EU Parliament chooses opt-out option for spam

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.

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