UK Spam Laws: Too Little, Too Late, Too Lame

from the whose-fault-again? dept

Just a few days ago we reported that British politicians were saying spam was all the US’s fault because we wouldn’t pass the spam legislation they wanted. So, how are they doing over there in the UK? Here’s a report that suggests their own spam laws are just as bad. describes them as too little, too late, too lame. The biggest problem is that the law only applies to personal email addresses. You can spam away to anyone’s work email. They do this because they don’t want to prevent the ability for legitimate businesses to market themselves. So, once again, the real problem is that it’s nearly impossible to define spam in a way to make it illegal without also cutting out legitimate emails.

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Comments on “UK Spam Laws: Too Little, Too Late, Too Lame”

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1 Comment
Noel Duffy says:

Spam laws

The problem is certainly not that spam can’t be defined. It can be and has been defined just fine.
(as unsolicited bulk mail). The problem is that pro-spam groups such as the DMA
have lobbied intensely to convince governments that mandating opt-in would harm so-called legitimate businesses.

The effect of this legislation will be to worsen the spam problem. I can’t help but wonder if this legislation goes against the EU E-Privacy Directive 2002/58/EC though. At least Italy has the right idea. This summary from spamhaus lists the main points:

The Italian law states (in brief):

  1. – The sending of Unsolicited Bulk Email is now forbidden by law.
  2. – If done for profit purposes, the senders face fines up to 90,000 euros,
    and may be sent to jail.
  3. – Email addresses cannot be used for promotional mailings without
    consent, no matter where and how they were collected.
  4. – There is no such a thing as a ‘public email address’ in the usual
    sense of the word ‘public’, i.e: all email addresses are private.
  5. – forgeries are not allowed.
  6. – Those who purchase address lists _must_ verify that each and every
    address in the list gave consent (that is, responsibility cannot be
    discharged on the list seller, ever).

If we are serious about stopping spam then the rest of us need laws like this.

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