Swain: no spam law in offing

Online defamation, copyright breach and pornography have all been made the subject of successful transnational co-operative law-enforcement, but spam has to be put in the too-hard basket, at least for the present, says IT minister Paul Swain.

Online defamation, copyright breach and pornography have all been made the subject of successful transnational co-operative law-enforcement, as has the regulation of legitimate business transactions. But the growing problem of spam — unsolicited mass email — has to be put in the too-hard basket, at least for the present, says IT minister Paul Swain (pictured).

“There are currently no government plans to introduce any legislation to tackle spam; essentially it is because it is currently too difficult to legislate against,” Swain says.

In other words, it would be difficult to design rules or legislation that only excluded “unsolicited” and truly unwanted emails, “just as in the offline world it would be very difficult to legislate against junk mail or other unwanted advertising”, he says.

“We are, however, watching what is happening re spam in other jurisdictions and would consider joining any international efforts against spam, should they eventuate.”

Spam has become a major irritant in the conduct of business through electronic media, with volumes escalating massively in the past year, as comments from local users below demonstrate.

The United States legislature has attempted to control the tide, through such measures as the Can-Spam (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) Act, which would make it obligatory to provide a working method for the victim of a spam email to reject further emails from the same source.

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