Informal responses to spamming such as social pressure and industry self-regulation (through cooperation between the Privacy Commissioner, PCCW-HKT and the Hong Kong ISP Association) have been almost entirely ineffectual in battling spam. Technical responses have fared somewhat better, but often at a high cost. Efforts to filter or block spam, for example, frequently prevent legitimate messages from getting through. Other technical responses have done little to stem the tide of spam, and in some instances have led to expensive legal disputes.
Litigation is also not an effective means for solving the problem. Although a number of countries (such as Australia) have enacted specific laws in an attempt to regulate spam, Hong Kong does not have any specific anti-spam legislation. (Some amendments to the Telecommunications Ordinance in 2000 tried to address the issue by introducing the concept of a 'class licence' into the licensing scheme of telecommunications services.) Therefore, Hong Kong's most detailed guidelines on spam prevention are found in a Code of Practice issued by the Hong Kong ISP Association (HKISPA) in 2000. The HKISPA asks its ISP members, to include terms in their Internet access agreement that require the subscriber to not engage in sending spam messages. It also imposes sanctions on those subscribers that act in breach of this condition. Such sanctions include suspension and/or closure of the subscriber's account. However, it must be noted that this Code of Practice is not a law.
The PCO has also issued a statement on anti-spam initiatives. The PCO is also working with ISPs in Hong Kong to tackle spamming. ISPs which conform to their industry Code of Practice will be authorised to use a special identification logo that promotes them as supporters of anti-spamming. The details of the HKISPA code of practice, and some useful tips for minimizing the nuisance of receiving spam can be found at the following link: www.ofta.gov.hk/junk-email/main.html