Despite the unity among the
members of the European Union (EU) against spam, there are considerable
variations in the enforcement actions they take.
The European Commission recently said that members of the
European Union have to do more to deal with the problem of spamming. A
Commission funded report stated that there are considerable variations
in the outcomes, despite the proactive stance taken by several member
countries in support of the ban against spamming.
The results also pointed out the need to go ahead with the
proposed reform for telecom rules, which was passed by the European
Parliament earlier in May this year.
European Information Society and Media Commissioner, Viviane
Reding said that the latest figures prove that countries are doing a
lot to impose online privacy laws. However, she also said that there
remained much to be achieved in the battle against spam.
The EC analyzed over 140 enforcement cases from 22 member
states and found that there were substantial differences in the number
of cases in countries and the consequent fines that were imposed. Spain
and Slovakia topped the list of countries having the highest number of
reported cases with 39; followed by Romania with 20.
The countries that imposed the highest fines were; The
Netherlands with 1 million Euros, Italy with 570,000 Euros and Spain
with 30,000 Euros. Fines imposed in countries like Romania, Ireland and
Latvia were considerably lower and did not seem to discourage spammers
The EC report has certainly shed new light on the spam
situation in Europe. Clearly, the EU needs to step up its fight against
spamming. The most surprising thing is that despite a ban on spamming,
nearly 65% of users still have to deal with it on a daily basis.
It is also essential that there is uniformity among EU
countries when it comes to imposition of fines. Inconsistency in
anti-spam law enforcement could lead spammers to simply shift base from
one country to another one that does not impose large fines and serious
At the same time, new legislations and directives must take a
balanced view so that they do not curb the young and growing Internet
industry. There are several legitimate players out there who
ensure they not only stay on the right side of the law, but also give
customers and prospects information they desire. To sum up, let’s not
throw the baby out with the bathwater. But it’s about time the EU did a
bit more to regulate online privacy.