Email

by Mike Masnick




Hong Kong Proposes Outlawing All Unsolicited Commercial Email... Even For Those With Existing Relationships

from the a-bit-extreme dept

There have been plenty of complaints about the US's CAN SPAM law and the equivalent law in the UK that has been fairly useless, mainly due to all of the loopholes. Over in Hong Kong, it looks like they're trying to create their own anti-spam law that doesn't come with such loopholes. In fact, it has so few loopholes that it could potentially outlaw all sorts of commercial email that most people probably wouldn't consider spam. Basically, the law won't allow any email to have any marketing message whatsoever, unless the recipient has specifically requested it -- even in cases of pre-existing relationships. While it does sound like some of the marketing folks may be overreacting (saying things like product recall notices would be illegal under the law) you can also see how this particular law may go a bit overboard in outlawing all sorts of email that most people probably wouldn't consider spam. What this really highlights, however, is just how difficult it is to come up with a law that can successfully outlaw spam. If there are any loopholes, then spammers will figure out ways to exploit them. If there are no loopholes, then you're probably killing off plenty of legitimate email as well.

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  • identicon
    Anthony, 11 Oct 2006 @ 12:20am

    Recently I signed on as a member to a handful of sites selling computer hardware. (Had to, to check the shipping price, but thats another story).

    In most cases, these sites had a tickbox "Receive newsletter" in the signup form. Thats fine with me - I unticked it, because I didn't intend to revisit the site or be a regular customer. I don't want to know about their specials etc.

    If one of these sites sends me a newsletter without my permission, even a once off "Hey, would you like to sign up to our newsletter? Heres a sample!", I won't be happy with them. Far better to get permission before even sending that first one.

    This method would pass the proposed HK laws, because I specifically requested it when signing up. And because I've requested it, I'm far more likely to pay attention to it and buy the products. Win-win?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      ?, 11 Oct 2006 @ 1:47am

      Re:

      Email alises are great for this. Signing up with a vendor, don't what they, or the people who buy them out are going to do with your email address?

      Create an alias. When they start sending you crap, you can delete them, and you don't have to change your real account email address

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Shohat, 11 Oct 2006 @ 12:23am

    I like

    It means that when I subscribe to a newsletter , I actually get information , and am not treated like "a targeted audience with high conversion rates" .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mrgastix, 11 Oct 2006 @ 1:08am

    Mail problem not spam problem

    Problem lies in e-mail protocol not in spam itself. Spam can be hadled if you have a choise to contact the sender. Repetitive spam is a true annoyance and you really cannot prevent it because spammer adopt to filters quickly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jdragon, 11 Oct 2006 @ 1:11am

    commies...

    I smell a commie behind this law proposal...let's just ban email all together and use snail mail instead. Oh wait, I still get tons of marketing crap in my snail mailbox too...let's just ban communication altogether then!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Just Me, 11 Oct 2006 @ 2:50am

    I am not sure if this is a solution at all. It is not usually the case that spammers are aware of where their recipients live (US, UK, etc).

    As such, it might be possible to prevent spammers in living Hong Kong from spamming people living in Hong Kong...but would it stop spammers living in the EU..or other parts of the world?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Paul, 11 Oct 2006 @ 3:01am

    Simple Laws

    Unless I handed over my email address to you directly (via a web form or an email or some other form of sign up) I should never recieve any kind of _mass_ sent commercial email from you.

    The key here is mass sent. If I run a business or say I have a personal webpage with some artwork on it, it should be fine for some passerby to see my artwork, see my email on my webpage and send me a business related email saying "hey I like your work, lets to business" but not some mass generated email.

    Furthermore this would kill email address farming/selling that so many companies do. I sign up for one site, they give my email to a few other sites, those companies send me _mass generated_ emails.

    The only _mass generated_ email I should ever unsolicitely recieve from any company is some sort of crucial notification, such as a recall, class action suit that I may qualify for etc.

    And of course, all mass emails, even solicited ones, should have a "unsubscribe" link at the bottom that should take no more than a total of 2 clicks to complete (one to click the link, one to confirm the action) none of this making me "log in" to change my email settings with an account I never even set up in the first place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bigSteve, 11 Oct 2006 @ 4:09am

    I don't see a problem

    I'm a software guy by trade. I have a half a dozen email accounts and spam hasn't bothered me in years. I use junk accounts for ordering stuff online, accounts like hotmail. I use large accounts for friends just in case they're sending personal work, or video (gmail - their spam filters rock). I have my work account for work which is filtered. When I say filtered, I mean we use DNS blacklisting, spam assassin and many other freely (linux based) available solutions that are out there. I don't receive junk email in that box.

    Where's the problem? If you have one email address and it gets inundated with junk, there are many solutions out there. We don't need to make laws for which there are already solutions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bozo the Non Wonder Dog, 11 Oct 2006 @ 8:57am

    Sign me up!

    When signing up for vendors to see shipping prices, tech "member only" websites to get answers, etc... you could use something like Mailinator(http://www.mailinator.com/mailinator/index.jsp) which creates a dummy account then deletes the account after a couple hours. After you've had a chance to click the link for activation, or get your password, or whatever you need to do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Keybored, 11 Oct 2006 @ 9:11am

    IPv6

    Maybe the new Internet protocal will (hopefully) stop this sh^t. Spam will be traced right back to the offending sender, no?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    wolff000, 11 Oct 2006 @ 9:51am

    THIS SHOULD BE A LAW WORLDWIDE.

    No one should be able to solicit business with me over an email unless I specifically tell them to. I don't think this law goes to far. I actually think it should go further and be applied to snail mail as well. If anyone breaks the law then they should be shot simple solutions are always best.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Griffon, 11 Oct 2006 @ 10:58am

    A thing of beuty

    I don't know sounds like a thing of beauty to me. Every inception, every good intentioned air hole, gets a semi truck full of spam crammed through it. I say lash every thing down to tight that a company can barely send mail internal and then slowly oh so slowly start to allow things again.The situation with spam is totally out of control world wide. The spam makes up a depressingly large amount of the total net traffic and eats way to much mind share.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Oct 2006 @ 11:33am

    Some say the spam law goes to far. I say the spam law doesn't go to far enough.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      bigSteve, 12 Oct 2006 @ 4:38am

      Re:

      You say the law doesn't go far enough because you don't understand the problem. The ones sending spam are much smarter than the individuals trying to catch the spammers. This is a completely typical scenario in the tech field, the thieves/wrongdoers are more educated, and better trained in the tech fields than the cops. Law enforcement won't be able to catch these guys anytime soon and frankly it's a complete waste of resources to try. If the world is going to spend millions chasing and enforcing spammers, we're doomed. There are so many bigger issues to address.

      And... a response to your previous post. I understand the issue you call a problem. What I was trying to explain in laymans terms is that there is no problem, if you have a solution. If you don't know what you're talking about, keep it to yourself. Again... on this forum, thanks for a snide, useless comment.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    hellen.m.gbaru, 26 Jan 2007 @ 8:29am

    i need to know more people in the world

    i need to know more people in the world, and have more fun about this world. i like making tours, turn on;truth and trustwarthy, turn off;lies and dishonesty.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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