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Anti-Spamming Task Force meets on tackling unsolicited electronic messages

The Anti-Spamming Task Force held its fourth meeting today (June 24) to review measures tackling unsolicited electronic messages.

At the meeting, which was chaired by the Under Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, members were briefed on the implementation of the Unsolicited Electronic Message Ordinance (UEMO). They noted that the do-not-call registers had been operating smoothly. As of mid June 2011, more than 2.2 million numbers had registered in the three do-not-call registers for fax, short messages and pre-recorded telephone messages.

Members learned that from the full implementation of the UEMO in December 2007 to mid June 2011, the Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) had issued 355 warning letters and five enforcement notices. Also that the number of reports on suspected contravention of the ordinance had been decreasing year by year.

Members were given an overview of the latest situation on email spamming in Hong Kong. The public were generally not much affected as service providers have put in place adequate filtering arrangements. It was also noted that the OFTA had been in close liaison with enforcement agencies of other jurisdictions and had established spam reporting channels with other economies.

The meeting was updated on the progress of the implementation of a self-regulatory scheme for person-to-person telemarketing calls. Members noted that OFTA, in consultation with the industry, had prepared a benchmark Code of Practice (CoP) setting requirements on restricting calling hours, display of calling number, maintaining an in-house do-not-call list and responding timely to unsubscribe requests. Progress had been made in the four sectors which contribute to the bulk of such calls. The industry associations of insurance companies, banks, restricted licence banks and deposit-taking companies, two telemarketing industry associations and a major telecommunications industry association had made reference to the benchmark CoP, formulated their own CoPs and implemented the self-regulatory scheme.

The Anti-Spamming Task Force was set up in 2007 to advise the Government on policies and measures to tackle the problem of unsolicited electronic messages. It comprises representatives from the information and communications technology industry, chambers of commerce, telemarketing industry, consumer groups, social services organisations and individual members from the community.

The non-official members of the Anti-Spamming Task Force are:

Chairman, Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association, Mr York Mok
President, Hong Kong Information Technology Federation Ltd, Mr Francis Fong
President of Internet Service and Content Provider Group, Communications Association of Hong Kong, Mr Gilbert Chan
Representative from Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, Mr Daniel Ma
President, Hong Kong Small and Medium Enterprises Development Association, Dr Edward Lam
Director, Asia Digital Marketing Association, Ms Kay Bayliss
Chairperson, Hong Kong Institute of Marketing, Mr Yim Kai-ming
Chairman, Hong Kong Call Centre Association, Mr John Chiu
Chief Executive, Consumer Council, Ms Connie Lau
Representative from Telecommunications Users and the Consumers Advisory Committee of the Office of the Telecommunications Authority, Mr Timothy Ma Kam-wah
Director of Information Technology Resource Centre, Hong Kong Council of Social Service, Dr John Fung Yat-chu
Member of Legislative Council (Information Technology functional constituency), Dr Samson Tam
Associate Professor, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Dr Xu Yan

Friday, June 24, 2011