EU takes step on spam e-mail ban law
Source: USA TODAY
By Elsa Wenzel, Associated Press
Date: December 06, 2003
BRUSSELS — The European Union has asked nine member nations that have failed to adopt a privacy law intended to help the fight against unwanted e-mail to describe how they intend to comply with the law.
Belgium, Germany, Greece, Finland, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden must provide the explanation within two months or face possible court action. The law went into effect Oct. 31.
The law aims to reduce Internet fraud and protect legitimate businesses by banning companies from sending unsolicited e-mail, plucking personal data from Web sites or pinpointing the locations of satellite-linked mobile phone users.
The EU hopes to eradicate unwanted e-mail, which makes up half of Internet traffic, according to the European Commission. However, the legislation stops short of describing how nations can purge and punish senders, who easily cloak their identities on the Internet.
Anyone with an e-mail address and an urge to peddle wares online can buy cheap software to send messages to millions of people in a matter of days.
Six countries — Austria, Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Italy and Spain — have taken steps to adopt the EU law.
"It is urgent that member states adopt a consistent legislative approach to such issues," said Erkki Liikanen, commissioner for enterprise and the information society. "This will strengthen consumer confidence in e-commerce and electronic services."
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