A spammer recently sent me the following disclaimer:
Our commercial information messages are sent according to the rules of the new e-mail legislation, Section 301, paragraph a) (2) (c) S Decree 1618, third title, approved by Congress 105th Base of International Regulations on the “SPAM” . An e-mail may not be considered “SPAM” when it includes a way to be removed. (Directive 2000/31 / EC of the European Parliament, Report A5-0270 / 2001 of the European Parliament).
Similar references to S.1618 and Directive 2000/31 can be found in the footer of so many spam emails that the popular SpamAssassin mail filter actually has some rules that recognize spam via mentions of these documents. While these disclaimers turn out to be useful for stopping spam, is there any truth to these claims?
First of all, email spam is defined as unsolicited bulk email. If it is sent to multiple recipients and the sender lacks permission from the recipients, it’s spam — no if’s and but’s. It’s got nothing to do with whether the sender can be prosecuted for sending the bulk email in a particular jurisdiction or not, which is what laws are concerned with.
Any recipient is entitled to use email blocking on computers that they control, regardless of what laws exist to prosecute spammers. The rights of senders stop when email hits your property, your servers and desktops. If you don’t like those unsolicited emails, you shouldn’t be made to pay to store or forward them.
Secondly, the above legal claims are completely bogus. Senate bill S.1618 was drafted in the late 1990’s (so much for “new e-mail legislation”) but was never passed into law. As for the above EU document (“Directive on electronic commerce”), it neither explicitly mentions e-mail nor spam in any way.
When spammers include disclaimers like the above in their emails, they’re either clueless or they lie. But then that’s not exactly news, is it? 🙂