Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/01/09/mod_spams_firms_ahead/

MoD ‘spams’ firms ahead of Iraq call-up

Don't Panic!

By Tim Richardson

Posted in Media, 9th January 2003 15:27 GMT

If you've received an email from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) concerning the mobilisation of volunteer reserve forces ahead of any possible conflict in Iraq - don't panic.

You're not alone. It seems the MoD sent out 100,000 of the blighters after enlisting the help of a company specialising in aggregating email lists.

The emails - from the MoD-run organisation SaBRE (Supporting Britain's Reservists & Employees) - provide general information and advice about the call-up of military reservists.

Said the email: "If you have Reservists among your workforce, it is vital that you are aware of your obligations and rights, in case they are called up."

Snag is, some of those who've received the email are somewhat bemused by the official-looking memo.

One concerned reader who runs his own business, told us he doesn't employ anyone and has no military background - and was puzzled as to why he had received the email.

Another told us: "Out of the blue, I've just received an informational email from the Ministry of Defence. I am not and never have been a member of the Armed Forces, I don't employ any members of the Armed Forces. In fact I don't 'know' any members of the Armed Forces. Am I just unlucky, or has the MoD gone and bought a CD of "100 million email addresses" on the Internet and started spamming recently?"

A spokesman for the MoD said that it was a "general email" sent out to 100,000 companies in the UK using emails from a list gathered by an external company.

"We apologise if it's caused any offence or worried anybody," he said. ®