Tuesday

23rd May 2017

EU to crackdown on junk mail

An 'Inbox' full to the brim of junk e-mail offering everything under the sun could be a thing of the past under new plans by enterprise commissioner Erkki Liikanen.

Speaking today (15 July), the Commissioner outlined a plan to make illegal all unsolicited commercial e-mails - otherwise known as 'spam'.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

By the end of October this year, all EU member states must have transposed a 'ban on spam' into their national legislation.

The Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications, prohibiting junk mail has already been agreed by the Council and the European Parliament since last year.

In June this year, up to 48% of global e-mail traffic was spam - in 2001 it was only 7%. It is this huge and quick growth that has made the Commission act. The Commission also estimates that about 30% of e-mails coming from outside the EU are spam.

Annoying and time-consuming

"The growth of spam is very worrying. It is expected that spam will grow to more than 50% of global e-mail traffic before the summer is over", said Mr Liikanen on Tuesday.

Spam is a problem for all of us as individuals, the Commissioner added. It is not only about privacy reasons that action must be taken, but also because it is "very annoying, time-consuming, and indeed, money-consuming".

The Commission is ready to combat spam on all fronts: on the legal and technical side as well as the social and educational front. One of the biggest consequences of junk mail is that it undermines user confidence, which is crucial for successful e-commerce or e-services, says the enterprise commissioner.

International co-operation needed

Under the new legislation, e-mail marketing is only allowed with prior consent, it also covers SMS messages and other electronic messages received on mobile telephones or fixed terminals.

Member states can also ban unsolicited commercial e-mails to businesses, who, it is estimated, lost up to 2.5 billion euros in productivity in 2002 as employees spend longer and longer clearing out their mailboxes.

Most of the spam comes from outside the EU, therefore international co-operation is a key element, said Mr Liikanen. During his visit to the US in June, the Commissioner stressed the need for a global approach, as it is a global problem.

Children among dead in UK bomb attack

Children are among the victims after a suspected suicide bomber detonated at the Manchester Arena on Monday, the latest in a string of terror attacks to hit Europe.

Investigation

Fight club: Russian spies seek EU recruits

Russian intelligence services are using martial arts clubs to recruit potential troublemakers in Germany and other EU countries, security experts have warned.

Letter

An open letter to ministers on the audiovisual directive

The ongoing revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive is a key opportunity to reduce exposure of Europe's children to advertisements of health-harmful products – an opportunity that should not be missed.

Investigation

Fight club: Russian spies seek EU recruits

Russian intelligence services are using martial arts clubs to recruit potential troublemakers in Germany and other EU countries, security experts have warned.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms