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FIPR response to the Spam Directive consultation

  1. The Foundation for Information Policy Research [] is an independent body that studies the interaction between information technology and society. Its goal is to identify technical developments with significant social impact, commission and undertake research into public policy alternatives, and promote public understanding and dialogue between technologists and policy-makers.

  2. We generally welcome the approach taken in the implementation of the Directive. We believe the draft is well balanced; any changes made as a result of the consultation should not upset that balance. We comment below on the small number of areas we feel should be improved.

  3. The distinction made between corporate and individual subscribers is impractical both for marketers (how will they distinguish the two?) and for companies, who will be most unhappy at their staff receiving unsolicited calls or e-mails. The distinction should be removed, and protection given to all communications users.

  4. Any powers to trace the source of unsolicited commercial communications should be exercised through the courts.

  5. An E-mail Preference Service would not have a clear source of funding. But more fundamentally, it would reflect an opt-out system, not the opt-in system that the Directive mandates.

  6. Distinctions between different forms of communications (telephone, fax, e-mail etc.) are likely to blur and eventually disappear as communication systems converge. The draft might better reflect this if it is intended to be a long-term solution.

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