Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon: Global

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon: Global

Article excerpt

The other day my email inbox included details of two special deals. One said, 'Increase your penis size', the other, 'Enlarge your breasts'. I would look a little silly, presumably, if I took up both offers. But then senders of unsolicited emails, or 'spam' as they have become known, are not exactly counting on a high response rate to the advertisements. The marginal cost of sending a spam being next to nothing, spammers can afford to generate messages in the knowledge that even if they get one reply in a million they will still make a profit.

It is terribly annoying, but whether the government's proposal to threaten senders of unsolicited emails with L5,000 fines is a sensible way of dealing with the problem is another matter. The proposed law, inspired by an EU directive, would forbid any organisation to send a private computer-user an email without permission. In future an organisation wanting to make contact with a member of the public would have to send an individual a piece of junk mail instead - or worse, cold-call them, a practice which will remain legal. …

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