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European Commission produces a study on tackling spam


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15 October 2009

The European Commission has urged the UK and other European member to do more to tackle spam and should start by taking a more co-ordinated approach to the problem.

A new study to be published this week states that in the UK, relatively few formal controls or co-operation procedures exist to tackle spam and malware, although the government does have a record of working with ISPs and businesses on the problem.

The report said: 'Although legislation has been introduced, sanctions are limited, and few resources have been allocated to the agencies charged with enforcing the rules, No cases have been reported of action being taken against spammers.'

Information commissioner Viviane Reding said the majority of EU citizens were affected by unwanted email even though European anti-spam legislation is seven years old.

He went on to say: 'Although since 2002, European law has prohibited spam and spyware, on average 65 percent of EU citizens are still affected by spam on a regular basis. We need to step up our fight against spammers and make sure that the EU adopts legislation that provides for strong civil and criminal sanctions against spammers.'

In the past three years, Spain and Slovakia have seen the highest amount of enforcement, with each taking action against 39 people for spamming or distributing malware. Romania comes next, with 20 cases.

In addition, the study found fines vary widely. At the high end, the Netherlands saw a €1m fine (&pound930m), and several other countries, such as Romania, Ireland and Latvia, imposed fines ranging from hundreds of euros to several thousand euros.

Reding said the Commission's telecom package which has been in the pipeline for over two years, would provide conditions for the better enforcement of privacy rules.

'A new provision in the EU telecoms rules requires that penalties for breaking national laws on online privacy should be effective, proportionate and dissuasive. It further obliges EU countries to allocate the necessary resources to national enforcement authorities.'

Jane Coyle is a trainee solicitor at Lawdit and can be contacted at

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Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-10-16 19:59:59 in Legal Articles

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