Italy To Send Spammers To Jail

from the see-how-the-experiment-works dept

Most people (myself included) have been saying that anti-spam legislation is unlikely to work. However, it will still be interesting to see what happens when harsh anti-spam laws are enforced. Italy is now threatening jail time and large fines for anyone caught spamming. Of course, I can already see problems with the law. They define spam simply as “sending e-mails without the permission of the receiver.” That might be too inclusive. Someone I don’t know who reads Techdirt and sends me an email would then be qualified as a spammer. This happens many times every day, but I don’t consider those emails spam. Even worse, what if I suddenly decide that I don’t want emails from people I know. Even though they’ve emailed me in the past, they need “permission” each time they email me? How does that work? Ultimately the definition of spam is based on each user, and trying to codify that in the law is nearly impossible. Furthermore, any local spam law is useless against spam from outside that location. My guess is that this law may catch a few (not particularly intelligent) spammers – but will do little to slow the onslaught, and may even cause legal hassles for some who sent completely innocent emails. I can just imagine someone charging an ex-significant other or business associate they no longer want to work with as a spammer for sending them email “without permission”.

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Comments on “Italy To Send Spammers To Jail”

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aNonMooseCowherd says:

sender pays

Going to an email system where the sender pays the recipient would solve most of the spam problems. Charging even a small amount, like a penny per copy, would probably discourage most spammers but have little effect on anyone else except maintainers of mailing lists; they might have to charge their readers to recoup their costs.

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