In 2003 a new anti-spam law came into effect. Basically the law stated that
online companies could send emails and SMS messages to ‘consumers’ who had
agreed to receive them, or where the consumers are already customers of the
So for consumers, the law is basically a Opt-in. You should only receive email
from UK companies where you have specifically asked for them (Or where already
a customer before the law passed).
For business email account the story is different…
Any UK company can still send ‘cold’ emails to another company. So this can be
an email sent without any previous contact or request for the information (Many
would call this spam). The only requirement is that the email must have some
form of Opt-out.
One problem with the above is that almost all spam originates from outside of
the UK. If spam is to be dealt with through the courts then there must be a
unified stance from all countries (Check out the ClearMyMail Spam Map to see
where spam is being sent from).
Since the new anti-spam laws were introduced in 2003 there has not been a
single criminal prosecution. In a recent case Microsoft chose to settle out of
court with a spammer that was abusing their Hotmail system. They agreed a
£45,000 out of court settlement rather than continue through the UK court
The spam email problem is not an easy thing to solve. It has grown to be a
multi-million pound industry, with spammers making serious money with very
It is a problem that can and will be solved though.
New laws, global agreements and most importantly – new technology will win out
over the spammers eventually!
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