Tuesday, January 03, 2006

First spammer fined in UK

Well, lordy lordy, someone in the UK has finally actually managed to successfully sue a spammer. (This story reported December 27th 2005 - catch up time again, folks.) The miracle of Xmas is clearly with us. Before you cheer too much however, notice the damages - the grand sum of £270. And that isn't just, as the Beeb story suggests, because the claim was done as a small claim - it's because the damages are limited by the actual damage that can be proved to have been done, which is extremely low for most individuals. Even if the criminal law gets involved, the maximum fine under the anti spam provisions of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations falls within Data Protection legislation - - and that, barring solemn procedure (very unusual indeed) is £3,000. Compare to the million dollar punitive damages you can get in the US under the Can Spam Act, or even the 6 figure sums that ICSTIS, the UK premium phone line regulator, can impose when operators breach their rules. DP legislation sanctions are a joke and need reformed desperately. US type class action rules for civil suits would help too. (And hey, I won't even start on how 90% of spam comes from outside the EU and is effectively without control by EU citizens anyway..)

Happy humbug!

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