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Consumer watchdog is anti spam

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The shoppers champion - the Consumers Association - has finally got an opinion about spam.

As incredible as it seems, until now the CA has just been unable to decide whether it should defend Net users against the vermin of unsolicited commercial e-mail or not.

Sitting on the fence and its hands simultaneously - no mean gymnastic feat in anyone's book - has meant that consumers have not benefited from the vocal and weighty support of this well-known and influential lobby group.

Instead, the group has stayed all but silent on the subject.

Now though, thanks to a number of Register readers who wrote to the CA following a story exposing the CA's shortcomings, the CA has decided to fight for consumers.

Michelle Childs, head of policy research at CA, telephoned Vulture Central today to say that the organisation had decided to back an "opt-in" policy in combating spam. This means that Net users would specifically have to request to receive spam if they wanted it.

She said that the US experience had proved that an "opt-out" method - whereby Net users would receive spam unless they said they didn't want to - simply would not work.

And she personally thanked those Register readers who contacted her to put over their views.

The decision means that CA will now support consumers and press the British Government and the European Union to introduce what is, effectively, anti-spam legislation.

Of course, there are no guarantees of success but at least it's good to know that an organisation established to protect consumer rights is, er, protecting consumer rights. ®

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