TechnologyAccounting SoftwareBusinesses to sue over spam abuse

Businesses to sue over spam abuse

Consumers and businesses will be able to sue senders of unsolicited emails and text messages under new proposals from the Department of Trade and Industry.

Link: Company networks drown in spam

The powers form part of new proposals to crack down on unsolicited electronic communications (spam) under the European Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive, which comes into force on 31 October.

Spam is a major headache for businesses and consumers and accounts for nearly 40% of global emails, according to DTI estimates, and the problem is rapidly growing.

The new proposals set in stone the ‘opt-in’ process which requires businesses to gain prior consent before sending advertising emails, text messages and phone calls.

Companies using electronic communications to send out advertising will also have to provide customers with greater transparency and choice in how their personal details are used.

This means the use of cookies and other tracking devices must be clearly indicated so that people are given the opportunity to reject them.

The Information Commissioner’s office will monitor complaints and has the power to take persistent offenders to court.

‘The Information Commissioner’s office will be in charge of this area and will react to complaints and go after businesses. Persistent offenders could be taken to the magistrate’s court where they could face fines of up to £5,000. More serious cases could go before a jury and face much higher fines,’ said a DTI spokeswoman.

‘Additionally if a consumer or company faces extra expense because of these emails or have been distressed by the contents, they could take the offenders to court and sue them,’ she said.

The DTI has started a three month consultation period which ends on 19 June before the guidelines are drawn up later in the summer.

The Direct Marketing Association which has welcomed the consultation period fears stringent regulations will stifle European businesses and put them at a disadvantage.

It has called for more emphasis on implementing technology either at ISP level or on computers to prevent spam. The DTI accepts legislation alone will not be enough to stem the tide of spam as the majority of these emails are generated outside EU jurisdiction in the US and Far East.

‘Spam isn’t something we are going to solve overnight but the proposals put in place a framework and sets out clear guidelines for companies and ISPs giving them a more robust system to work with,’ said the DTI.

Related Articles

Accountancy in the digital age: Flexibility, agility, efficiency

Accounting Software Accountancy in the digital age: Flexibility, agility, efficiency

2w Pegasus Software | Sponsored
Sage purchases Intacct in its largest ever acquisition

Accounting Software Sage purchases Intacct in its largest ever acquisition

5m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
5 tips for SMEs to protect cash flow

Accounting Software 5 tips for SMEs to protect cash flow

5m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
UK behind foreign markets in digital accounting, but gap is narrowing

Accounting Software UK behind foreign markets in digital accounting, but gap is narrowing

7m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
The rise of the progressive accountant

Accounting Software The rise of the progressive accountant

7m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Making Tax Digital: Revolution or revolt?

Accounting Software Making Tax Digital: Revolution or revolt?

8m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Making Tax Digital: Is HMRC’s recent system fault a cause for concern?

Accounting Software Making Tax Digital: Is HMRC’s recent system fault a cause for concern?

8m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Four reasons why SME owners should switch to cloud accounting

Accounting Software Four reasons why SME owners should switch to cloud accounting

9m Emma Smith, Managing Editor