UK spam ban comes into force

Thursday, 11 December 2003, 11:43 AM EST

The ban is part of a European Union initiative to eradicate unwanted e-mails, with companies now needing to gain permission before sending junk e-mails or text messages.

From Thursday, senders of unwanted e-mails face fines under EU Privacy and Electronic Communications regulations unless the recipient has agreed in advance to accept the messages.

The new laws also allow the recipient to sue firms that send spam to them. Though spam to consumers is banned, under the law unsolicited spam can be sent to companies, but it must include an opt-out clause.

However, the ban doesn't mean that UK inboxes will now be free of spam. Much of the spam that hits Europe originates from abroad, mainly from the United States, and escapes the new law.

The UK Government says the law as a "step in the right direction" but critics say the ban is too weak and the maximum fine of £5000 ($8720) is too small.

[ Read more ]

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