Irish Anti-Spam Law, and Gaven Stubberfield Arrested

Spam: Let me take this moment to welcome our UK friends to the ‘spam now illegal’ club; unlike the US, the European and Australian anti-spam laws seem to be shaping up nicely, requiring opt-in before ’email marketing’ can be sent.

This actually happened in Ireland a couple of weeks ago, but I think I forgot to mention it here, so here’s the details:

Announcement, full text, full text as HTML. (It’s section 13 you want to read. Note that OpenOffice seems to have miscounted the bullet points in the HTML version ;)

The good stuff:

  • it’s opt-in, not opt-out like the cruddy CAN-SPAM act in the US. so that’s a fundamentally anti-spam position. Thanks EU!
  • each spam counts as a separate offence = lots of damages, I’d guess.
  • forging/disguising of originating header info is prohibited.

The bad:

  • if you run a mailing list, and you’re not sure that you got everyone’s permission to receive your mails (and if not, why not?), you’d better do a reconfirmation run quick ;)
  • no private right of action; but that’s pretty much std for Europe. we’re reliant on the Regulator to take action against spammers.
  • spamming to mailing lists is not prohibited — but then, I haven’t seen that blocked by any other law.
  • it’s unclear if spamming to role addresses (e.g. ‘foo-admin’, ‘[email protected]‘, etc.) is prohibited. I would guess that if they wind up in the mailbox of a ‘natural person’ it would be. But this may have to be worked out in court.
  • talks about ‘direct marketing’. Does this mean that faked-up ‘newsletters’ will be a loophole? Also, means that religious and political spam is permitted. But I haven’t seen much of that in Ireland… yet…
  • won’t be any good against US-based spammers. No surprise there. HOWEVER it may be useful against large multinational companies taking advantage of CAN-SPAM’s relaxed regime to indulge in a little spamming, if they have an Irish office.

    And, of course, it’ll mean that Ireland won’t develop Florida’s reputation any time soon, which is a good thing.

  • Will it be useful against spammers in other parts of the EU? That’s another question. Anyone know? I know of a bunch in France I’d really like to deal with.

    Brian Nisbet reckons it may.

I was reminded by this letter from the Department of Communications received by UCC , which notes:

But the Minister has announced that he intends using Ireland’s Presidency of the EU to initiate global partnership in clamping down on ‘spam.’

Global? Just don’t ask for any help from the Florida state government. ;)

Spam: Other (big) spam news: ‘Gaven Stubberfield’ arrested for ‘falsifying his identity so that his e-mails could not be traced’. SBL say that Jeremy Jaynes, aka ‘Gaven Stubberfield’ is the eight-most prolific spammer in the world, and is ‘notorious for ‘horsey porn’ spam’.

Irish: Irish WWW pioneer Peter Flynn now has a weblog, it seems. As far as I can tell, Peter was responsible for much of the good stuff at celt.ucc.ie, which reminds me to post this link to Pangur Bán I’ve been meaning to post.

Messe ocus Pangur Bán,
cechtar nathar fria saindan:
bíth a menmasam fri seilgg,
mu memna céin im saincheirdd.

In my case, it’s mise agus Bubba Liath, otherwise pretty close despite the intervening 11 centuries…

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