Most countries have failed to combat spam
By Marit Ruuda
Nine EU member states have failed to adopt on time a privacy law helping the fight against unwanted e-mail, or so-called spam.
The European Commission has now given them two months to provide an explanation.
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Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland and Sweden have not been able to implement the directive banning e-mail spam.
If they fail to respond to the Commission within the required two months, they could face possible court action.
The main idea of the law is to reduce internet fraud and protect people getting unwanted e-mail. Almost half of the e-mails people receive in Europe are spam, according to Commission research conducted earlier this year.
"It is urgent that Member States adopt a consistent legislative approach to such issues as unsolicited emails, the use of location data or cookies", said Erkki Liikanen, Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society.
"This will strengthen consumer confidence in e-commerce and electronic services, which is a prerequisite for sustainable growth in the sector", Mr Liikanen added.
Anyone can buy cheap software, which allows individuals to send unwanted e-mails to millions of people within a few days.
However, most of the spam comes from outside the EU, therefore international co-operation is a key element in fighting against unwanted e-mail.
Austria, Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Italy and Spain have already taken the necessary steps.
The law went into effect on 31 October.