Germany gets tough on spam

Penalties of up to €50,000 face spammers according to draft proposals of a new German law.

Under the new plans the Act for the Use of Tele-Services will be expanded to encompass new spamming legislation.

"Penalties are always good, although in this case we'd like them to be a bit higher. €50,000 will allow the professional spammers to keep on spamming because they can offset that sort of fine." said Steve Linford director of anti-spam service Spamhaus. "But I do think this will be more effective than UK or US legislation, the Germans seem very clued up on the spam issue."

Under the proposed law email marketers will have to stipulate their correct address and also make email content clear in the header. Falsification of IP addresses will also be made illegal.

The proposal has been approved by both the Greens and the Social Democrats (the two halves of Germany's ruling coalition) and will have its first reading in the German parliament (Bundestag) on February 17th.

Despite the strengthening of Germany's anti-spam laws, Linford insists that it has far from the worst spam record.

"There are no major spammers from Germany," said Linford. "Just some Russians who base themselves there. It's nice to see them making this effort though."

The German anti-spam policy follows recent legislation in both the US and UK. But both have come under attack for apparent ineffectiveness. In the last year no spamming prosecutions were made in the UK and in the US industry has called for tougher anti-spam laws, despite some recent Can-spam prosecutions.

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