Local laws no help to e-mail users bothered by spam

Unsolicited e-mail that clogs up mailboxes is a big problem for internet users in Sri Lanka, but the Sri Lanka Telecommunication Regulatory Authority says it is unable to do much to help.

The authority’s chairman Anusha Palpita said internet users have made complaints of large volumes of unwanted mail, or spam, blocking systems, but the authority has no comprehensive solution to offer. Spam comes mostly as business promotions or advertising campaigns.

IT consultant Sanath Siriwardena said technology to block spam is available in the US, but not in Sri Lanka, where there are no laws covering unsolicited mail.

Pradeep Kodithuwakku, a senior systems engineer at a private IT firm, said unsolicited e-mail is a big problem in South-Asian countries. “Unauthorised persons obtain our e-mail addresses and sent out mails,” he said, adding that hackers too could get hold of addresses. Installing a filter may help, Mr. Kodithuwakku said.

Rohana Palliyaguru, chief engineer at the Sri Lanka Computer Emergency and Readiness Team (SLERT), told the Sunday Times the team has received complaints of spam, but cannot take action as there are no relevant laws in place.

“You can use a filter or adjust e-mail settings, but that will not stop spam 100 per cent,” he said. Sri Lanka Telecom had no comment to make when the Sunday Times contacted the organisation to discuss the spam issue.

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