and enforcement - a cross-border issue
Although there is no a single solution to overcoming spam, appropriate legislation
and effective enforcement are two of the main elements in the fight to combat
As the phenomenon of spam is relatively recent, not all countries have spam
laws, and even those that have already implemented specific legislation are
currently facing the problem of enforcement at the national and international
spammers (often also scammers) are increasingly exploiting the international
nature of the Internet. For this reason, cross-border cooperation is crucial both in
elaboration and the implementation of new legislation and in its subsequent
In October 2003, the European Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications
(2002/58/EC) entered into force. With this directive, the sending of unsolicited
communications via e-mail, SMS or phone has become more rigidly regulated across
all European Union (EU) member States. The basic principles are:
- Opt-in approach: businesses to gain prior consent before sending
unsolicited emails for direct marketing. This consent must be explicitly
given, except where there is an existing customer relationship.
- Technology neutral definition of spam: it covers also SMS, MMS, etc.
devices (including spyware).
See also Communication
from the Commission on unsolicited commercial communications or "spam"
In January 2004, the United States
Act entered into force. This bill does not ban commercial e-mail outright,
but establishes a series of rules for lawful electronic marketing, based on two
- Recipients of commercial electronic mail have a right to decline to
receive additional commercial electronic messages from the same source
- Senders of commercial e-mails should not mislead recipients as to the
source or content of such mail.
To facilitate the determination of weather an e-mail message is subject to
the provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act, the Federal
Trade Commission issued on 16 December 2004 the Final
Rule Defining What Constitutes a “Commercial Electronic Mail Message."
of the Final Rule is available online.
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