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EU to Require Opt-In for Commercial Email

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the all-things-dull-and-ugly dept.

Spam 379

D4C5CE writes "EuroCAUCE (Usenet message below) and Heise (in German) report that the European Parliament has voted to ban spam by adopting the "opt-in" system for unsolicited commercial email, finally freeing the way for the entry into force of a "European Parliament and Council directive concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector". The news of the parliamentary U-turn comes after a recommendation by the "Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs" to permit "opt-out" marketing had received critical coverage, causing countless spam victims world-wide to alert the Members of the European Parliament to the big mistake they were about to make, and it is hoped to become the useful precedent of a workable approach for US lawmakers currently evaluating means to regulate spam as well." The Parliament's daily notebook has an overview. Individual EU countries still have to implement this with legislation before it is effective.

From: Beebit <beebit-u03@euro.cauce.org>
Newsgroups: news.admin.net-abuse.email, talk.politics.european-union
Subject: European Parliament Supports 'Opt-In' for Commercial Email
Date: Thu, 30 May 2002 13:08:11 +0200

The European Parliament has decided to accept the Council's Common Position which would require senders of advertisements by "electronic mail" to have the recipient's prior consent. "Electronic mail" is defined broadly enough so as to include text messaging systems based on mobile telephony in addition to email.

The 'opt-in' requirement for electronic mail will be in Article 13, Paragraph 1 of the new Directive concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector which will enter into force following its publication in the Official Journal. The Directive will guide the enactment of legislation throughout the European Economic Area, which includes the 15 EU Member States and European Free Trade Association members Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. EU Members Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, and Italy as well as EFTA member Norway had already implemented 'opt-in' in their national legislation.

Further provisions in the same Article would allow companies to send advertising via email for their own products or services of a similar category to addresses which they had obtained in the course of a sale, unless and until the customer has registered an objection. Customers are to be given the opportunity to object "free of charge and in an easy manner" both at the time the contact details are collected and with each advertising message.

All in all, is an extremely welcome development, and should serve as an example and inspiration for legislators in other territories. We are absolutely delighted to see Parliament joining the Commission and the Council in taking a stand to protect European consumers and network users. It only remains to extend similar protection to corporate citizens. This will probably have to be within the framework of other legislation than that pertaining to the processing of "personal data".

~~~
The European Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email is an all-volunteer, ad-hoc grouping of Internet users and professionals dedicated to bringing about an end to an unethical practice by technical and legislative means. http://www.euro.cauce.org/en/

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379 comments

Jenny Jones FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610075)

It so real!

damned america (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Cowrad (571322) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610090)

Why must we be so behind the times when it comes to things like this?

Oh, right. We don't want to interfere with business' right to annoy the hell out of us.

I can't see this ever working in the US (1, Insightful)

delphin42 (556929) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610092)

As much as I hate spam, I can't help but think that this would have to be percieved as an unconstitutional restriction on speech. I don't think that requiring an opt-in policy in all cases would fly here.

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (3, Insightful)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610122)

How is keeping mail that I didn't ask for, don't want, and have to pay for out of my inbox an "unconstitutional restriction on speech"? If they want to put their shit in my mailbox, they can at least have the good graces to pay the (e-)postage themselves.

The right of someone else to spend my money without my permission is exactly nil.

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (3, Interesting)

Kombat (93720) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610188)

The right of someone else to spend my money without my permission is exactly nil.

Two things.

1. Unless you're paying for your dialup "by-the-byte" (does anyone still operate that way anymore?), they're not spending your money. You've already spent it. Internet is flat-fee in the vast majority of areas.

2. Even your strong statement is not without precendent. See cell phones. If you're out of town, and I call you, YOU pay a long distance charge, just for answering your phone. Isn't this exactly analogous to checking your email? So yes, people can spend your money - it's not unheard of.

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (1)

neuroticia (557805) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610239)

Hm. But isn't sending unsolicited commercial advertisements to cellphones, or calling cellphones as a telemarketer illegal, since the reciepient has to pay for the call/spam? I'm not sure, but I thought it was.

-Sara

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (2)

SIGFPE (97527) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610262)


they're not spending your money

Of course they are. Spam=bandwidth. Wasted bandwidth means either more equipment is required to carry the same amount of useful data OR you suffer from reduced bandwidth. Either way you end up with reduced bang for your buck.

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (2)

blamanj (253811) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610264)

cell phones. If you're out of town, and I call you, YOU pay a long distance charge, just for answering your phone.

That's not entirely true. The cell phone will show the caller's number. If it looks like long distance or someone unknown, the receiver can let it drop into voice mail, which can be accessed for free.

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (1)

Ngwenya (147097) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610287)

I see your point - but bandwidth still isn't free. You still have to pay connection charges as well as ISP charges.

And those charges are (at least in part) set by the overall level of data transferred. Now, individually, it's true - you've already paid for it. But collectively, the more useless traffic on the networks, the more that we'll be required to pay individually.

--Ng

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (3, Informative)

delphi125 (544730) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610289)

Unless you're paying for your dialup "by-the-byte"

Two things.

1. Unless they've invented infinite bandwidth dialup, every kilobyte takes about a fifth of a second (assuming a good modem).

2. Phone companies in Europe (and elsewhere, excluding USA) charge by the second for local calls. It gets quoted by the minute (e.g. 2 eurocents per minute) but nowadays is calculated by the second (in NL on ISDN at least).

TANSTAAFL

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610323)

1. Unless you're paying for your dialup "by-the-byte" (does anyone still operate that way anymore?), they're not spending your money. You've already spent it. Internet is flat-fee in the vast majority of areas.

And your ISP just swallows the cost of spam (increased bandwidth, storage and manpower) without passing it on to their customers? No, the flat-fee you pay your ISP pays for the spam it receives, as well as all the other business costs and perhaps some profit.

Just because you're not paying by the byte at most US ISPs does not mean that you aren't paying. And a lot of Europeans are paying by the byte, so the cost of spam is much more clear there.

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (3, Insightful)

seizer (16950) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610141)

As has been said many times before, but which is obviously worth repeating here:

It is NOT a restriction on speech, because unsolicitied commercial email places a financial burdern upon the recipient, where the recipient has NOT consented to undertake that burden.

That is, they often have to directly pay to receive what they never requested. It is somewhat akin to having someone send you a magazine in the mail, and then bill you for it.

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (-1, Troll)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610258)

unsolicitied commercial email places a financial burdern upon the recipient, where the recipient has NOT consented to undertake that burden.

No more than your post on slashdot places a financial burden upon slashdot, where slashdot has NOT consented to undertake that burden.

Face it, by putting up an email server, you are consenting to receive email.

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (1)

og_sh0x (520297) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610292)

If putting up a publicly accessible server, offering user accounts to anyone who signs up, and even allowing people who have no account to post as Anonymous Coward, does not constitute Slashdot's consent to undertake the burden of allowing someone's post, then what does?

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (2)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610362)

If putting up a publicly accessible server, offering user accounts to anyone who signs up, and even allowing people who have no account to post as Anonymous Coward, does not constitute Slashdot's consent to undertake the burden of allowing someone's post, then what does?

Sendmail is a publically accessible service, and it allows people who have no account to post using any arbitrary psudonym they want. That also constitutes consent to undertake the burden of allowing someone's email.

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (2)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610374)

"where slashdot has NOT consented to undertake that burden."

Hm. How much do you pay for the premium "no post or reply button" /.?

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (5, Insightful)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610388)

Face it, by putting up an email server, you are consenting to receive email.

Yeah, and she dressed like a slut, too.

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (1)

doorbot.com (184378) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610318)

It is somewhat akin to having someone send you a magazine in the mail, and then bill you for it.

Actually, I think a better analogy would be Time Magazine calling you up after you order Time for your parents, and asking if you'd like to hear their offers for Time books. You say no, and they hang up. Then they send you the latest collection of Time books and automatically withdraw their payment from your checking account even as the books are being delivered. Not only that, but unless you run your own postal service, Time books pays the postman to leave the product at your house, or otherwise force you to take delivery.

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610249)

I can't believe that this old troll claptrap got modded insightful. It is far from insightful - it is downright ignorant.

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (3, Insightful)

PepsiProgrammer (545828) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610255)

One must ask oneself, if an unsolicited email system is completely opt-in, is it still unsolicited?

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (1)

DarkGamer (462552) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610259)

You have freedom of speech if I have the right to walk away. This is a clear case of spammmers' rights infringing upon my own. Harmful speech is still illegal in the US. No slander, no yelling fire in a crowded theatre, and no parking your fucking ads in my garage.

I belong to the ACLU and I would still support a bill that put every telemarketer and spammer out of business.

(envisions imagery of children of every race, skipping hand in hand under a rainbow)

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (0, Flamebait)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610315)

You have freedom of speech if I have the right to walk away.

You do have the right to walk away. Every email you receive is downloaded voluntarily.

Spam is not forced upon me any more than your slashdot post is.

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (5, Insightful)

Coward, Anonymous (55185) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610283)

What you say is protected by the constituion, how you say it is not. I am legally forbidden from spraypainting words onto your car, nor can I shout them through a megaphone at 3:00 AM into your bedroom window. I'm not even allowed to urinate a speech into the sidewalk or tap morse code into your forehead. There's nothing unconstitutional about banning spam. We already ban methods of communication which are annoying, the above being only a partial list of illegal methods of communication.

Re:I can't see this ever working in the US (1)

SampleMinded (580479) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610310)

I think one can differentiate commercial speach from other protected forms of speach.
Coporations aren't people, however due to the supreme courts misinterpretation of the 14th amendment they are given the all rights of people with none of the responciblities.
Given this condition I think you are right we won't see laws like this pass in the US. However, I hold out hope that as the level of annoyance rises people will demand action. Plus, as spam expands and affects more people, it will become a less affective advertising medium. Once that happens large corporations will not have any incentive to fight for it legislatively. Then we will start to have a chance at solving the problem here.

Balance of rights. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610341)

Just as your freedom to swing a fist ends where my nose begins, your right to send UCE ends where my Inbox begins. Free speech should not trump private property rights. This is America, remember?

Opt-in doesn't work (1)

MImeKillEr (445828) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610094)

I regularly recieve email stating that I'd opted-in to get junkmail from various places, but mostly from the bastards at CustomOffers.com

What we need are ways to impose BIG FINES against such companies.

Long awaited! (1)

/dot (141180) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610100)

Now there is a european decission I've been waiting for.
Now if only those spammers in off-shore areas, eastern countries or the carribean would care about european laws ...

Requiring OptIn isn't going to change a damn thing (1, Insightful)

UnhandledException (254634) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610102)

Almost every piece of spam I get (that I've read) tells me that I've "elected to recieve special offers." So as far as they're concerned, I've opted in. (The actual truth is, of course, irrelevant.) If they can lie about me not opting out, they can lie about me opting in. What's changed?

Re:Requiring OptIn isn't going to change a damn th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610169)

Then you sue them. What they are doing is illegal.

Re:Requiring OptIn isn't going to change a damn th (2, Interesting)

jarkko (40871) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610182)

Opt-In is going to change things, ie. making non-opt-in commercial emails (adverts) illegal, making it possible to prosecute the violator. It's already illegal in .fi but I'm not sure if there are any suitable precedents.

There's also a loophole (I think) in that the Finnish law only forbids spam to personal email-accounts. I've gotten my share of Finnish webmaster@blaablaa.com spam.

Re:Requiring OptIn isn't going to change a damn th (1)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610209)

However, if the spammer is taken to court and can't prove that you (and everyone else that the lawsuit is pursue on behalf) have opted in, then they lose.

The real problem is trying to go after spammers that are in countries that don't respect EU (or US or Canadian or wherever you live) laws. It is only good against local spammers, and in my experience, they aren't that bad. (Keywords: My experience, so don't flame :)

Re:Requiring OptIn isn't going to change a damn th (2)

Diabolical (2110) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610276)

What's changed is that when this put into law it is concidered a fellony when they send spam to people that did not opt-in. Opt-out is something entirely different. Now they when they can be charged a fine if they spam you without your consent (as if someone want's to be spammed explicitly..)

This means a significant win. Up until now spammers could do whatever they wanted because nothing was regulated about this subject. Now it is.

Re:Requiring OptIn isn't going to change a damn th (4, Insightful)

peddrenth (575761) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610278)

Why is that insightful? If someone claims to have your permission, or that you've opted in, challenge them on it. It'll soon be illegal to send spam without permission, so if they can't prove it, they get fined.

The type of emails you're taking about also tend to claim compliance with a fake US statute, and refer to various laws which were never passed. This is known as lying, or "fraud" on a commercial scale, which is presumably illegal anyway for legitimate companies emailing from Europe.

(In the US it doesn't really matter what's illegal anyway, just because of the cost of legal action to get anything done)

We'll still have to block CH/TW/KO/JP, because they'll keep sending the "you have elected to receive..." emails (hint: that's a good phrase to regexp on and delete the email)

Otherwise a pity there're so many people I need to talk to in the US, otherwise I'd be able to block email from America too, and live in a spam-free virtual Europe.

Re:Requiring OptIn isn't going to change a damn th (1)

Target Drone (546651) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610369)

Here's one of those disclaimers I got in a piece of spam. Emphasis mine.
Your privacy is extremely important to us. You requested to receive this mailing, by registering at CustomOffers.com or by subscribing through one of our
marketing partners. As a leader in permission-based email marketing, we are committed to delivering a highly rewarding experience, with offers that include bargains, entertainment, and money-making ideas.
Hopefully the legislation will make it illegal to "partner" with another company. I fear that large companies will be able to get around this though. For example if I accidentally opt-in (and they will make this easy) when signing up for a hot mail account I think this would mean that Microsoft could send spam to me from any of the other websites it owns.

In other words... (1)

Jhon (241832) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610104)

The EU has decided to pass "opt-in" legislation which will be next to impossible to enforce. Lovely. Maybe they'll outlaw nose picking, nail biting and other bad habits.

BUT, it's a nice thought.

- jhon

Re:In other words... (2, Interesting)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610174)

It will be enough to go after the big offenders. It will result in the ability to launch class action lawsuits. And that is more than what we have in the US and Canada.

Not that I am a lawyer, i'm just saying.

Re:In other words... (1)

Jhon (241832) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610210)

There's already anti-spam laws in the states -- (at least in SOME states). How many class action law suites have been filed? How much in penalties have been collected? How well has it reduced spam?

Answer to all: Very little if any.

Again, it's a nice thought, but I haven't seen a workable solution appear yet.

-jhon

Re:In other words... (1)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610273)

That's probably more to do with the fact that many spammers don't spam "locally" and it is hard to pursue them.

Overall, the real workable solution is a new method of email where a third party can validate identity (kind of like being able to screen calls with caller id). But then you lose anonymity. THat may be the price we have to pay. I imagine that email will one day be superceded by such a system.

All EU legislation is 'opt-in' (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610197)

Here in the UK were piss poor at implemeting EU legislation, infact we normally opt-out.
here are a few examples:-

Bad opt/2 outs

Human Rights (we don't really have any!!)

Health and Saftey (working time directive, [covers breaks, holiday, maximum length of a continius shift, number of hours in a week])

Free trade (good for bypassing high taxes in the UK)

Good opt outs

The Euro (well done for opting out i say)

Bad opt ins

Metrification (well we opted out for a while, now the evil metric system has been forced upon us)

That farmers things that created the butter mountains &co.

What sort of opt in. (2)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610111)

I hope they require a proper click box for opt in, rather than imbedded in a clickthrough license agreement...

Either way opt-in is the way to go wrt email from commercial interests, I hope my country (US) adopts such restrictions for its corperations.

*OPT* in (1)

EdMcMan (70171) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610118)

According to the spam I get daily, I "opt-in" to tens of spam every day. Unfortunately, I havn't. While it's a nice idea.. spam must be banned completely. No one wants spam.. it's just a fact legislators are going to have to accept.. opt-in spam is just spam.

Re:*OPT* in (1)

MImeKillEr (445828) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610175)

You and I are in the same boat.

I've started taking the email addresses of the spammers and signing them up for "opt-in" email. Whether this is enough to keep them busy is anyone's guess.

Re:*OPT* in (2, Insightful)

jonasj (538692) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610356)

I've started taking the email addresses of the spammers and signing them up for "opt-in" email. Whether this is enough to keep them busy is anyone's guess.
Hopefully you don't just use the From-address? Spammers often pick their From-addresses randomly from their list of email addresses to spam. The innocent individual whose email address is used as From-address is harmed much more than the other spam recipients since lots of people will report them to their ISPs, send them angry mails, or... sign them up for opt-in email.

Never complain about spam unless you can verify with 100% certainty that the address you are complaining about is the actual address of the spammer. Doing otherwise will just harm innocent spam victims.

Re:*OPT* in (1)

EdMcMan (70171) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610360)

Lol! That is a great idea! I spamcop(.net) every spam that I get, but signing them up for their own "services" sounds like a neat idea.

Re:*OPT* in (1)

azadrozny (576352) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610248)

How do you define spam? I have intentionally and unintentionally had my name put on mailing lists. I would consider anything that I have requested, even if it has marketing material to be legit. The stuff we really need to get rid of is the junk, lose ten pounds today, make $10,000 tomorrow unsigned stuff. That is the stuff cloging mail servers all over the world.

The opt-in approach is great if you have someone empowered to enforcement. Something tells me that the local police or district attorney has better things to do than to track down a junk mail sender that may or may not be in their jurisdiction.

However if we could create some autonomus orginization like MIB or Section 31 that would have the power to hang spamers by their toe nails, that would be effective :)

Re:*OPT* in (1)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610350)

Any mailing list that includes products or services for sale is by your definition spam.

But by my definition what you propose is censorship. As hard as it must be for you to believe, some people like to receive email about things they are interested in purchasing, especially hobbyists.

Yes, the distinction of solicited vs unsolicited spam is hard to define and prove, but you just suggested throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Any "official" language to opt-in? (2)

Vuarnet (207505) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610119)

I would find it extremely annoying (if it were the case that I was living in Europe, which saddly enough it isn't), if I started to receive e-mail in several different languages all trying to opt me into some SPAM-list.

Achtung! Die spammingmessagezunzuzkriben is nicht fer yer fingerpokin! Clicken-zie to unsubzkriven spamhaus und wilkommen billiards und billiards of weightenlozen, Paenisenlonginment und CowboyNealen mail.

Mobile phones might have something to do with this (4, Interesting)

PenguinRadio (69089) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610124)

One reason the EU might be more advanced is because of the widespread use of mobile phones and the belief (one day) that a mobile device will be your main Internet connection. With per-minute or per-bit charges, getting spammed is going to end up costing people some serious coin if spam continues to grow out of control.

I think this is a point a number of US politicians need to understand. With some of the charges proposed for 3G in the US ($2 a mb in some places) the end user could end up paying for a lot of crap e-mail.

You're absolutely right (2)

DaveWood (101146) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610206)

And even without 3G, we're already paying for the medium - it's just cheaper. It's a no-brainer that systematic unsolicited communications where the receiver pays for delivery should be illegal.

I think the U.S. ultimately likes it because legislators are being told these kinds of communications are good for the economy because they stimulate business by creating new transactions. But of course, you could say the same for legalizing fraud. Both approaches have long term conseunces which are bad in the end.

-David

That's it... (0, Flamebait)

natet (158905) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610127)

I'm moving to Europe, the real land of the Free! At least there they somewhat listen to the people.

Re:That's it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610305)

Put it in the pantry with your cupcakes.

Too bad Canada doesn't care... (2, Troll)

Kombat (93720) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610128)

I've tried chasing down spammers, even going so far as to contact Canada's Competition Bureau. The information I received back indicated that there are no laws in Canada prohibitating any kind of unsolicited commercial email. That means, they are not obligated to use a valid return email address, they're not obligated to inform you of how they got your email address, and they're not obligated to provide a valid phone number. This is in contrast to the relatively strict rules governing telemarketers.

I wish our wishy-washy Liberal government had the guts to extend the telemarketing rules to spam emails. I say "good show" to the EU for setting a precedent.

Re:Too bad Canada doesn't care... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610221)

Try adding all the liberal MP's to some spam lists.
Actually they are probably all too computer
illiterate to read email anyways. :-(

Re:Too bad Canada doesn't care... (2, Informative)

kill_9_1 (123711) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610251)

I wish our wishy-washy Liberal government had the guts to extend the telemarketing rules to spam emails. I say "good show" to the EU for setting a precedent.

Ontario is drafting a proposal [gov.on.ca] which would:
- require express positive consent before any personal information could be used for any other purpose than completing the initial transaction
- require express positive consent before any personal information was disclosed to a third party for marketing purposes
- means you will have to contact all of your existing customers and get their express positive consent before sending them any further marketing material.
- Extends the definition of personal information to include any information about an individual that can be manipulated and used to identify or contact an individual
- etc

Please note that not ALL corporations (in Canada, US or any other location) are interested in abusing the email system for quick-&-dirty profits. Many recognize the value of Doing The Right Thing(TM).

Most of the junk mail I recieve is from the States (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610129)

...and I live in the UK

Re:Most of the junk mail I recieve is from the Sta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610237)



Do you really think so?

Re:Most of the junk mail I recieve is from the Sta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610252)

Most of the junk mail I receive is from China ... and I live in the US.

Re:Most of the junk mail I recieve is from the Sta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610316)

Most of the junk mail I receive is from Africa ... and I live in China.

Re:Most of the junk mail I recieve is from the Sta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610331)

Most of the junk mail I receive is from the UK ... and I live in Africa.

I totally agree , mod parent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610338)

i have to agree with the parent, i have numerous accounts and i have never recieved spam in a foreign language or advertising a foriegn product, its always porn,penis,webcam,mlm,viagra

its always an american outfit either advertising or doing the spamming.

if it was illegal in the USA things might change especially if people where put in prison (jail)

if i could block mail from a country USA is where i would start, unfortunatly a lot of UK firms use .coms so this would be impractical for me.

land of the free ? bah, some c**t needs to pay my bandwidth bill and we will see how free USA is

flame on

This has hidden yet chilling implications. (-1, Troll)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610132)

Like most people, I hate spam. A lot. And like most people, I value free speech. While I initially cheered when I read the story, now I'm starting to wonder if 'opt-in' is such a good idea.

If the colonies had to 'opt-in' to the revolution, we wouldn't be a country right now.

If people had to 'opt-in' to the civil rights movement, the tyranny of oppression would never have been lifted.

If students had to 'opt-in', what school would have them past the fourth grade?

In conclusion, 'opt-in' is bad for education, for freedom, and for patriotism. Remember to fight 'opt-in' legislation wherever it raises its ugly head to cast a pall against capitalism, independence, and free speech.

Sincerely,
The DMA^W^WA Concerned Citizen

Re:This has hidden yet chilling implications. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610147)

Had me for a moment...very good.

What the fuck? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610201)

Apparently the line between joke and troll is wafer-thin when you moderate Slashdot and huff glue for a fucking living. Did you catch the line at the end before slapping your ham-fingers on Troll, dipshits?

Can you still opt out? (2, Insightful)

GnomeKing (564248) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610135)

I have seen several opt in schemes which have tricked users into opting in, or have been fraudulantly opted in, and its then a pain in the backside to opt out again...

Is it gonna be mandatory that if someone wants to get away from something they opted in to that they can quickly and easily?

Part of a very bad Bill (5, Informative)

Cally (10873) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610163)

the same chunk of legislation also contains some truly dreadful provisions regarding retention of ISP traffic and logs - seven years, I believe, and I'm not sure if they've yet backed down from the original hilarious requirement that ISPs maintain archives of *all data* they transit for the same seven years. See extensive coverage from the last year or so at The Register [theregister.co.uk] and the BBC [bbc.co.uk] plus of course numerous issues of Need To Know [ntk.net].
What I don't understand is why "they" (gub'mint's everywhere) seem to think that the answer to the failures that lead to 9/11 [bbc.co.uk] is more of the same [theregister.co.uk]. Unless... but that would just be paranoia.

...the more important part, in my opinion. (3, Informative)

ParticleGirl (197721) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610303)

Not only ISPs; all telecoms. All data. Seven years. The EU draftsman, Marco Capatto, is not happy with the data collection/retention clause, and has written a report [statewatch.org] on the proposal-- an interesting read. The problem is that this is a step away from the various governments independently deciding how to handle data collection and retention; the bill forces them to enact legislation that collects and retains in accordance with this bill [eu.int]. stop1984 has issued a press release [stop1984.com] on the subject.

wiggity woo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610176)

X[ all
^a boxed
in

SPAMMERS MUST DIE (1)

DarkGamer (462552) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610177)

I can only hope they adopt such measures in the united states. Even my quarrantined e-mail accounts get spam leaks and, like cockroaches, once you see one "Get hard, stay hard!" e-mail there's always more.

I often wonder who these spammers are. What made then see thier souls? I mean no one likes junk e-mails. Did they open thier AOL accounts one day, see the 100+ messages telling them to buy useless shit, get all dowey-eyed, and then have the epipheny that that's their meaning in life?

They have cut on the line to hell, right in front of the lawyers, meter maids, and IRS agents. With the click of a button they waste thousands of man hours and decrease the mood of far more people than they will ever meet.

If karma exists, it would be legal to hunt them.

Awesome! (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610180)

This is, indeed, great news. Sending spam in the EU is effectively illegal, and I assume this will help, at least a bit. At any rate, this is a step in the right direction and a signal that Spam won't be tolerated in the future.
Of course, this won't immediatly get rid of a lot, if any, spam. Most of it already is sent from countries outside EU legislation, which won't be affected at all by this. I don't know whether EU companies can legally set up a server in Asia and spam people inside the EU from there, though - hopefully that's not allowed.
Actually enforcing these laws is another very difficult thing. After all, copyright violation is illegal, too, and still very widespread on the internet. On the other hand, spam should be easier to get rid of than piracy, since piracy is a (more or less) underground movement with (more or less) secret organisation, while spam by its very definition is being sent out in the open. But still, spammers can hop servers just as easily.
So, this won't acually change a whole lot, but as I said, it totally is a step in the right direction. Now if the EU would only rethink their DMCA ideas ...

It's gotta be done right (3, Insightful)

teslatug (543527) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610184)

They should have to show in some way that you have opted in in the e-mail itself. Some sort of unique number that you gave them (or even an IP address, but this wouldn't be good enough). They would then have to have an e-mail AND some number to match up. There must also be a huge fine to back this up. This way, any business that sends an e-mail that says you opted in, can be automatically fined.

Re:It's gotta be done right (1)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610313)

That's a good idea and it let's anonymous email users stay anonymous.

The only problem I see is EmailSpamID list selling would simply replace email list selling.

Hello, mother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610196)

"" - it's Jap-tastic!

Not a solution (2, Insightful)

CathedralRulz (566696) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610216)

I think the beneficents of this will be lawyers who target the deep pockets - ISPs - and try to hold them liable.

Spam is nearly impossible to stop via laws - I think the market will and is solving this problem with more intelligent filters that will make it un-rewarding.

Re:Not a solution (2, Insightful)

azadrozny (576352) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610327)

That's just it. Spam will always be worth it, because you can send it to tens of thousands instantly and free. All you need is one nitwit to but the latest get-rich-quick scheme and the ad is paid for.

Not all good news (2, Informative)

ickle_matt (122935) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610218)

Unfortunately the same legislation also allows police forces to demand that ISPs retain logs of customer activity. The BBC [bbc.co.uk] has a more detailed story.

bad news for the economy (1, Funny)

tps12 (105590) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610220)

As a businessperson in an Internet-related field that necessitates the accumulation of valid email addresses and efficient mail dispatching, this frightens me.

Europe and the US need to stop ganging up on legitimate businesses.

Just my $0.2 cents.

Re:bad news for the economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610285)

You my friend must die! Take your stupid email marketing and go home!

Re:bad news for the economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610286)

Die, spammer, die

Re:bad news for the economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610307)

Just my $0.2 cents.

just your _20_ cents!? wtf! oh you meant 2 cents.

btw - proper notation is $0.02 or 2c or 2 cents. $0.02 cents is an invalid notation. You cant mix the "$" with the "cents"

Re:bad news for the economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610336)

Can I have your e-mail address in order to send you some great discounts on Viagra and details on a deal where you can make 10 million USD from my friend, the oil minister of Namibia.

Re:bad news for the economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610391)

you clearly do not know how to translate web urls.

his url is www.columbia.edu/~tps12.

The keys here are the columbia.edu and the ~tps12.

His address is tps12@columbia.edu [mailto]

Re:bad news for the economy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610376)


Burn in hell schoolboy

Re:bad news for the economy (2)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610378)

Europe and the US need to stop ganging up on legitimate businesses.

Yeah, that'd be nice. Not sure how it's relevant to the topic, though, as unsolicited email is an illegitimate business practice. As evidenced by the bastards who do it.

once upon a time... (1)

paradesign (561561) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610225)

i used to believe that things like this would work, but unfortunately it wont. it may at peak effectiveness put a dent in spam but it noticeably wil not do shit. there are thousands of ways that these companies will find to circumvent the law, and as long as it dosent hurt their bottom line, the will continue on.

what we need are just better spam filters to tweak the signal to noise ratio of our inboxes. but unfortunately i firml believe that no matter what we do, spam will be here forever.

btw its illegal to distribute marijuana but some how it still happens. the war on spam will be equally as unefective as the war on drugs.

International Spam of Mystery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610246)

Due to the nature of the internet, a lot of the spam that is circulating does not even originate within europe. Isn't this measure effectively useless as they would have to prove the origin of the email first, if there was any attempt to take any action? This is difficult enough as most spam is spoofed and relayed like hell anyway. I suppose it's a good move, but I truly doubt it will discourage anyone.

How will this be enforced (1)

chrestomanci (558400) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610265)

Sounds great, how exactly will this be enforced?

Suppose after the directive is passed I get a spam from china, promising great wealth and free pr0n, what do I do?

Complain to my ISP? - "Sorry sir, we just forward the mail, we don't do filtering."

Complain to the sender? - Like that ever worked.

Complain to some sort of police force? - The most they can do is inform to the spammers' ISP, & get ther account terminated, which I can to myself without any fancy new law.

If this is to work, there will need to be effective, quick, and hash penalties against ISPs that fail to block spam. Something similar to the usenet death penalty might work.

Without enforcement, this kind of directive will have no more effect than when King Knute ordered the tide not to come it.

Spam will continue (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3610280)

Because NO LEGITIMETE COMPANY SPAMS!

The spammers will still ILLEGALLY SPAM you to sell you their ILLEGAL SCAMS!

FACE IT, Making it ILLEGAL MEANS THAT ONLY THE ALREADY ILLEGAL SCAMS THAT SPAM WILL SPAM.


and here is some lower case text to break the lameness filters

Opt in? Where do I sign up! (1)

i64X (582393) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610293)

I can't believe this. What a godsend! You can opt in to receiving spam now! Who would have ever thought! I'm just wondering... where do I sign up? I mean imagine that... countless unsolicited emails flooding your inbox every day. What kind of world would this be if we DIDN'T have the ability to request that type targeted advertising with the click of a mouse button! It's a good thing to see that technology is progressing, so much so that we can take what tripe we already receive in our email boxes and multiply it by an unlimited factor with just a few key strokes and a mouse click!

Seriously, who in their right mind would opt-in. That's insane. That's like buying a huge sticker for your car that says "Nice stereo inside - doors usually unlocked - no alarm!" Nobody in their right mind would sign up for this type of tortue. The only thing goodo about an opt-in service like this would be the ability to sign someone ELSE up for this type of tortue.

In Europe? (2)

quantaman (517394) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610314)

How in this enforced with respect to locations? Is this only applicable to domain names hosted in europe or if I claimed I was from Europe when I signed up for my hotmail account would I be protected by the Opt-in clause. If so how would they regulate this, do I have to be a resident of an European nation or do I merely need to route my e-mail through there? This decision is a great start but does anyone know if it will be truely effective and if so how can we on the other side of the pond benefit as well.

How much regulation? This much. (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610334)

There aren't really that many spammers. Look at how few different spams there are. If each country in the EU and each state in the US jailed one spammer a month, the problem would be gone in a year.

Jailing white-collar criminals is incredibly effective in stopping specific types of activity. You put one CEO in jail, and it really gets the message across. When some GE executives went to jail for antitrust violations in the 1960s, it stopped antitrust problems for almost a decade.

New spam punishments are needed! (1)

GuNgA-DiN (17556) | more than 11 years ago | (#3610390)

If you REALLY want to stop the flow of spam we need to change the punishment. Right now if you get caught spamming what happens to you? The first through the tenth time you get caught the ISP or the host simply cancels your account leaving you free to find another ISP. If you run your own servers and spam -- you get added to the blackhole and maybe get the FTC looking at you. Occasionally a spammer will get sued [slashdot.org] or goes to jail [slashdot.org]. But, really this isn't much of a punishment.

But, what if we started offering public execution of spammers? Maybe something slow and painful like crucifiction, or being drawn-and-quartered? How many people do you think would spam if they ended up looking like this [messianicart.com]? Not too many. Let's stop being easy on these people and let them know how much we really hate them and the crime of spamming.

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