US needs Euro-style spam laws, say MPs

Link: MPs look to global rule to stop spam

The parliamentary anti-spam group is sending a group to Washington to persuade the US Congress that unless there are similar laws globally to outlaw spam, the problem could get worse.

APIG believes that the EU solution offers better protection than many of the bills currently in front of Congress.

‘We are not saying we have the right solution but it’s in everyones interest to find a solution,’ said APIG treasurer Brian White.

APIG is concerned the US might adopt an opt-out measure, where users would have to ask to be removed from a marketers list. If the email has come from a spammer, then the user’s request serves only to confirm the address is valid.

This is at odds with the EU directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications, which will introduce the opt-in principle to EU member states.

‘The US should adopt the opt-in line we have here in the EU and this is the single most important measure in the report,’ said Richard Allen, APIG’s joint-vice chairman.

If the US, which has a number of anti-spam bills in front of Congress, adopts a method at odds with the EU, it could ‘potentially make matters worse which is why we are going to Washington to beat the drum’, said Allen.

Brian White said differing laws would be leapt on by spammers who would use disension to wriggle off the hook: ‘We want to make legislation complimentary so spammers can’t play countries off against each other.’

Also in its report of spam, APIG said the Information Commissioner, who has to police the EU anti-spam laws, is under-resourced. If policing spam is to be effective, it said government would have to give the IC stronger powers to deal with spammers.

It also criticised the DTI for a loophole in the planned enforcing of the directive, which does not penalise spammers targeting businesses.

It said the DTI has made ‘a very serious mistake in not prohibiting unsolicited business-to-business email’ and called on the DTI to reverse this decision.

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