• United States

Spam views across the world

Aug 17, 20043 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMalwareMessaging Apps

* Differing attitudes toward spam around the world

We recently conducted a survey on international attitudes toward spam and presented the results at a meeting of the Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy.  Our survey and analysis focused on comparing attitudes in the U.S. with those elsewhere.  Admittedly, any such comparison should be viewed somewhat skeptically, since the world outside of the U.S. is anything but homogeneous.  However, our results present some interesting food for thought.  Here’s a summary of what we found:

* When asked how serious the spam problem is, there is virtually no difference between organizations in the U.S. and those outside.  One-third of organizations view the spam problem as “huge,” while most of the rest believe that spam-blocking technology handles the problem adequately.  This result was certainly not a surprise, since spam is more or less a universal problem.

* Spam-related problems, however, are viewed as being more serious by U.S. organizations.  We found, for example, that more than 30% of U.S. organizations view phishing attacks as serious or very serious, while fewer than 10% of organizations outside the U.S. view phishing this way.

* Studies by anti-spam software vendors Commtouch and Sophos, have shown that more spam originates in the U.S. than from any other nation.  Because of this, we asked organizations if the U.S. government should be primarily responsible for reducing spam through legislative efforts.  While only 27% of U.S. organizations agreed or strongly agreed with this notion, nearly one-half of organizations outside the U.S. agreed or strongly agreed.

* When asked if the U.S. and European Union should jointly be responsible for stopping spam through legislative efforts, two out of five U.S. organizations agreed or strongly agreed, while three out of five non-U.S. organizations felt this way.

* While about 75% of U.S. organizations believe that technology will be more effective than laws in stopping spam, only about 60% of organizations outside the U.S. believe this.

Once again, generalizing about the “rest of the world” is dangerous because there is an enormous diversity of attitudes and practices worldwide.  However, if nothing else, the survey points out the importance of viewing each region, if not each nation, as distinct markets with unique attitudes and practices regarding e-mail security and the need for government intervention (or lack of government intervention) in solving the spam problem.  Highlights of this research are available at