UK spam law - "completely ineffective"

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As reported here on December 3 Britain’s first anti-spam law is one year old today, and not a single conviction has been made. Under the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulation the Government has failed to bring spammers to task, and the situation looks unlikely to change soon.

"The legal efforts have not really worked," said Steve Linford, director of anti-spam service Spamhaus. "It's wide of the mark, not one spammer has even received a letter. The law is completely ineffective."

The Information Commissioner Richard Thomas and his team are entrusted with enforcing the legislation, but have found it too weak.

"We are very concerned with the rising complaints," said a spokesman for the Commissioner. "SMS, emails and automated calls have all shown an increase over the last year but with our current powers it's very difficult to do anything."

After around 10,000 complaints in the last year the Department for Trade and Industry and the Information Commissioner have been in contact since July 2003 about improving the effectiveness of the regulation. But as yet nothing has changed.

"We need more information gathering and investigative powers. Without them our job is very difficult," said the spokesman. "Taking automated calls as an example, these companies are flouting regulations on purpose. They don't give us an address, we need more powers."

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