Dutch ministry says ISP spam filtering works

Monday 12 February 2018 | 17:25 CET | News
The fight against spam is going well, Secretary of State Mona Keijzer from the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations told Parliament. Internet providers are fighting spam. It is possible that a message is wrongly blocked once in a while, but the complaints procedure is there for when that happens. The ministry has consulted with regulator ACM and said that the regulator sees no reason to act against providers.

The permanent parliamentary committee for telecom asked in November for a response to a letter from a certain "JS in H. The letter writer believes that individual citizens who, for example, shares a newsletter on a modest scale and without commercial intentions or who try to express their opinions in other ways through modern media, are put at a disadvantage, putting the constitutional freedom of expression under pressure.

The ministry explained that internet providers filter spam. This filtering is justified by the European regulation in terms of its net neutrality regulation and in terms of existing measures to protect (the integrity of) the network.

Providers build these filters themselves, or have a subscription with a developer, for example Spamhaus or Spamexperts. Such a spam filter contains a mix of techniques, such as a black list of IP addresses of notorious spammers and monitoring of botnet activities. Keijzer did not explicitly mention another method: the 'closing' of ports in a subscriber's modem.

Ministry refers to regulator supervision

Keijzer repeated what her predecessor Henk Kamp has already said, that ACM can act in principle. ACM believes it is particularly important that there is a complaints procedure and that (Dutch) subscribers can complain to their provider if they feel that messages are being erroneously blocked.

The ACM is empowered to combat a number of forms of online nuisance and fraud, namely spam, misleading advertisements and also, for example, the abuse of premium SMS services or 0900 numbers. In practice, the providers do the most here, with the ACM only stepping in when end users encounter problems.

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