Byline: Frances Anderson
Spam is truly the luncheon meat of emails. With an estimated seven billion junk emails (about three quarters of all email traffic) being sent on a daily basis, offering Viagra, share tips, and opportunities to empty your bank account fast, it was inevitable that governments would eventually act to curb mass emailing by marketeers.
Earlier this month we saw a Scottish court effectively fining a company which sent a disgruntled recipient an unsolicited marketing email pounds 750 plus more than pounds 600 in costs.
The company, Transcom ISP Limited, had broken anti-spam laws introduced by the European Union in 2003. Many marketing companies still break them by sending out advertising or marketing messages without obtaining the consent of their recipients, and where there is no existing relationship with the recipients.
This recent court decision is likely to pave the way for a number of similar cases. Small claims procedures in courts will make it easier for consumers to take low-cost legal action against offenders.
The law now requires companies to secure an "opt-in" from prospective recipients before they can send them marketing emails . The traditional "opt out" used for data protection purposes is no longer enough and may companies have failed to realise the significance of this difference. …