Judge’s Decision Could Open Door for Spammers in UK

spam lawThe UK’s Information Commissioner is warning that a recent decision by a judge refusing to let a marketing company be fined for sending millions of spam messages could open the floodgates on unsuspecting Brits. The company, Tetrus Telecoms, was originally fined over $700,000 USD for sending millions of text spam messages, but an appeals court threw it out. The judge explained his decision by saying spam is just a “minor nuisance” and not damaging enough to merit any punishment.

As a result the Information Commissioner fears this may encourage other spammers to launch massive campaigns knowing they won’t be prosecuted. He says the ruling makes the agency, which is charged with protecting UK citizens from spam and junk mail, powerless since the judge has essentially taken away their ability to levy fines against spammers. The judge has not commented on the outrage following his decision but we can only hope he’s getting an earful from someone. How anyone could proclaim spam is not really a nuisance and doesn’t cause substantial damage or distress is beyond belief. That judge is either so computer illiterate that he’s unable to understand, or otherwise hopelessly out of touch.

Thankfully here in the U.S. we have the CAN-SPAM Act which would prevent a judge from doing what that one did. Spammers who violate the act are punished, and the only way their fine could be thrown out on appeal is if they could prove they were not actually in violation.

What do you think of this judge’s ruling? Do you think it will lead to an increased spam problem in the UK? Why or why not?

Written by Sue Walsh

5 Comments

  1. Lisa S. · March 12, 2014

    C’mon, what country is this where a judge could rule that? I can’t believe they don’t have legislation that defines how to deal with spam and it’s up to judges to decide whether this is a “minor nuisance” or not? This is really unfair, if it’s left to judges to decide this because in one case one judge might decide that blasting millions of emails is just a minor nuisance, while in other cases another judge can rule our that sending a single unsolicited email is a reason to go to jail. How about getting some general rules against spam that are valid for everybody?

  2. Mario · March 24, 2014

    Perhaps the judge doesn’t have a mobile phone or a computer? Perhaps he’s clearly detached from anything electronic or IT? Perhaps he doesn’t have any friends and family? Anyway, a stupid decision nonetheless. UK, good luck on spamming.

  3. Mark · March 31, 2014

    Yes, it could be a potential predecessor to something even nasty and seriously I have no one else to blame if that happens than this idiot judge who doesn’t seem to own a mobile phone and has never received spam in his entire life.

  4. Sylvia · April 1, 2014

    I think that’s a bit harsh, Mark, haha but honestly I am definitely on your side on this one. The mere fact that it has been overturned means that spamming has been right all along, and that’s one of the most absurd things in the world.

  5. Yoni · April 1, 2014

    Yes, I agree! The judge’s decision definitely sends the wrong message. People might interpret it the wrong way. And this will surely give spammers more confidence in carrying out their massive campaigns. They may even think of better ways to carry out their campaigns since they now know that there is a great possibility they won’t be prosecuted and punished by the law. But, yes, I agree with you, Lisa, there really should be a set of general rules against spam and spammers that will work out for everybody. These rules should not be for just one company or one sector.

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