Mon, Feb 02, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Government drafts bill to cut down on spam e-mail

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The National Communications Commission drafted a bill that would authorize those who receive Internet spam to claim damages from spammers to the tune of NT$500 or NT$2,000 for each e-mail.

The commission will submit the draft bill to the Executive Yuan next month for approval, officials said, adding that they hoped the legislature would help conserve resources and protect consumer rights without compromising freedom of commercial speech.

Statistics from the Taiwan Internet Association showed that the number of Internet users in Taiwan surpassed 10 million as of December. Every day, each user receives an average of 29 spam e-mails, the association said.

Based on a mailing cost of NT$0.02 per e-mail, sending this volume of junk e-mail costs some NT$200 million (US$5.9 million) a year, the council said.

The draft statute prohibits “dictionary-based” spamming, which means sending unsolicited e-mails to addresses that were automatically generated in alphabetical order.

The draft bill also bans testing and collecting genuine e-mail addresses through “dictionary attacks” on grounds that this heavily consumes e-mail service resources.

However, to protect the freedom of commercial speech and the freedom to conduct business, the draft bill allows businesses to send unsolicited advertisements once to a new e-mail address on condition that the e-mails be discontinued if the recipient does not wish to continue to receive them.

The draft also stipulates that the sender must offer a free link through which the recipient could accept or reject the advertising.

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