Thu, Feb 24, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Foreign firms blocking HiNet e-mail: legislator

SPAM A legislator said excessive junk e-mail coming from the ISP has caused foreign companies to block its messages, while HiNet said it is addressing the issue

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

E-mail from state-owned Internet service provider (ISP) HiNet is being blocked by foreign companies because of an excessive amount of spam, a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker said yesterday.

HiNet currently has 3.8 million clients, about 2.4 million of which are ADSL subscribers. The system sends out over 22 million pieces of electronic mail and receives about 150 million pieces daily.

According to Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源), the blockage by foreign ISPs has caused HiNet users inconvenience and been detrimental to the nation's reputation.

"We're asking Chunghwa Telecom Co to pay attention to the matter and immediately take care of it," he said.

Cho also produced negative remarks obtained from the Internet about HiNet. Some ridiculed the company as being a "Taiwanese spam-friendly provider" and some called it a "Taiwan spam house."

Pierre Hsu (徐建萍), a HiNet user, said that he spent about five to 10 minutes a day deleting junk mail from his electronic mailbox.

"I did not realize the severity of the problem until I found out that HiNet is blacklisted by foreign ISPs and that my friends abroad could not receive the e-mail I send them," he said.

Pi Shin-min (皮世明), a professor of information systems management at the Chung Yuan Christian University, proposed three ways to tackle the problem: In addition to prevention, Pi said that the ISP can further strengthen its spam management system and suggested that the government pass laws to regulate junk e-mail.

Kang Chung-yung (康崇原), deputy managing director of the Internet Services Department at Chunghwa Telecom, said that HiNet is not a "spam provider" and that it has been doing its best to prevent clients from receiving spam.

"We'd like to point out that we are not the one who is sending out spam, but [rather it is some] clients inappropriately taking advantage of the service we provide and affecting the interest of others," he said.

Kang said the company accepts customer complaints and revokes the contracts of those found to have been sending excessive amounts of mail from their account.

Although the company terminates about 1,300 contracts a day with such offenders, there are a lot more out there, he said, claiming that 60 percent of potential spam is blocked by the company daily.

Kang called on the legislators to pass the statute governing commercial spam (濫發商業電子郵件管理條例), approved by the Executive Yuan in January.

Visibly displeased with Kang's answer, Cho requested Chunghwa Telecom take a more pro-active approach to handle the problem.

"I highly suspect that you prefer doing business with spammers rather than safeguarding the interests of your clients and the image of the nation," he said.

Kang, however, said that it is illegal for the company to read the content of its clients' letters, unless the law is changed or a new law is enacted to allow them to do so.

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