New anti-spam laws fail to bite

Wednesday, 14 January 2004, 6:38 PM EST

In the past month the U.S. and UK governments have passed laws designed to thwart unsolicited e-mail marketing. Their effect, however, will be unnoticeable because of legal limitations, according to those in the industry.

"To breach the rules is not a criminal offence," says Elizabeth Dunn, a compliance manager at the Information Commissioner's Office responsible for enforcing the UK laws.

Dunn has received complaints "in the hundreds" from annoyed e-mail users disillusioned by the build-up to the law's enactment on December 12.

"We don't have the swift injunctive powers that we need to act against those abusing the medium. A lot of people assume the law is stronger than it is."

"The measures seem to be too little too late," adds Rupert Walmsley, a partner at ITC Internet which offers Web hosting along with spam filtering.

By Motez Bishara at CNN.

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