The European Parliament has backed down over its proposal to outlaw unsolicited junk e-mail (spam).
However, the assembly’s legal affairs committee did vote to adopt measures aimed at giving consumers the right to opt out of receiving unsolicited promotional e-mails, as part of a review of EU legislation covering e-commerce and online copyright.
The move is a setback for the European Internet Service Providers Association (EuroISPA), which had backed proposals for an “opt in” system for unsolicited e-mail, requiring online consumers to positively choose to accept spam.
A spokesman for EuroISPA Jean-Chrisophe Le Toquin attacks the opt-out proposals.
“None of the opt-out amendments will work in practice,” he says. “With new technology making it easier to ‘harvest’ e-mail addresses, it will be impossible to keep oneself permanently off all opt-out lists. Meanwhile, the cost to businesses and consumers is steadily increasing.”
European commissioner Erkki Liikanen describes the proposed legislation, which now requires the ratification of member states, as a reasonable compromise between different interest groups.