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Communications Act

Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many prosecutions there have been for the sending of illegal spam under the Communications Act 2003. (91831)

[holding answer 9 October 2006]: There have been no such prosecutions under the Communications Act 2003 and I do not expect any in the foreseeable future. This does not mean that spammers are evading the law. The vast majority of spammers work outside UK jurisdiction and problems within the UK are addressed by the Information Commissioner using powers granted under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003. These Regulations set out the consent rules for receiving unsolicited commercial emails. The Information Commissioner's investigations into breaches of the Regulations have resulted in enforcement actions that have been effective and have not needed to be progressed to a prosecution. Our approach to the problem of spam does not rely on regulation and enforcement alone. We pursue a more comprehensive approach that involves consumer education, technical solutions and effective enforcement through national action and collaboration with other enforcement authorities. My Department has been one of the principal drivers of the OECD's London Action Plan that exemplifies this multi-faceted approach.