In Britain, spammers will pay

Friday, 19 September 2003, 2:12 PM EST

Britain Thursday became the second country in Europe to criminalize spam, the unwanted barrage of e-mail and mobile phone text messages promising riches, cheap home loans and a better sex life.

The unsolicited messages, which industry groups say account for more than half of all e-mails sent, have become a time- and resource-wasting scourge of Internet users everywhere.

Under the new British law, spammers face an $8,057 fine if convicted in a magistrates court. The fine from a jury trial would be unlimited. Spammers would not face prison, according to the new law, introduced by Communications Minister Stephen Timms Thursday.

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