Feeds

Germany moots jail for spammers

'We need really hard sanctions'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Germany's ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD) is mooting tough sanctions for spammers. These would include big fines for spammers and the companies which use their services, and prison sentences for the worst offenders.

Ulrich Kelber, an SPD MP who is promoting the draft law, says that small fines will not deter the top 50 spammers. "In the event of repeated violation we need really hard sanctions," he said. The law could be a signal to other countries, too, he added. "And perhaps even spammers outside of Germany would think twice if they know that they had to face these sentences when they cross German borders."

But it's going to be a tough battle, he acknowledges. "Even if we combine all efforts, legal, technical and best practice, which we must, we will not end the spam problem."

Germany's current laws affecting spammers are weak. The ministry of justice has, to date, favoured civil sanctions against spammers. It has implemented the opt-in principle stipulated by the EC Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communcation (2002/58/EC) in the German Law against Unfair Competition (UWG). But this only allows for civil right complaints of competitors. ISPs have no independent right to file complaints; and users must file their spam complaints through consumer protection associations.

The industry group Electronic Commerce Forum (ECO) has published a white paper calling for remedies to come under criminal law, especially actions such as counterfeiting sender adresses and hacking servers for use as spam relays. Such provisions are in the draft law. Mail harvesting, too, would be penalized by the new law.

Central to the thinking of the ECO anti-spam white paper is a "Trusted Network". This would allow privileged and unfiltered transport of emails of members who restrict spam in their networks. Bulk mailers who adhere to the anti-spam legal and best practive rules could sign a Bulk Mailer Anti-Spam Commitment (BM-ASC) and participate in the Trusted Network, too. This proposal is not welcomed by all ISPs. ®

Related stories

AOL raffles spammer's seized Porsche
US court skins Buffalo Spammer
EC: implement e-privacy directive or else
SpamHaus lobbies for .mail TLD
Big US ISPs set legal attack dogs on big, bad spammers
UK anti-spam law goes live

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.