Skip to main content

Unsolicited E-Mails

Volume 408: debated on Tuesday 1 July 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans the Government have to bring forward legislation to prohibit the distribution of unsolicited e-mails in the UK; and what steps may be taken against companies who relocate to countries where the legislative framework covering the distribution of unsolicited e-mails is less strict. [122148]

There will be new controls on the distribution of unsolicited commercial e-mails (UCE) under the UK's implementing regulations for the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive (Directive 2002/5 8/EC) which are due to come into force by 31 October.Under these regulations, commercial e-mails may only be sent to individuals with their prior consent, except where there is an existing customer relationship between the sender and the addressee.The new measures will apply to all EU member states and to instigators as well as senders of commercial e-mails within the EU. UK and other EU advertisers will therefore be unable to avoid the rules by using third part e-mail bureaux located outside the EU.Where a business decides to relocate its operations entirely to another country outside the EU, and no longer maintains a UK presence, it does become very difficult to enforce the UK rules. However, the fact that the European regime has now been agreed and is being implemented opens the door to agreements between the EU and other countries, which should result in a more unified approach towards the distribution of unsolicited e-mails.