Expatica news

Telecoms watchdog moves against spam

14 May 2004

AMSTERDAM — Dutch telecoms and postal supervisory authority Opta is placing high priority this year on the battle against spam email and will meet with other European telecoms authorities to discuss possible solutions.

Opta chief Jens Arnbak also said on Friday at the presentation of the authority’s annual report that it intends in the near future to meet the relevant US authorities, news agency ANP reported.

In the new Dutch Telecommunications law — which will come into force shortly — Opta will gain greater powers to crack down against spam. Senders of email or SMS spam will also have to prove that recipients have agreed to receive such mail.

The consumer watchdog Consumentenbond has applauded the new law — passed by MPs in October 2003 and the Senate in April 2004 — which also states that each spam message must offer consumers an opportunity to refuse further emails.

“But it (spam) still remains a problem because most spam does not come from the Netherlands,” Arnbak said.

He expects that the fight against spam will also be placed high on the European agenda when the Netherlands assumes the rotating European Union presidency in the last half of this year.

Various supervisory authorities across the globe are presently studying various models on how to thwart spam. One solution suggests charging the senders of spam emails a small fee for each email sent.

“At the moment, the sending of emails is free. If a small fee is requested per sent email, it becomes slightly less profitable,” the Opta chief said.

Requesting a cash deposit as security is also being discussed as a possible solution. If too many complaints are received from an email sender, the security deposit would then be forfeited.  

In general, Arnbak said the alternatives were interesting initiatives, but did not anticipate that they would lead to a reduction in the number of spam emails in the short-term.

At present, about 50 percent of all email is spam or undesired advertising. This percentage is expected to increase.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news