M3AAWG members and invited guests gathered in San Francisco February 20-24, 2023 for our 57th annual meeting. Three hundred and sixty-one members and invited guests were there, and attendees included 84 newbies to our meetings. Twenty-four countries were represented at this gathering, the first fully in-person since February 2020.
While we were able to meet virtually during the dark days of the pandemic, this meeting truly felt like not only a happy reunion of friends and colleagues but a way to the future, with new members and first-timers providing new ideas and energy. We also want to congratulate Chris Lewis, one of our industry’s most expert spam fighters, for our Mary Litynski Award. You can read more here.
I was honored to become your chairperson just a year ago, in addition to leading a number of committees and serving in other roles here at M3AAWG. Since last year’s meeting, we rolled out our priorities and focus areas, implemented a new engagement framework for our partners across our industry and globally, and created a new way to bring in subject matter expertise to support our initiatives.
M3AAWG’s overall success fighting online abuse is dependent on valuable contributions of its (volunteer) members, partnering communities, and expert advisors. We continued making improvements to prioritize and ensure we maintain a diverse and inclusive culture. In the coming year we will be seeking and working with expert diversity and inclusion advisors to help refine our existing workstreams.
On the focus areas front, we believed that while our group had many worthwhile projects planned or underway, we needed to assess how to apply limited resources – the valuable time of our volunteer members. After extensive evaluation of the current messaging, security, Internet and network infrastructure environment, we have aligned our work to four key industry topics, including readiness, data and identity protection, communications and supply chain.
These focus areas also reflect alignment with external activities, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework, standards groups and our regional partners, and will evolve to more proactive guidance and recommendations. For example, we recently submitted comments to NIST for a potential update to the framework.
Members since have been working to identify potential projects, known as initiatives, which align to our focus areas and are being tackled across committees. Thanks to the ability of our members to attend meetings and meet more regularly the last year, the pace of publications providing industry guidance is accelerating.
Recent publications include “Help! I’ve Hit a Spamtrap!”, a guide to taking down offensive content with a useful template, protecting parked domains and a brand protection guide, as well as results of our 2022 TLS survey. Watch for new publications around ransomware and more soon.
Similarly, our policy committee continues to monitor, address and publish our position on policy, including Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed rules on illegal text messaging, potential changes to WHOIS domain management rules and coming soon, comments to updates to the NIST cybersecurity framework.
Despite the energy and expertise of our members, we can’t solve all the problems ourselves. We continue to build and nurture relationships with complementary industry groups worldwide, including a new relationship with the Forum of Incidence Response Teams (FIRST) and renewed activities with the Latin American and Caribbean Network Information Center, along with ongoing relationships with the FIDO Alliance and others.
M3AAWG has long celebrated its senior advisors, many of whom have been providing their perspectives and lived experiences for many years. We thank them and will continue to call on them for input on our initiatives and publications. As we evolve our work into different or new areas of focus, we have created a new expert advisor program.
Watch for details, but our hope is that members can identify potential experts for their initiatives and experts can apply to be part of our efforts.
It was truly gratifying to see all of you in San Francisco, and we hope those of you who could not attend will consider joining us in the future. Our next meeting is in Dublin Ireland, in early June, and we welcome you to also submit ideas for the sessions that make attendance so worthwhile.
Finally, I’d like to thank and recognize members, advisors and our staff for its work the last year as we have implemented the focus areas, partner framework, initiatives and our meetings. And as always, we thank our sponsors for their support of our meetings and overall working group.