Chinese spam complaint center kicks off operation

[news release] A complaint center to deal with the increasing volume of spam on telecom networks in China kicked off operations yesterday, the Internet Society of China announced.The complaint center, named 12321 after the hotline number people can call to report spam, was authorized by the Ministry of Industry and Informatization (MII) and set up by the Internet Society of China.People can report spam on the Internet, mobile networks and fixed-line networks to the center by the 12321 hotline, as well as by email, short message or directly through the center’s Web and WAP sites.The center aims to clean up the domestic network environment and protect consumer rights.According to research by the center on handset users, more than 350 billion spam messages sent in China in 2007, representing a year-on-year increase of 92.7 percent. This means that, on average, each mobile user in the country received 12.44 spam messages every week.The research identified three categories for spam messages, namely messages that spread rumors or aim to mislead public opinion, messages that contain violent or pornographic content, and messages that involve criminal acts, such as attempts to trick money out of consumers.Fraudulent messages and trick advertisements are the major contributors to the large volume of spam messages. Most are spread by mass messaging companies, service providers and operators.Government authorities have conducted several crackdowns on spam and pornographic content on telecom networks in recent years. Branches of the former Ministry of Information Industry and telecom operators punished a total of 1,413 value-added telecom service providers in 2007 for violating operating rules and consumer rights.Earlier this year, the MII and 12 other government departments announced they would continue the crackdown on online pornography.Authorities punished 524 illegal online pornography operations and detained 868 related suspects in 2007. The campaign also resulted in the closure of 44,000 Web sites, the deletion of more than 440,000 items containing pornographic content, and the discovery of 8,788 illegal Internet service providers.

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