This dialogue with China is a most welcomed breakthrough – a real step forward.  It comes at an opportune time and can build on the work that has been going on at MAAWG for several years." MAAWG works against spam and online exploitation, representing over one billion mailboxes worldwide.  
EWI President and Founder John E. Mroz added: "The United States and China face large moral and political dilemmas in cooperating on cybersecurity. Do we continue to see each other as enemies or rivals, or do we edge slowly forward trying to find common ground?  We know that the economic and personal security of our citizens depends on a quantum leap in cooperation and an end to the rapidly escalating cyber mistrust."

Multilateral efforts to fight spam will be one of the topics discussed at EWI's upcoming Second Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit, to be held in London June 1-2.

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